Choosing Paint Colors

Paint colors can be difficult to choose.  A lot of colors look great as paint chips, but not as great in mass quantity on a wall.  We have definitely had our share of colors that seem great, but are atrocious.  We have learned a few tips and tricks (some the hard way) about painting. 

A few months before Ben and I were married, I came out to Montana to visit.  During that visit, we started brainstorming ideas for the first few rooms we planned to finish.  We easily agreed to install white trim in every room.  Then, we chose paint colors, bought a few gallons and went back home.  We chose Ralph Lauren’s Riesling and Behr’s Squirrel.  I liked the airiness of Riesling and the moodiness of Squirrel.  Ben lovingly agreed.  We painted the first finished bedroom Riesling and loved it. 

Then we finished the guest room.  Then we repainted the living room.  When we finally got around to the master bedroom, the tone of the house had been set.  Dark, moody Squirrel was out.  It just didn’t fit.  I loved the color, but it didn’t work with the rest of the house.  We tried a lighter grey, but decided we needed a color that coördinated with the finished rooms. 

Moral of the Story: When choosing paint colors, first think about if the color will coördinate with other colors in your house. 

I am more drawn to colors on the cooler side of the color wheel, like greens, blues, and purples.  Red, orange, and yellow are on the warm side of the color wheel.  In my opinion, pale blues and pinks are by far the least forgiving.

Our master bedroom color scheme is green with pink accents.  When we finished our master bathroom, which is attached to our bedroom, I wanted to switch things up, but not too much.  Rather than green walls with pink accents, I wanted pink walls with green accents.  Well, I chose a light pink, got home and started painting.  Oops!  Definitely not a light pink.  More like bubblegum pink!  Needless to say, our bathroom did not stay pink.  Nope, it’s the same color as our bedroom. 

Moral of the Story: If you’re looking for a pale color, choose one that you like, then buy the lighter version.  Believe me, paint seems to get brighter when you start putting it on your walls.

By far, my favorite paint colors are from Restoration Hardware.  Saturated hues toned down with grey equals perfection in my book.  Thus, many of the colors in our house are Restoration Hardware colors, color matched at Wal-Mart.  Our main bathroom is RH Lilac:

The guest bedroom is painted RH Sea Green:

Our master bedroom and bathroom is RH Bay Laurel:

Our basement and dining room are mis-tinted versions of RH Silver Sage.

The basement bathroom is RH Sycamore Green:

Moral of the Story:  When you find something that works, stick with it.  I love that most of our colors are from the same line of paint, so everything is cohesive and goes well together.

We use satin finish paint in almost all our rooms, with the exception of the bathrooms, where we used semi gloss.  We chose these finishes for durability purposes.  Flat finishes do not stand up to the damage our two-year old doles out on a daily basis.

12 thoughts on “Choosing Paint Colors

  1. Your colors look great! We chose most of ours from the Valspar Seaside Retreat collection, and it really gave us a nice cohesive feel.

  2. Love, Love your colors! We are about to embark on repainting our newly purchased house. What finish did you guys use for the trim, satin or semi-gloss. Thanks much!

    1. Hi Erin,

      Thanks for the kind words! Have fun decorating your new home, too! We used satin for the trim in everything but the bathroom. In the bathrooms, we used semi-gloss. We used satin for all of our colors, too. Wal Mart’s satin doesn’t have a high sheen…


  3. Thanks for sharing your paint colors. Beautiful! Could you please give me the name and where you purchased the blue comforter with the white leaves on it in your guest room? I’ve been looking for something like that for a while now with no luck. Thanks in advance!

  4. Can you tell me the color of that first picture in a bedroom where there is a soft yellow? I’d love to know the exact name.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Catherine,

      The soft yellow is Riesling by Ralph Lauren, color matched in Behr paint.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thank you for sharing your paint colors – your house is beautiful! We’re getting ready to paint in RH colors as well. I like your version of Silver Sage better than the straight version, and noticed that you described it as mis-tinted. Can you explain that more? I’d love to replicate it.
    Thanks so much,

    1. Hi Shannon,

      Thank you so much for your sweet compliments! Originally, we bought a five gallon bucket of paint color matched to RH’s Silver Sage. For some reason, the bucket had huge globs of dried up paint, so we returned that bucket and bought individual gallons. When the lady at the paint counter made the gallons, she somehow mixed up the five gallon to one gallon formula. So, what we have is a mis tinted version of Silver Sage. Our paint is from Wal Mart and they used the light base. The formula for one gallon is B-37, E-39.5, and T-37. Hope that helps!

      Happy painting!

  6. What color is your living room? I’m trying to find a light neutral that works with my green and orange decor. Thanks!

  7. I love silver sage and painted my living Room, dining area and kitchen in this color. All of these rooms are one big open area ( no walls between the rooms ) I love the mis-tinted silver sage you used. Can you tell me how this was done as I am thinking of painting my fire place mantel, and want something similar to my walls. I like the darker version of the silver sage that you achieved with the mis-tinted one.
    Farelia Fleming

    1. Hi Farelia!

      Here’s the formula from the gallon can: B-37, E-39.5, and T-37. This paint was from Wal Mart, they used the light base. I hope that gives you all the info you need. 🙂


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