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Home Build prep guide


Design + Decorate

Four Steps to Choose a Paint Color

Published on:


written by:

Carrie Barker


I think we can ALL agree that it’s HARD to choose a paint color! It can be (very) confusing and overwhelming because there are literally thousands of choices and the samples are so microscopic!

I have four EASY steps for you to get a much better idea of what a paint color will look like on a larger scale:

(1) get inspired (2) use peel and stick paint samples (3) create a large paint sample, and (4) tint your primer.

Use all of these methods (combined) the next time you need to choose a paint color!

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When choosing a paint color, start by looking at inspiration photos in magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google image searches.

ALWAYS keep in mind that what looks great on your device or in an edited magazine photo might look VERY different in your home.

This is why the following three steps are SUPER important!


After getting color inspiration, choose 5, 10, 20 (however many you need) paint colors and order a peel and stick sample of each color.

I have personally tested these peel and stick samples in my own home and the color is SPOT ON!

Once you test out these samples in your home, narrow down to your top two or three choices and move on to the next step.


You have two options here …


  1. Purchase large white poster board sheets to use as your canvases. Another (even better) option is to use drywall remnants if you happen to have them lying around your house! You also have the option to simply paint samples directly on your wall … this freaks me out, but a lot of people do it.
  2. Paint each piece of poster board (or drywall remnant) with a different paint color. I suggest applying two coats of the paint color to get a good idea of how the finished color will look IRL (in real life).


  • If you want to go the mess-free route, you can purchase several peel-and-stick samples in the same color and create one large sample.

If your home is already built, you can view your paint samples IN your home. If you haven’t built yet, just look at the samples in various lighting in your current home.

BE SURE to look at the samples in BOTH natural and artificial lighting and in different parts of your home. Paint color can vary significantly in various lighting.

Once you decide on the ‘winning’ color, it’s time to tint your primer …


This little tip is a game-changer. Simply ask your painter to tint the wall primer with your desired paint color. Once your walls are primed, you’ll have a decent idea of how the paint color will look on your walls.

If you hate the color, it’s just primer so you can choose a different color and paint right over the primer!

This is exactly what we did when we built our home.thought I wanted ‘Manchester Tan’ on all interior walls throughout our house. I HATED it once the tinted primer was up, so I chose another color (Sherwin Williams ‘Accessible Beige’).

Same with my daughter’s room. I chose a pink paint color that ended up being WAY too bright … luckily I figured this out because our painter tinted the primer. I was able to ditch that paint color before it was too late!


There you go … four easy steps to choose your paint color: (1) get inspired (2) use peel and stick paint samples (3) create a large paint sample, and (4) tint your primer.

Following these steps takes a little time, but the result (i.e. a paint color that you LOVE) is SO worth it!

What are you waiting for? Get inspired and start testing out paint samples TODAY!

How to choose a paint color by creating a large paint sample. Three easy steps.

  1. Erin says:

    Great idea – we did that with posterboard and it was sooo helpful. Also, readers might want to keep in mind that areas getting sunlight from different directions can look surprisingly different. We are building and the whole back side of the house is windows and faces north. The great room only gets light from the north, which really grays down a color. We wanted a consistent color throughout much of the house, and ended up using a warmer color than originally expected to counteract that effect (because I am not on the gray train – LOL). You can stand in the great room and look at the wall where there is just north light, and right next to it the kitchen wall has north light *and* eastern facing windows, and it looks like 2 totally different colors, but they are the same. :o)

  2. […] recommend you paint a large sample of each potential color choice on your wall or use this trick to create a large paint sample. Once you have your larger samples, look at the white paint colors in various lighting (morning, […]

  3. […] the Samplize samples are very accurate, I recommend you go a step further and create a large paint sample for each of your top color […]

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I’m Carrie Barker.

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