Starting Point for Choosing Paint Colors {Paint It Monday}

The best place to start when choosing paint colors for a home. Neutral:transitional color palette {The Creativity Exchange}



Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams 



Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams


I hope you guys had a wonderful weekend! Welcome to another Paint It Monday.

If you happened to miss Thursday’s post, welcome to my newly revamped blog.  We’ve been working on the design and planning of this revamp since the summer and I was so excited to get it installed on Thursday.  I tried to make the site a lot easier for you to navigate and find older projects.  Oh, and I changed all of the colors.  Actually, the new colors on my blog are the inspiration for today’s paint color palette so let’s jump right in.

**All of the images in today’s post will have the wall paint color name and brand directly below each image.

Versatile Gray by Sherwin Williams


Sporty Blue by Sherwin Williams

The number one question that I receive from readers is where to start when choosing paint colors for home and how to choose paint colors that work with the rest of the colors throughout the home.  This is an especially big challenge right now because most of us still have a lot of color throughout our homes with really warm tones but we want to incorporate touches of the popular grays and cooler blues.  Today, I wanted to just touch on three easy tricks that take the guesswork out of choosing the right colors for this transition and the best place to serve as your starting point.


 Lower cabinets painted in Jubilee by Sherwin Williams

The key to the “ideal” color for a room and the best place starting point lies in the undertone of the color adjacent to the room you want to paint.  People struggle so much with paint colors because they just don’t know how to get started.  The place to start and to serve as your guide is the room color adjacent to the space you want to paint because you want your rooms to “transition” smoothly to the eye room to room and you ultimately want all of the colors in your home to work together.


Eider White by Benjamin Moore
The way you achieve this is smooth transition is by choosing colors with the same undertone.  It doesn’t have to be the same amount of undertone, your new color should at least have a slight hint of the undertone.  You can see in this color palette below that you can still have a broad range of colors throughout a home with hints of the same undertone in each color:


The best place to start when choosing paint colors for a home. Neutral:transitional color palette {The Creativity Exchange}


So how do you find these undertones and colors.  Here are my three tricks;

1) If the paint color in the room adjacent to the space you want to paint has an obvious undertone, find a color with a hint of that undertone.  For instance, if your living room is a light sage green and you want to paint your dining room a shade of blue, choose a blue with a green undertone.  If your living room is yellow, and you want to paint your dining room gray, choose a warm gray color that has a hint of yellow.

Because paint cards at the store are in color order, you will be able to go right to the green blues or the warm grays.

2) If your undertone is not obvious, take the paint card of the color adjacent to the room you want to paint to the paint store and ask the paint guys to tell you.  If you don’t have a paint card, you can search the color online and print it out.  These days, most of the paint stores have color matches for all brands, so chances are if you just tell them the name, they have the formula.  The guys can look up the formula and help you figure out the dominate undertone. Then, they can show you which colors that you are looking at has hints of that undertone.

Let me just say that the guys at the paint store or at Home Depot are your best hidden resource for choosing paint colors!  Most of these guys (and ladies) have been working with paint a long time and can help you in so many ways when it comes to spotting undertones and finding the right colors.  They may not be able to tell you what’s the prettiest gray blue but they can tell you in a second what blues have a certain undertone.


 Storm Cloud by Sherwin Williams

3) If #1 and #2 don’t work, use this foolproof trick;  Let’s say that your living room is yellow and you want to paint your dining room a warm gray but you can’t find a warm gray that you like.  Find a shade of gray that you do like that’s closest to the color that you want and get a sample.  Next, take a small plastic storage container and spoon in three tablespoons of your sample gray and one tablespoon of the yellow paint from your living room and mix together completely.  Paint the color on a piece of paper and see if you like it.  If you like it, take that painted piece of paper to Sherwin Williams and have them color match it (Sherwin Williams has the best color match system out there) and get a sample and paint a large poster board.


Cabinets Painted in Eider White


If your color is still not right, add one more tablespoon of your yellow and mix and see if that gets you closer.  If it doesn’t, take your painted paper to Sherwin Williams and tell the guys what you are looking for in your color.  What does it need?  More white? Does it need to be darker, etc.. This is where the paint guys can really help and they can get you to your ideal color.  Don’t be afraid to do this with any color combination!  One of the prettiest blues I found was by mixing in my living room yellow with a navy.

So the next time your trying to decide on the perfect shade of blue or the perfect gray, the place to get started is in the room next to the space you want to paint.  If you always start there, your colors will transition room to room beautifully and you have a starting point to guide you.

I hope this helps guys.  I know it’s really challenging to go from warms to cooler colors but with these tricks, you’ll find your colors quick!

Thanks for hanging out with me today and if you missed last week’s Paint It Monday for how to spray paint drawer organizers in chic metallics, you can get to that post by clicking the image below:

Spray paint cheap desk organizers in chic metallics for pretty makeup, jewelry or desk drawers. (Paint It Monday) The Creativity Exchange




This entry was posted in color palettes, Decorate, Paint Colors, Paint It Monday and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Starting Point for Choosing Paint Colors {Paint It Monday}

  1. Mary SC says:

    Thank you for this post! I have been looking at a lot of colors for my main wall color and I’m sure Eider White is the one for me. Thanks for the photos. Love your blog!

  2. beth says:

    what if you don’t like the color in the adjacent room, then what? I’m looking for a light neutral color for most of my home. I have a couch with gold undertones so does that mean my paint needs to have the same undertone? I have the SW fan desk and I’m constantly holding the colors up to things in my home to see if a color stands out but nothing yet. I have several samples painted on the wall and they are either too yellow, blue or gray. Help!

    • Cyndy says:

      If you are changing all of the colors in your home and do not have one color that is a mainstay, then the place to start is the flooring throughout your home. Determine the undertone of your floors in the room you are doing first and go from there. Hope that helps Beth!

  3. judy says:

    What if your floors are polished white stone?

    • Cyndy says:

      White still has an undertone. White can have a yellow, beige, green and even gray undertone. Most of the time, stone has a yellow undertone. Good luck!

  4. Jacque Hare says:

    We are currently building a new home. I have painted my great room Studio Taupe and master bedroom Slate Tile — all from Sherwin Williams. I am having a difficult time deciding on the color of bedding for the master bedroom. I am going for a rustic mountain look. I am not afraid of color — love orange yellow and rustic reds. Would really appreciate your input. Thanks very much.

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