10 Steps to Paint Perfection – How to Choose the Very Best Shade

Choosing paint colors is hard.  Especially when you want to pick a bold colour like teal.   Pretty much every shade looked great on the chip cards but I was scared the one I liked would be wrong.  I decided to get some sample pots and paint some test patches to really get the effect of the colour I was choosing.  Here’s what I learned in the process – I hope it helps you out if you’re ever trying to choose paint colours!

paint samples

  1. Try to narrow down your selection to two shades.
  2. Paint large size patches so you can get a good idea of what the colour will look like on the wall.
  3. Use the same sheen on your test patch as you would your final coat.
  4. Make sure you do two coats, letting the paint dry in between.
  5. If you’re trying to cover a darker colour you may need to prime first.  Treat the area like you would if you were painting the entire wall.
  6. Look at the paint over several days at different times of day.  Look at how the colour reads in the morning, at noon and in the evening.  The outside light will dramatically affect the colour over the course of the day and you need to be sure you like the colour at each stage.
  7. Make sure you look at the paint colours with your overhead lights on as well – artificial light is usually yellowy in tone and will change how your paint reads.
  8. Think of how you use your space.  For example, I’m painting in the bedroom so I’ll be using that space most in the morning and evening (getting up and going to bed) and that’s when the appearance of the colour will be most important to me.
  9. Think about the other things you’ll have in your space.  Hold up fabric swatches or place pieces of furniture close to your sample paint patches and see how they go with the colours.
  10. Remember, it’s only paint!  If you choose wrong it’s not a permanent mistake.  Start over until you find that shade you love!


So, which shade did I pick?  I went with the darker one on the left.  I was scared it would be too dark but after seeing the two on the wall for a few days it didn’t seem dark at all.  The light shade isn’t what I really wanted and I knew this after seeing the two together.  Teal here we come baby!




    • I’ll post pics of the room when it’s done (if it ever gets done!) This is for a little sitting area off our master bedroom and one wall in the bedroom too.

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