dear reader | to the one who doesn’t know what color to paint her walls

Marian ParsonsDecorating, decorating dilemmas

When I shared the plan for my mom’s bedroom makeover, I received this comment from Judy…

“Hi Marian, I love the color palette!  I know that using fabric is a good way to pick your paint colors.  But, what if you don’t have that kind of choice? My dining room is in the middle of my house, no windows, neutral floor color (carpet).  There isn’t any type of “jumping off point”, which always gets me stuck when trying to pick a paint color.  Any suggestions?  Thanks so much!”


Dear Judy (and to others who feel a little stuck when choosing a wall color),

Picking out a paint color can definitely be intimidating.  It’s not because of the lack of options, but because of the plethora of options.  You can literally paint your walls any color.  So, out of multiple fan decks with thousands of colors, not to mention all of the variations of the colors and custom colors that can be mixed, it is overwhelming.

How do you know what color is right for your room?

And how do you select a color if you don’t have an obvious starting point?

Good question.


I would suggest that there can always be a jumping off point and you don’t have to limit yourself to what is currently in your space.  You should only limit yourself to things you love.

Look at magazines, Instagram and Pinterest and see what inspires you.  What are you drawn to?  If you collect enough rooms you love, you’re likely to see a theme.


I realized that so many rooms I loved and pinned and kept in a notebook had white walls.  So, I resisted my anti-white-wall leaning I had for so long and painted most of the walls in my house in varying subtle shades of white, pale gray and pale blue, which allows my love of furniture to be on display.


Your jumping off point can also be a piece of art, an accessory, a pattern of dishes…anything that can inspire.  Look through your home, at antique stores and home decor stores for inspiration until you have that “ah-ha moment.”

That is what I love!  


You can also seek out the color of rooms that catch your eye.  Most bloggers and designers list their paint colors and that is a great go-to place to find colors that look beautiful in rooms.  It narrows the options down for you a bit.


Photo via Vibeke Design

Once you have settled on a board category of color, like blue, aqua, yellow, white, or even a specific color name from a designer/blogger/friend go to the paint store and grab some chips and even sample pots of colors, so you can brush them out on your walls (or poster board) and see how the color plays with the light in your room, with surrounding rooms, with your furniture, etc.

Keep in mind that you might love a color, but not in your house!

And lastly, remember that it is just paint.  You can always paint over it again if the color turns out the be a no-go.  I know it’s a lot of work and you want to get it right, but don’t let that paralyze you from making a decision.  You never know if you never try.

I hope that gets the creative juices flowing!

Happy Painting,


dear reader | to the one who doesn’t know what color to paint her walls

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