Choosing the right neutral paint color for the interior of your home can be a painstaking process. Today I’m sharing my best tips for making sure you choose the right neutral color for your home.
We have built two homes and have done a lot of painting in the past several years. With our current home, we switched from tan walls (old house) to grey and it was not an easy process finding the right shade. We are pretty happy with the colors we chose but aren’t too happy with our current paint job. It’s not really a matter of our color choices but rather an issue with the fact that our ceilings were painted the same color as our walls. This was a builder/painter issue and we didn’t want to pay them to fix it so we are planning to do a little re-painting in the near future. It’s not going to be an easy job so I have been trying to gear myself up for the task. I’d love to get it started/done before Christmas but realistically, it will probably be after……much to my dismay.
Anyway, I have recently helped a couple of people pick out neutral paint colors for their homes so I thought I would share some of my tips with you!
Choosing a Neutral Paint Color
Choosing the right color is not an easy process so I’m not here to tell you about the perfect color that everyone can use and get the same result. Sorry. I wish it were that easy. However, I do have some tips that have helped me and saved me from having to completely repaint walls in my home.
Grey Vs. Beige
Your first step is deciding if you want to go grey or beige/brown/tan. This is more of a personal preference and depends somewhat on the decor in your home. However, there are some beautiful greige colors out there that would be a middle ground if you can’t decide. Greige colors tend to be warm greys that will look beige/tan or grey depending on the light in the room (and at different times of day).
Pick Out Paint Swatches/Chips
Once you have an idea of what color you want, head to your local paint store or home improvement store and grab some paint chips. Grab several that you like because I can almost guarantee you that the first one you pick up will not be the one you ultimately choose. Also, keep in mind that you are looking at these swatches under florescent lighting and they will look totally different in your home.
Next, if you have stained trim and/or cabinets (or even painted cabinets) and worry how the colors will look against it, head on over to the kitchen/cabinet area and find the sample doors with all the different colors. Find the color closest to yours and hold up your swatches. This is a great way to rule out some of the colors you have chosen before you even walk out of the store!
Repeat these two steps until you feel you have a good selection of swatches to take home.
Test the Paint Swatches/Chips in your home
Now that you’ve selected some paint swatches, take them home and tape them up all over your home. Be sure to tape them on the same wall as a window and a wall opposite windows. If you didn’t grab more than one of each swatch, you can move them around at different times of day. So the purpose of this is to see the colors in different lighting and at different times of day. Look at them in the morning, afternoon and evening. Don’t forget to turn on the lights at night and look at your swatches then too!
Test actual samples
Hopefully, after the previous step, you’ve narrowed your choices down to two or three so head back to the paint store and get samples. Take those samples home and paint small swatches on the wall. I would not suggest painting swatches on several different walls but paint them on a wall opposite a window. Just as in the previous step, look at the samples in different lighting…morning afternoon, evening, and at night with the lights on.
I hope this helps you find the perfect neutral paint color and saves you from having to re-paint entire rooms.
Before I go, here are some mini tips:
- If you find a shade that you like but it’s a little too dark in your room/home, you can have them lighten it by a percentage (like 25% or 50%). Just remember, you can always go lighter but you can’t always go darker.
- The back of some paint chips will have a light reflective value (LRV). The higher the number (0-100) the more light that color reflects thus the brighter your room will be. If it’s not on the paint chip, check the company’s website.
- Unless you have walls of windows (or the color has a very high LRV), do not paint your ceilings the same color as your walls (especially if the color is darker). Unless you are fine with a dark room, then go for it!
Paint colors currently in my home (all color matches to Glidden paint colors):
- Seal Grey (dining room & theater room)
- Granite Grey (family room, master bedroom & theater room)
- Pebble Grey (kitchen, laundry room, bedrooms & bathrooms)