Are You Making These Paint Colour Mistakes?

One of my favourite things to do at the shop is help our customers pick their perfect paint colour.  It’s amazing what an impact colour has on mood and atmosphere and I’m very honored to be a part of our customers’ homes.  But if you’re ever stared with frustration at a fan deck filled with thousands of shades, you know that choosing the right one can be a challenge.  Over the years I’ve discovered our customers making the same mistakes so I’ve put together a short list of things to watch out for.

NOT COMING PREPARED – You’ll be much more successful at picking the right paint colour if you think of it in context with the rest of your home.  If possible, bring in floor samples, fabrics swatches, an off cut of your flooring or counter, or a favourite piece of art.  Bought a new pair of sheets or curtains for the bedroom?  Bring them in for a match.  Ordered something online?  Wait until your purchase arrives before you make a decision.  I’ve learned the hard way that a picture or description on the website can be deceiving and often what was supposed to be beige in the photo ends up grey in real life.

PICKING A SHADE THAT’S TOO DARK – When looking at a small paint chip it can be hard to imagine what it will look like on a larger area.  Generally, paint colours looks about half a shade DARKER on the wall than on the chip.   At the paint store, look at the colours against a white background for context and if you’re stuck between two shades of the same colour start with the lighter one

PICKING A WALL PAINT THAT’S TOO GLOSSY – In the past, painting the walls with a semigloss paint was the only way to get a washable finish.  This was great in high traffic rooms like kitchens, hallways and bathrooms.  But these days even matte paints are designed to be scrubbed clean.  With a very low sheen, they won’t highlight wall imperfections. Even if your walls are rough, a flatter paint will minimize those bumps and give the impression of a smoother surface.

PICKING A COLOUR THAT’S TOO BRIGHT – Paint colours can not only look darker on the wall, they can also look much brighter (especially if you have a lot of natural light) and what you thought was going to be a cheerful yellow can quickly turn into a fluorescent shade that’s impossible to live with.  Instead, choose a softer shade of your favourite colour and you’ll create a space that’s only only stylish but also comfortable.

NOT TRYING A SAMPLE – At the end of the day, the best way to try on a new wall colour is try some paint on the walls.  After all, you wouldn’t buy that pair of jeans without trying them on, right? Lighting makes a huge difference in how we see colour so paint a sample in your space (in the corner and on a wall opposite a window) and evaluate it both during the day in natural light and at night when you turn on the lights.  The latter is especially important when picking paint for the bedroom since we spend most of our time there after sundown.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  At the shop, we’ve been picking paint for years so we’re pretty familiar  with a fan deck.  Plus, if you have a specific issue (like mold in the bathroom or peeling paint) ask us which products are best for your walls.  There are so many products on the shelf, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  That’s why we’re there!

If you liked this post don’t forget to check back next week but if you can’t wait  our  Facebook page is updated daily with more amazing spaces.  Or get a sneak peak at life behind the scenes at the paint store (and more stunning rooms) on our Instagram page here.


11 Responses to “Are You Making These Paint Colour Mistakes?”

  1. Creating Your Dream Living Room | ROWE SPURLING PAINT COMPANY

    […] Finally, let’s talk about wall paint.  A lot of people fall into the trap of choosing the paint colour first (which makes sense if you’re renovating and your room is empty) but it’s kind of like planning an outfit around a pair of shoes.  A paint colour should compliment the other elements in the room so pick it last whenever possible.  If you’re unsure you can’t go wrong with a great neutral like Benjamin Moore Seapearl OC-19.  It’s light without looking white, warm without being too pink and just grey enough to be contemporary.  If you love grey my favourite is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60 (see my favourite spaces here).  For larger spaces that can handle a stronger shade try Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.  Remember that a neutral wall paint colour will give you more decorating options.  Overwhelmed? Picking a paint colour can quickly go from fun to frustrating so if you need help check out my previous posts “What To Bring To The Paint Store” and “Are You Making These Paint Colour Mistakes.” […]

  2. Kim Carr

    Boy have I made all the decorating mistakes! I’m trying to find a paint color that is going to pull everything together now. I’ve narrowed it down to smoky taupe and stone hearth. And of course I think I need a shade in between these! Any ideas?

      • Kim carr

        I’ve looked At Revere Pewter previously and it does not go well with all my trim which is Bleeker Beige. I previously tried Rocky Beach and loved it but it was a bit too dark and green brown behind my furnature. My stone fireplace has a pink cast as well as my furnature is an odd grey brown purple pink – i.e. Taupey color. I’m off to get a sample of the Hot Springs Stones !

      • Kimberly Carr

        Hi again! Hot springs stones look nice by my furniture and fireplace but on the opposite wall isn’t great w my Bleeker Beige wainscoting! Stone Hearth and Indian River are the other colors that I was considering. But it seems I need a color in between that will stand up to the trim. Obviously there is none on the color strip!

        Any suggestions?

        Kimberly Carr, BSN, RN, CCM 614 715 7279


      • Kimberly Carr

        I love sandy hook grey with the trim but the undertones look really green with my furniture. I also loved Rocky Beach, it was my favorite- but it was a little dark and a tinge green w my furniture.

        Anything in between Rocky Beach and smoky taupe/ stone hearth?

        Kimberly Carr, BSN, RN, CCM 614 715 7279


      • Kimberly Carr

        Tyler Gray looks great w the Bleeker Beige trim! But it’s a little dark on the opposite wall w no windows. I’ve tried York gray, it’s not awful- just looks a little yellow next to the limestone fireplace in certain lights. Any other shade lighter than Tyler gray that you recommend?

        Kimberly Carr


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