How to Select a Paint Color Palette

How to Select a Paint Color Palette

Level: Beginner

So many paint colors – how do you choose? Where do you start? Take a look at our favorite tips for choosing a paint color palette to add fresh life to your home.

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    • Start with the Color Wheel

      Remember the color wheel from art class? Most designers use it as a starting point for paint palettes. That’s because it holds the key to the three types of color schemes: Monochromatic (shades of a single color), Analogous (colors that are adjacent on the wheel) and Complementary (colors that are directly opposite one another on the wheel).

      Want to keep things simple or stick to a favorite color? Monochromatic schemes use tints and shades of a single color. Neutral monochromatic schemes, like shades of beige and mocha brown, are popular because they’re easy to work with. You can still add color to a mono scheme; imagine a room in tints and shades of denim blue with pops of sunny yellow – brightening a cool palette with a warm color.

      This fail-safe scheme uses two or three colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. Usually, one color is dominant while the others add interest. Consider the yellow, orange and red; now picture a yellow painted kitchen with orange counter stools and curtains, punched up with red countertop appliances and placemats.

      Complementary color combinations are everywhere: red poinsettias with green leaves, orange stitching on blue denim and gold trim on royal purple robes. You don’t have to go bold, though. A complementary scheme can also use variations: for instance, pale pink walls in a girl’s room with grass green furnishings.

      Dark vs. Light
      The color of walls and ceilings can dramatically change the atmosphere. Dark colors can make spaces feel small and cozy, while light colors can make rooms feel larger and more open. A room flooded with sunlight will wash out the wall color; a room that lacks natural light can turn colors grey or muddy.

      Hue is the name used to identify a color, such as red. Intensity describes how saturated it is. Value refers to how light or dark it is. Most palettes use three values: light, medium and dark – and this can be an easy way to translate your palette to your room. A light color is often used as background on walls and ceiling. Medium tones are popular for carpeting or large pieces of furniture. A dark floor will ground the space, while a light one can visually open up the room.

      If your floor plan is open and rooms flow into one another, choose your main color and paint the adjacent room a shade or two lighter or deeper. For example, if the living room connects to the dining room, different shades of the same color will define each room as a separate space but keep them visually connected.

    • Find Inspiration

      Watch your favorite decorating shows, peruse home and garden magazines and check out design websites. Look around you: a favorite piece of art, patterned rug or colorful fabric can inspire your palette. Visit your local True Value® store for EasyCare® color samples and brochures – you’ll find a wealth of friendly advice and color inspiration there!

    • Use this Pro Trick

      Try the 60/30/10 rule, used by designers. With this method, one color (often a light neutral) is used on about 60% of the room’s surfaces, a secondary color (usually a medium tone) is used on 30%, and the third color (often bold or bright) is used as an accent on 10% of the furnishings. Here’s an example: floors, walls and a large sofa are pale grey (60%); a room-sized rug and two chairs are coral (30%); pillows and other accessories are bright blue (10%).

    • Narrow It Down

      Now it’s time to see how the colors you like will look in your space. We’ve made it simple with EasyCare paint sample kits from your True Value store. For just $7, you get a custom-mixed pint of EasyCare paint, a mini roller and paint tray, a handy paint-and-stick sheet and a coupon book. The paint-and-stick sheet lets you see the color before you commit: Just roll some color over the sheet, let it dry, peel off the backing and stick the sheet on your wall. It’s repositionable, so you can move it around the room or around the house under both natural and incandescent light.

      Inspiration Realized!
      Ready to try a new color or two? Head over to True Value and pick up some inspiration! Your store’s sales associates are always willing to offer tips and advice, too.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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