My Go-To Method For Choosing The Right Paint Color

Learn how to choose the right paint color the first time using this method! Don't fall into the trap of making a decision based off of a tiny paint chip!

Let's face it - choosing the right paint color can be a bear. 

There are a million different paint colors out there and they have a way of looking astonishingly different depending on the light in your home. (If you haven't witnessed this yourself, trust me, it's true!). Picking the best one for your walls can be one of the most anxiety-provoking design decisions because you really only get one shot at it. The pressure is even higher if you're hiring out your paint job - you definitely don't want to have to pay twice to get the project done!

So what's the best method for getting for getting that paint color right the first time? Well, I've got a tried and true one for you that has worked beautifully for both my clients and my own home and I'm going to let you in on it today! It requires some effort from you on the front end, but it's WELL worth it and will save you a lot of headaches and regrets down the road.

The key to picking the right paint color is SAMPLES.

Please, please, please don't ever pick a paint color based off of that tiny paint chip from the paint aisle. It's way too small for you to make a good assessment on whether it's the right one for your space. DO, however, narrow your paint color search by picking up a bunch of those little chips in shades you like and bring them home to get an initial sense of whether they're contenders. The light in the home improvement center or local paint store will be different from yours, so even if you like what you're seeing in store, you need to bring them home to see what they look like there. 

(Psst! Here's an extra credit tip for you for this first part: see if you can borrow a fan deck from a designer friend, painter, or from the paint store if you want to have ALL of your initial options at your fingertips. They're really handy!)

Once you've settled on 3-6 colors you like based on the paint chips, get some samples.

Samples pots are small containers you can have mixed up in any color. They're the perfect "try before you buy" size. Every paint store or home improvement center has these available. If you want to make it easy on yourself, stick with one paint brand so you can have all of your sample colors mixed at the same time.

(On a side note, did you know that Home Depot will ship you 8 oz. paint samples for free!?* Save yourself a trip to the store!) 

If you do want to try colors from multiple paint brands, but don't want to run all over town collecting samples, you can have them color matched in a different brand's paint. What I mean by this is that you can have a Benjamin Moore color matched in a Behr paint for example - you just need to bring the paint's name and number with you to the store. They all have libraries of other paint brands stored in their systems for this very purpose. 

Keep in mind though that the color may not be a perfect match to what you see on the paint chip since every brand's formulations are proprietary. They're often really great matches, but there are times when it doesn't work out exactly how you expect. The key to pulling off this color matching strategy successfully if you like the sample you got is to go back to the same paint store and use the same brand/base when you're ready to get your gallons. Remember that you're making your final decision based on the color you see on your walls and not the name of the color or the paint chip! So go back and have that Benjamin Moore color made from a Behr base if that's how you got your sample originally. If you decide you would rather have Benjamin Moore paint through and through though, have your sample made with Benjamin Moore base from the start. 

Wall Color: Winter White by Benjamin Moore. Learn how to choose the perfect paint color for your walls in this post! // White modern bedroom, white walls

Wall color: Winter White by Benjamin Moore from my Modern Eclectic Master Bedroom 

With your samples in hand, it's time to try them on your walls!

You have a couple of choices for this step in the process: 

  • Paint the sample directly on your wall
  • Paint the sample onto a poster board and tape it up on the wall

In either scenario, you'll want to paint the surface with two nice coats just like you would if you were painting the wall for real to give you the best idea of how that shade will look. 

Personally, I prefer the second method of painting a poster board because it gives you the option of being able to move the color around to different parts of the room to observe the colors at different times of day in several areas. This also avoids that crazy-looking scenario of having paint samples all over your walls! If you end up delaying the paint job for some reason, you can simply pull the poster boards down - no harm, no foul. :) 

When we bought our house and I was choosing paint colors, I used the poster board method and boy did it work well. I had three colors picked out from the paint chips: Classic Gray, Gray Owl, and Winter White (all Benjamin Moore). I had samples mixed and painted them all onto poster boards, then carried them all over our house to see what they looked like. As it turned out, Classic Gray had a green undertone in our house, Gray Owl was too dark and too warm, and Winter White was just right. It was the perfect light gray for our home and I would never have understood the (unwanted) nuances in the others had I not tried the samples. My instinct would have been to go with Classic Gray and I would have been so disappointed!

Wall Color: Galapagos Turquoise by Benjamin Moore in this modern dining room. Come learn how to choose the right paint color for your walls in this blog post! I teach you my go-to to method!

Wall color: Galapagos Teal by Benjamin Moore from my Queen Village Cozy Modern Dining Room project

Now I've got one more curveball to throw at you regarding samples.

I recently came across a company called Samplize that hand paints large peel-and-stick swatches in any color in the Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore paint collections. Going this route gets rid of several troublesome issues with the sample process: it cuts down on time wasted going to the store and putting up the samples, it eliminates the problem of what to do with leftover paint, and it helps you get a really accurate assessment without the mess. I haven't personally tried them so I can't speak from personal experience, but it sounds pretty amazing!

Here's a video of how it works if you want to check it out:

Once you've had a chance to live with and observe the various samples for a few days, you'll be ready to make a final decision. If you've done your homework, you'll feel confident rather than anxious to get that paint up on your walls! 

Cheers to getting your paint color right the first time, my friends!


*This post contains affiliate links, which means Mix & Match Design Company will receive a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you.


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Quick Tip: How To (More) Easily Shop Giant Online Home Retailers

Want to know how to prevent overwhelm when you're shopping at those giant home retailers like Wayfair and Target? Head to this blog post for a quick tip!

Raise your hand if you've ever been overwhelmed when you're shopping for furniture or decor on sites like Wayfair* or Target? I'm sure some of you are nodding your heads out there! I know this is a common issue from my own experience (I'm on these sites every single day for clients!) and from just talking in general to folks who are shopping for their homes. These companies have massive inventories and it can feel impossible to know how to comb through the thousands of search results that come back when you search something like "modern coffee table." 

The advantage of those large inventories is that you have plenty of options, but sometimes it's just too many - wouldn't you agree? You can start to feel like a crazy person when you find yourself on page 22 of the search results and still haven't found what you were looking for!

SO, my friends, today I wanted to share a quick tip that can help you quickly narrow your search and decrease that overwhelmed feeling you get on some of these furniture and home decor websites:

Shop by brand.

Yep! These retailers generally carry a bunch of different brands and you can actually shop those brands individually. It's almost like browsing a department store where you pick and choose where you shop specifically in the store based on the particular brands you like. Rather than covering every inch of the store, you tend to focus in on the brands that match your style and budget, and shop them specifically. You can use the same strategy for places like Wayfair, Hayneedle, Overstock, and Target. When you come across brands you really like, take note!

Now, I want to get into the weeds of this a little bit for a sec to show you what this looks like across various sites and how to use this particular strategy. 

There are basically three different kinds of brands you'll find on these sites:

  • In-house brands
  • White label/private label brands
  • Third-party manufacturers

I would say in general that all of these large online furniture retailers have white labeled products and carry third-party manufactured brands, but not all of them have in-house brands.

In-house brands are the ones that the retailer designs and manufactures itself. One of the best examples of this concept is over at Target. They have several of their own lines like Project 62 and Threshold. Each has a distinct flavor, but they're all in-house brands, and you can search for a "brand shop" specifically right in the search bar. For instance, you'll see something like this pop up if you search "Project 62."

Want to know how to more easily shop giant online retailers like Target? Find out how on this blog post!

If you like modern, affordable furniture and decor, Project 62 might be a good brand for you to keep in mind, and shopping it individually will keep you from getting overwhelmed as you browse!

White label/private label brands contain products that are produced by one company and rebranded to make them appear as if another actually made it. Now, that definition makes it sound like white labeling is a bad thing, but it's not! It simply means that the company you're purchasing it from doesn't actually manufacture it. This is a very common occurrence not only at these giant retailers, but at smaller ones as well. 

Sometimes white labeled or private labeled products will change names - I've found this to be especially true on Wayfair. This can make finding (or re-finding!) particular pieces of furniture or decor challenging sometimes, but in general, the "brands" they're listed under are pretty consistent. 

Here's an example from Wayfair for you so you can see what I'm talking about:

Want to know how to make Wayfair feel less overwhelming when you shop it? Head on over to this blog post for a quick tip!

Here, "Bronstein Coffee Table" is the product name and "Mercury Row" is the brand (I'm 99% sure Mercury Row is a white label brand on Wayfair). You can actually click that brand name to go to the brand shop and browse everything within it in one place. If we use the Mercury Row example, clicking that name on a product listing will land you in the shop like the image below shows you. You can also search for an individual brand in the search bar.

An example of a brand shop on

This method for finding brand shops works on other websites as well. One thing to note is that not all sites will have true brand shops, but you can still click the name to see all the items that the retailer carries of that particular brand.

The final category you'll see on these big websites is third party manufacturers. These are just what they sound like - they're brands that are straight-up listed on websites and always have the same brand name across the board. For example, you may be able to find Dash & Albert rugs for sale on Wayfair, Hayneedle, and a bunch of other retailers, and they'll always be called Dash & Albert rugs.

No matter which type of brand you're shopping, using these smaller brand shops to when you're on the hunt for specific items can be a lifesaver! This little secret has been awesome for me to use as I look for products for clients and for my own house. So as you go about your online shopping, start to note the brands you consistently like, and use them to to your advantage to decrease that overwhelm. 

I hope this little quick tip is helpful as you go about your searches!

Want to know how to prevent overwhelm when you're shopping at those giant home retailers like Wayfair and Target? Head to this blog post for a quick tip!

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Console Tables and Round Mirrors: A Perfect Combination

Decorating tip: use a round mirror over console table in your entryway - it's a perfect pairing.

via West Elm

The phrase "opposites attract" couldn't be more accurate when it comes to the pairing of console tables and round mirrors. Their round shape has a way of softening up the sharp angles of the table, and this combo is my go-to in an entryway - especially in one that could stand to be a little brighter. Mirrors can bounce light and make a room feel larger, and who doesn't want those two things in their home?! (Side note: I wrote a whole post on using mirrors in your home, so if you'd like some further reading on that topic, head on over here.)

Farmhouse style entryway in the Hamptons with a beautiful console + mirror combination.

via Robert Stilin on Instagram

Console tables are a great asset in an entryway for a lot of reasons: they make a great first impression, provide a drop zone for when you come in the door, and create a focal point for that space without taking up a lot of visual real estate because of their openness. 

Coastal glam entryway from One Kings Lane.

via One Kings Lane

When you're choosing a mirror/console combo, one thing you want to think about is scale. One thing that makes me cringe is when a mirror looks dinky in relation to the size of the entry table. Bigger is almost always better in this case - the only thing I would generally recommend is to avoid going with a mirror whose diameter is larger than the width of your console table. That will cause the opposite of the dinky mirror problem - you'll end up with a dinky-looking console table instead. ;)

That being said, oversized mirrors are really hot right now, and I've gotta say, I love that look. If you go that route though, make sure your console table can handle a giant mirror!

Bright and colorful entryway with console table, mirror and upholstered stools from Stephanie Kraus Designs.

via Stephanie Kraus Designs

In addition to thinking about scale, once you've got your mirror in hand, make sure you hang the mirror at the right height. Most console tables are 30" high (double check that's true of yours!), and you want the center of the mirror to hang at eye level. Hanging it at that height looks great, and it's practical - you want to actually be able to use the mirror to check your teeth before you head out the door, don't you? :) Average eye level is about 60" from the ground, which you can use as a good a general rule when you're hanging just about anything on the wall if it's above a piece of furniture that's up to 30" high, or if there's nothing under it. 

But, since the hanging mechanism for a mirror isn't smack dab in the center, you'll need to do a little bit of math to figure out where to place your nail/picture hanger to make sure the center is 60" from the ground. If you've got a round mirror, take the radius of the mirror and subtract the distance from the hanging mechanism to the edge of the mirror, then add 60 to that number. That's where your nail/picture hanger should go.

Whew! Enough math for the day!

Cozy mid-century eclectic entryway.

via House of Jade

So! Those are my two cents on the magical pairing of a mirror and console table. If you have questions, feel free to ask away in the comments!

Lastly, stay tuned, because I'll be back on Friday showing you how to Get the Look of two of these entryways! Since you only need a few pieces in that space, this is an easy, budget-friendly update that you can easily conquer in an afternoon. It will have a big impact on this little part of your home, and it'll make a great first impression when your guests walk through the door!

Gorgeous coastal entryway in a stunning Palos Verdes home.

via My Domaine

P.S. Looking for more inspiration? I'm always adding new images to my Pinterest boards - come follow along!


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