Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: Does Choosing Paint Color Make You Nervous?

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Does Choosing Paint Color Make You Nervous?

I don't know about you but I often have one heckuva time choosing paint colors.  I spend days a lot of time on Pinterest and the rest of the www. looking for that perfect color.  This may be the most ultimate waste of time because as I learned from the Kermit the Frog paint debacle, you can not trust your computer monitor to give you an accurate depiction of what a color will actually look like, ever.  Sure, it can give you an idea but that's about it.  Trust me on this one.

Paint is hard.  It makes me nervous.  What if I choose the wrong color?? OMG!  The world will coming crashing down around me!!

Just kidding obviously, but paint is hard, isn't it?  The worst that can happen is that you will have to re-paint.  Which is a major bummer but definitely not the end of the world.  So why do I get myself so worked up when choosing paint colors??

Well, first of all, I'm cheap.  I can't bare to blow $30 on a a gallon of paint only to find out it's the wrong color.  God bless the paint companies that FINALLY started making little jars of paint samples.  Brilliant!

Second, I'm lazy.  If I paint it once I don't want to re-paint it a few six months days later.

Third, I'm a perfectionist.  The color has to look exactly right or it will bug me for the rest of my life (or maybe just when I'm looking at it).

Finally, I'm an interior decorator.  My house is one huge advertisement.  People expect it to look good and if it looks good enough it might score me a new customer.

My current paint project (that is going all wrong) is our Master Bathroom makeover.  Mr. Chic did a fabulous job putting up beadboard and now it's time to choose the paint (which I've already chosen 3 different times).

Here it is....

Twilight Grey by Behr

This isn't a great picture, it looks a bit lighter than it is, it's borderline too light, from the picture I think it looks too light.  But remember, never trust a computer picture about paint!   

Mr. Chic HATES it.  He wants something much darker.  He usually is easy to please when it comes to paint colors so that is concerning.  Especially since he worked so hard doing a nice job on the beadboard, I don't want to "ruin it" in his eyes with bad paint. (more pressure for that perfect paint color!)

 I did the ultimate painting no-no and bought a gallon of paint without buying a sample!  I broke my own number one rule when it comes to paint.  I had taped the swatch up on the wall, not good enough!!

Months ago when I first started experimenting with paint color I thought I was going to go for a brighter aqua blue.  These were 2 fails that are still on my wall.  At least I only bought sample sizes.

Oh yeah, this is on my wall from my little assistant too...

It's my favorite part of the bad paint color and I might have trouble painting over it. :)

I'm beginning to think I should just stick with my neutral brown tones that are on the wall already.  I still have the paint, it would be so easy.  I got some really cute chevron towels (that Mr. Chic also hates) that look nice against them too.

Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Does choosing paint color make you nervous or am I just some kind of paint-phobic crazy person?


  1. Perfect timed post for me. I have been procrastinating for 2 years trying to figure out colors for my house. We moved here 2 yrs ago and all the walls are bright white. I have only painted the kitchen and den...everything else is still white (with little paint samples painted here and there) I need to just do it!

  2. It is nice to knw that even a professional gets held up over paint color. I cannot tell you how many projects I have put off because I cannot decide on the color! Funny how something so small can present such a huge problem.

  3. I guess I'm lucky - cuz I really don't have a problem picking the paint colors...whether it's for myself or my Interior Design Clients. When I was a full-time designer, I always had several paint fans with me - you know the kind, with every color they have of a certain brand paint. Now that I am no longer a full-time designer, I go to the store that handles the brand I want and borrow - check out with a deposit - the particular paint fan I want. I take it home and with all my fabrics, carpet, accessories, etc around, I can easily select the paint color I want...and in my own lighting. I always make sure I select a limit of 2-3 colors...return the paint fan to the store and pick up about 4-6 of their full-sized paint sample cards. I then tape those (all of 1 color taped together on the back) - 2 colors at a time on the wall, separated by a blank sheet of typing paper in the middle - and select one. Then I tape up the next paint sample and select the BEST one. (I look at them on the wall in daylight and at night, with room lights on) I have done that forever and it WORKS!!

    I have only re-painted once, because I found bedding I liked better than what I'd already purchased and it didn't really go with the paint. I returned the previously purchased bedding, got the NEW bedding and re-painted the room, following my rules above.

    Giving yourself or anyone MORE than 2 or 3 colors to choose from at a time, makes it alot more difficult.

    Jan :)

  4. The greatest invention for me was sample pots! I buy several and paint whole sections of the wall and WAIT. And WATCH. Through day light, evening, afternoon, dreary days, sunny days . . . and THEN decide!

  5. Oh, I love this post!! I'm so glad I'm not alone in my "paint choosing anxiety"!!:)

  6. I usually just start with some small samples but I've kept those hanging on the wall for months sometimes and then decided to just forget the whole thing or go with a totally different color. Once I get a section painted though I go ahead and push ahead it's a yes or no and if it's a no, I try another color.

  7. I'm a designer and I have a terrible time picking paint for my home - unless, of course, I have an inspiration piece (artwork, bedding, etc). When working with clients, I find it easier - maybe because I don't have a vested interest - it always comes easy when helping someone else.

    I like to figure out what I'm trying to say with the space - what message am I trying to communicate? Good luck - and like you said (and like I tell myself), it's only paint!

  8. I so agree with Brennan - I'm an Interior Decorator and have no problems in clients homes - Color Consults are fun and simple! In my own house - nevah happen! I had 10 samples on my living room wall to decide from, and that was AFTER it had been painted twice in 3 years. GAH, i totally get it. PS- I like the Twilight Grey...

  9. Recently did a 3 room reno. Removed a wall, and updated my living room, entry and office. Hired the designer recommended by the contractor to advise paint colors and decor. Have been living with it for 2 months now and it still hasn't grown on me. I am a tightwad. It was a big step for me to pay for several hours of her expertise. I have totally lost my enthusiasm and enjoyment for the project. My daughter was here for Easter and said the walls colors were garish. Such a let-down. Spent my money saved for the project on the professionals. Now any changes will have to be paid for and executed by me. Think I will just spend the spring in the garden and try to get back to the happy me before I continue.

    1. This makes me so sad! And kind of mad, too. I'm not sure if you used a designer or a decorator, but either way, they should have interviewed you, looked at your art, textiles, clothing, even your coloring; and asked about what you LOVE. Then, they should have prepared large poster-sized samples for you to live with in different types of light. If none of those samples worked, the consultant probably wasn't listening to what you were saying.

  10. I'm an artist and very particular about my wall colors. Two years into my home redec I still have some walls with what I call paint quilts. I usually try a minimum of 4 colors before deciding. My kitchen was painted 3 times before it felt right.

  11. Seriously, I can walk up to the paint wall display and pick a color in 5 mins. I do it all the time and with no regrets! Did it this office is now Barely Pink by Behr!

  12. I recently found out that Ace has HUGE swatches of their most popular Benjamin Moore colors. You have to buy them (a couple of dollors a piece) but they are about 1.5' square, so it gives you a really good idea of how it will look in a larger piece. I'm kind of obsessed with them.

  13. I'm cheap and lazy too and am paralyzed by picking a paint color! It seems like some decorators have experimented enough that they have developed favorites and those are their "go to" paint colors. I enjoy seeing articles that feature decorators' fav colors since they have probably had to re-paint to get to the best colors.


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