I got 99 problems, but paint ain’t one, said no home DIY’er ever. Picking the perfect paint color is a bit like trying to pick that perfect foundation shade when you first started wearing makeup. (Sorry, Dad. I’m gonna exclude you here for a min.)
Girls, you know what I’m talking about. It was either too dark, too light, too pink. You remember.
Or those awful photos where you had what you thought was a suitable foundation picked and realized that that was, indeed, false. And I think that’s why I’m always hesitant to switch brands once I’ve found a shade I like. I know what the struggle will entail.
So, I’m pretty sure that same sort of sentiment is where the anxiety stems from when picking a paint color for your walls, let alone your whole house. And I’m going to contradict myself here, although paint is considered a cheap and easy update, it’s not exactly a cheap and easy update.
I think when taken in context to like say, remodeling a bathroom, I would agree that it is, indeed, cheap and easy. Or say, in comparison to laying down flooring in a whole house, I would agree.
But ask me at 2 in the morning when I’ve been painting the basement because I have to wait until the little kiddos are finally fast asleep and you can bet your bottom dollar I ain’t gonna tell you it’s easy.
Or when I’ve just been handed the receipt from the guy at Sherwin Williams for $120, I’m probably not going to tell you it’s exactly “cheap.” But, yes, in the grand scheme of things, painting is probably the easiest and most affordable way to update a space. Still, care has to be made when choosing your color.
How to Pick the Perfect Farmhouse Paint Colors
Tip 1: Consider your whole house color scheme.
Whether you’ve just moved into a new house, just built a house, or just refreshing one you’ve lived in for years, it’s important to consider the direction you want your home to take.
What I mean by that is, for example, I am a “light and airy” kind of gal. While I appreciate deeper, moodier colors and love accenting with color, on my walls I know that I prefer a light neutral color. It did take a little trial and error to figure that out, though.
In our first home, I believe I painted our kitchen a total of 4 times to get the color just right, our guest bedroom was painted 3 times, and our master bedroom twice.
That process taught me 3 things:
- Paint on your walls will not look like the paint on the sample card.
- I love soft neutrals with a hint of color.
- If you don’t like the paint color after the entire room is done, it will not grow on you. Trust me. I spent a month trying to convince myself that baby blue walls in my kitchen was exactly what I was going for. It absolutely was not.
So that’s why I suggest taking a moment to think about the entire color scheme of your house. What direction do you want it to take? Are you wanting the same color repeated throughout for a nice flow? Do you want multiple colors that echo and mimic the overall “feel” you want your home to have?
These are definitely things I consider when designing my home. I tend to lean towards colors that flow from one room to the next, maybe the walls won’t be the same color from room to room, but the same color scheme is echoed throughout.
Here are the colors I’ve used (or plan to use) in my own home.
You can kinda tell how these colors all flow together and come from the same color family. I’ll show some real life examples in just a minute.
Tip 2: Research the color you’re leaning towards on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a goldmine of information from people who have already done what you’re planning to do, and, *bonus* you can probably see pictures of it before you take it on. So, if you have a paint color you’ve been eyeing every time you go into Home Depot, type the color in Pinterest and do a little research.
Maybe you like it in every home you see it in. Maybe you only like it in homes with a certain kind of flooring, like hardwood. Or, maybe you only like it in rooms with loads of natural lighting.
Remember me talking about the kitchen from my first house that I painted 4 times? The end result was this beautiful blue gray color that I just loved. I wanted to paint rooms in my new house the same sort of color. The only problem was they custom mixed it at the hardware store and I had no idea how to replicate it.
Around the same time as we moved into our new house, the show Fixer Upper began to take off. And, me, along with the rest of America fell in love with the Gaines’. I loved that Joanna created these beautiful rooms in all these beautiful colors I loved.
One color she consistently used on the show is the Sherwin William’s color, Silver Strand.
So, I decided after a little Pinterest research that I, in fact, loved the color and was so confident that I was going to paint a room that color without testing it out first. And, I absolutely loved it. Loved it so much that I painted our mudroom that color. And probably will paint our hall bath that color as well. (You can check out the mood board for our hall bath here.)
Also, Pinterest is a great tool for finding whole home color scheme inspirations. You can see on one little “pin” how all these colors will flow and work together.
Tip 3: Test samples on walls.
Now, I know I just said I painted our bedroom without testing samples out first. But I usually do not recommend that. That was a unique situation where I had actually used a color very similar to that previously in our old kitchen and was fairly certain I would love it.
When we painted our living room, entry, and hallway, I picked 5 or 6 light grays that I was leaning towards and bought the little sample pots. I then brought them home and painted all 6 in different areas throughout our main floor. We painted in areas where we have lots of windows, and also in shadowy areas. Painted next to white trim work and also next to our brick fireplace.
Also, I made sure to paint them in the same order so I could remember what was what. It’s so funny how when you put the actual paint on the walls and live with them for a few days, the right color always pops out. You don’t realize just how brown the undertones are in this gray, or how blue this gray reads until you’ve got them up side by side for comparison.
This really is a foolproof way for seeing how these colors will actually look on your walls. And you get the benefit of seeing them in the morning light, in mid day, and in the evening before you make your selection.
Tip 4: Consider your natural lighting, or lack thereof.
I kind of touched on this already, but it’s such an important consideration to make I’m giving it it’s own section. That same color I mentioned above, Silver Strand, reads so much bluer in our bedroom. I had to check the color when we painted our mudroom because it looked sooo much grayer. I think the reason is the mudroom gets so much more natural light with our window and the 3 French doors than our bedroom with only two windows. I’m sure when I go to paint it in the bathroom it will look even more blue than our bedroom because there’s even less natural light in there.
If you’ve got a home with loads of windows and skylights and direct sun streaming in all day, you can probably get away with a much deeper, richer color throughout your house. It may even read airy in there.
If you have a home with just one or two windows in each room, you probably want to go with one of the lighter colors on the paint card. And I speak that from experience. Colors always read so much darker with less natural light.
Tip 5: Know who you are.
Last, but not least, just know who you are. Know what you like. If you’re not sure, create some inspiration boards on Pinterest. Just pin what you like, what you’re drawn to. Go back and look at those boards and find what it is exactly that you like about those photos. Maybe all the rooms have really light walls. Or maybe you like the deeper hues. Maybe you’re drawn to blues, or greens, or red.
Also, keep in mind your decorating style. Farmhouse styles are almost always light and airy, as are coastal styles. Traditional styles sometimes have bolder colors throughout. Shabby chic typically has pops of pink. Modern palettes usually involve a bright pop of color.
Just find who you are and stay true to you. I have no doubt you’ll end up with the perfect farmhouse paint color (and a home) you love!
Drop me a comment and let me know your favorite paint colors!
If you want to save this information for later, you can pin it here: