The Right Order of
Picking Paint Colors

Picking paint colors for your home involves some planning. Find out the right order of selecting paint colors for a single room and for an entire house - and the reasoning behind it.

Picking Paint Colors for a Room

Psst...! Are you remodeling and starting with an empty room? Then see "Planning Home Color Design" first. You will learn what finishes have to be selected before paint colors for a flowing, balanced final room color scheme.

picking wall paint colors

If you prefer traditional styles and are going to keep your trim and ceiling white, pick your wall color first. Then find a shade of white that will coordinate with the wall color (see "How to Choose Paint Color for Woodwork" for instructions).

Use the same shade of white both on the ceiling and the trim, but vary the sheen level (flat on the ceiling, semi-gloss on the woodwork).

picking trim paint colors

If you are going for a contemporary look and like unconventional interior trim colors, then begin with the the woodwork color. Your wall color will be determined by and related to the trim color.

In other words, you'll have to reverse the traditional approach. If your ceiling remains white, tie it to the wall color - which means it should be selected last.

picking ceiling paint colors

If you want to do something special with your ceiling and paint it a bold color or apply some decorative finishes to it, then start from the top. Decide on the ceiling color first, then find a wall color that will support it. Finally, choose a paint color for the woodwork that will relate to the walls.

Do you understand the logic of picking paint colors this way? We choose "the star of the show" in our room - something that we want to draw attention to (it can be the walls, trim or ceiling - choose one), and then coordinate the other paint colors with it. That way the room will look consistent and pulled together.

Picking Paint Colors for a Home

picking kitchen paint colors

Kitchen is the most important room in the house, and probably the hardest one for picking paint colors. You'll have to find a color that will work with the countertops, tile and cabinets. Plus, you'll have to make sure that color can be extended into the adjoining areas without clashing or conflict.

That is why, when you need to choose paint colors for the entire home, start with the kitchen. Then, continue to the adjoining areas/rooms.

picking bedroom paint colors

Bedroom paint colors can, but don't have to relate to the other rooms in the house, because they have doors... that can be shut. Bathroom wall colors are usually based on the bedroom color scheme.

Hallways serve as a common thread that weaves the entire home color scheme together. Picking paint colors for such transitional areas is usually saved for last, unless it's an open floor concept, where the color of the open area will be continued in the hallways.

And if you have a foyer in your home, and you want to make it spectacular, start there. Just remember that the color and style of your foyer will have to be repeated or incorporated into the rest of your home color scheme.

Recommended:
Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Recommended:
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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