Website Shifting Roots Logo
My Account

How to Pick a Paint Colour with no Regrets


How to choose a paint colour you won't regret

Have you ever tried to pick a new paint colour for your room, only to feel indecisive and discouraged?  What if you get it wrong!?!?  It will be a huge waste of time, plus you probably hate painting, so you really don’t want to do it twice. . . or more.

I’ve painted too many rooms to count in my life and I’ve only gotten it wrong twice.  Both times it was because I didn’t properly test my colours.

Today I’m going to share my system so that you can get your paint colour right, every time.

Pick a Colour, Any Colour

The first step is to decide what general colour or colours you think you want.  Take a trip to your favourite hardware store and go to where the paint chips are.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT make any decisions about colour based on how things look in the store.  All these colours in the photo bellow looked yellow at the store.

Testing your paint chips

Pick the colours that catch your eye, as well as the cards on both sides of that shade.  15 cards is not too many.

Test the Light

Paste all your samples up on the wall you’re going to paint.  Come back at different hours of the day and pull off the ones you don’t like.

Once you’ve narrowed it down a bit, it’s time to test the contenders with stuff you already own that will be in the room.

Discard all the cards that don’t look good.  Put the finalists back up on the wall.  If you are painting more than one wall, make sure you put your chips on all the walls that get a different amount of light and repeat the process.  This is the mistake I made when testing my dining room.  The colour ended up only looking as I imagined on one of the walls.

Make sure you also test out your colour at night when there is no natural night.  That’s how I wound up with a green that looked amazing in the day, but the colour of 70’s Tupperware at night.


Finally, if you’ve narrowed it down but are still unsure, buy a small tester pot of your top colour and paint a square of it on all the walls you will be painting.  From there the choice will be obvious.

Side note: if you are painting your walls grey, I would use the tester pot even if you are feeling really confident.  Greys can be pure, or have undertones of green, blue, or purple, which can drastically affect how they look in different lights.

Side Side note: Spend the extra money and get the best quality paint you can afford.  It’s worth it.

Have you ever picked a paint colour you regretted?  Tell me about it in the comments!

picking a paint colour with no regrets

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Grow roots with us



Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!