How To Pick Paint Colors

I was recently asked on Facebook how to pick paint colors for your home. My first advice to you is to have a plan. Secondly, pick the color of your paint last if at all possible.  Inspiration is great from social media.  But you live in your home and colors that others can live with might not be for you.  If you’ve read my previous blog post on this subject, you know that I am not a fan of using Pinterest as a go-to for picking your paint colors. Reasons — lighting in your home vs. the room shown online, monitor screen variations, and color correction in photos to name just a few. I feel so strongly about it that I even did a video about it on my YouTube channel here.  So what is my advice on how to pick paint colors? Make sure your paint relates to the rest of the room.


So often I start with clients who have already painted all of the rooms in their home.  That works great if you are a) Basing your choices on existing furniture items that you own and b) Not going to change out those major items any time soon. A sofa is a major purchase.  It is a lot easier to pull a color out of an upholstered chair or sofa than it is to hunt for the same once your walls are painted.

 Hard Surfaces

Flooring, countertops and cabinets are going to be major investments. Most of us will paint our kitchen again before we tear out the tiles or replace our cabinets. Buy timeless pieces that you love in the way of these big ticket items. If you paint your kitchen a popular gray that you fall in love with, you’ll need to find the right color undertones in your investment pieces.  That’s right.  Color undertones.  Gray will have green, blue or violet undertones.  You will be limited in selections of your hard surfaces if you paint first. Remember, I talked about that in this post in January this year.

But if gray is going to be it for your color choice, make sure that you follow through with your theme.  Look at the appliances and tile floor in this pretty laundry room from Dear Lillie.  The black window trim and cabinets work so well with the major big ticket items. That’s how to pick paint colors in a room. The natural baskets and woven woods window shade are so inviting and add warmth to an otherwise cool color scheme. This room is so pretty that you actually want to do laundry just to be in this cute space.

Black and White Laundry Room



This is one of my favorite ways to choose color a scheme in a room.  A favorite piece of artwork is a great jumping off point.

Whether you are a girl boss like Spanx founder Emily Hertz or on the climb, colorful art gives you choices. The designer knew how to pick paint in the photo above. The neutral color makes a subtle backdrop and shows the art as a feature. Or you could make a bold statement with paint color choice like in the room below designed by the fabulous Laurel Bern. The deep green of the grass and trees not only adorns the sofa but the walls too.

Rugs and Accessories

There is a bounty of color in this teen girl’s room.  The bedding, window shade and even the ceiling are colorful and fun.  But the rug and the walls ground the room with a neutral color.  What do you think this young lady will get tired of first?  The accessories and bedding or the paint color?  The gray colors work well with pops of bright and cheery hues that have been so popular.

Sometimes paint inspiration can be from the most underused color in your accessories.  As long as the colors are all clean as in this young girl’s room, or all muted, the color scheme works beautifully.

If you’re unsure of how to pick paint colors for your home or office, contact Mary Etta Designs for a color consultation.  Mary Etta is a Certified True Color Consultant.  info@maryettadesigns.comMary Etta Designs Your Southern Gal in SoCal



Bedroom Design Trends in 2018

Are you wondering what bedroom design trends you’ll love in 2018 that are good choices for supporting healthy sleep? Recently, the team at Tuck Sleep Foundation reached out to me. Tuck is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web. So I agreed to share…

Mary Etta Designs in VoyageLA

I was approached recently by VoyageLA, a web-based magazine to have an article written about my interior decorating company. Technically, Orange County is not a part of Los Angeles. But honestly, we are so close (35 to 45 miles depending upon exact locations) that it is the best way for me to tell friends and family back east about where we’re located.