Picking out paints and fabrics can be hard. I’ve painted and repainted enough rooms and made and remade enough curtains and pillows to know. And I think the difficulty may have even increased with the advent of Blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram. We can fall in love with a color or fabric in an online photo, which may not even be an accurate representation of what it looks like in person. Or in your house. Or with all of your other stuff.
How many have bought a gallon of paint just because it looked amazing on Instagram?
I’m raising my hand, here.
And sometimes it works out and looks great and other times, it’s a fail. It’s too bright, too pink, too green, it clashes with your sofa or curtains or it just doesn’t look great in the light in your north-facing room.
Now, you know I’m someone who likes to dive into things. Slow and steady is not my natural pace. But, I’ve wasted enough time and money (and even a few tears) getting it wrong, so I proceed with more caution and thought when it comes to making big decisions about color and fabric.
If you’re painting an accent piece of furniture or sewing some pillows, just go for it. Go with your gut and know it can easily be changed as trends and your taste evolve.
But, if you’re committing to a color for walls, all of the interior doors in your house, a ceiling, etc and if you’re committing to curtains, slipcovers, and bedding, let’s chat about the best way to make that selection to avoid decorating missteps.
#1 – Sample Your Choices
If you suffer from decorating decision paralysis, this is a great way to get yourself moving and visualize choices in your space. Buy a small sample of fabric or a test pot of paint and try it out in your space. I am right in the thick of making decorating decisions, so I have swatches taped all over the place!
Put the swatch where it will actually be in the house. If it’s going to be your sofa fabric, spread it out on your sofa. If it’s curtains, tape (or pin) it up where it will hang. If it’s paint, brush on a swatch in a few places in the room you intend to paint.
You can even just paint a piece of poster board (or a paint sample board) and tape it up to the wall (or door).
This is especially handy if you plan to use the paint in several rooms. Move the swatch around, watch the light, put it next to anchor pieces in the room and see how it works with them.
#2 Test it Out
If you’re liking the sample (or you need to see more of the color or fabric to decide), test it out in small doses. If it’s paint, try painting just one wall or one door. If it’s fabric, make a pillow.
I’m considering painting my interior doors in Templeton Gray, so a swatch has been traveling all over my house and I painted one of the studio doors in the color, so I could live with it. We’re planning on replacing that specific door down the road (hello, dutch door), so it’s not a big deal if it gets painted and repainted as I’m making up my mind.
I do like the color, but I’m not 100% sold on it, so I’m going to pick up another sample to try tomorrow that’s a softer blue/gray – Coventry Gray. (Both colors are Benjamin Moore).
(Just to talk through my line of thinking, I like the Templeton Gray, because it has blue and green undertones, but it may be a little too strong for some rooms, if I’m planning on using it everywhere. I do like that it makes a statement, though, and I don’t want to pick a color that’s too wimpy.)
# 3 Get a Second Opinion
Sometimes we really want something to work! We’ve already fallen in love with it on our favorite blog and we’ve gone through the angst of selecting it, so we don’t want to acknowledge that it’s not right and start the process over again. It’s odd how we get emotionally invested in decorating decisions, isn’t it?
Getting a second, objective, opinion will really help. They will be able to either confirm your choice or tell you what you may have already noticed, but didn’t want to admit. It doesn’t mean you always have to listen to that second opinion, but it might help you make up your mind. I’ve had people say they didn’t like one of my options, but it made me even more confident that I loved it and it would look great. On the flip side, it’s also prevented me from buying 20 yards of fabric that I would’ve surely regretted.
If you find something you love, go for it. Mistakes will still be made. You are still free to change your mind. That’s just a part of decorating…
Trial and error until you hit that sweet spot in a space that makes you happy every time you set foot in the room.
Speaking of fabric, I found the most delicious blue & white fabric for my bedroom curtains…
It’s the Aviary Toile by French General and there was no need to tape up a sample of this one. When you know, you know!