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With so many choices of paint color available, picking the right color can seem overwhelming.  In addition, how a color looks in the store is not the same as how it looks on your wall.  Several factors including the type of lighting, size of the room and flooring can affect the color.  By following the simple steps below, you can find the perfect paint color while saving yourself time and money.

STEP ONE – What Else is in the Room?
Knowing where to begin at the store, starts at home by looking around the room you are going to paint.  Many factors can help steer you toward a great color and help narrow down your options.
If a room is small, or not well lit, you will want to pick lighter colors.  If there is an architectural element (fireplace, vaulted ceiling, crown molding) you should try to make it stand out.  For example, you may want to paint a wall with a fireplace a different color than the rest of the room.  This will help make the fireplace a focal point.  Also, look at other elements in the room for color inspiration (i.e. Curtains, flooring, countertops).  If your kitchen has a countertop with several colors, consider picking one of those colors to paint the walls.  This will help tie the room together.
If you are selling your house, lean toward selecting a lighter, more neutral color.  After looking around the room, if you find that more than one  color choice that works, feel free to select them all.  They can easily be narrowed down during later steps.

STEP TWO – To the Store
Once you’ve decided on 1-3 color families (i.e. Soft yellows, beiges, light greens) you are ready to go to the hardware or paint store.  Please note that during this first trip, you should not purchase any paint.  The goal is to collect as many paint chips (color samples) as possible that match your color family.  For example, if you think you want to paint a soft yellow color, select all the paint chips from every manufacturer (Behr, Glidden, Valspar) in the soft yellow color range.  Do this for each color family you are considering.  Do not be shy.  The next steps will be easier if you have a lot of paint chips to choose from.

STEP THREE – Tape Time
At home, use scotch tape to hang all the chips on the wall(s).  If possible, put the chips close to windows or trim.  If the color you like is on a strip with several other colors, cut the strip so that only the color you are considering is showing.  At this stage, it is very possible to have 20 – 40 color chips or more taped to the wall.

STEP FOUR – First Elimination
Step back and look at all the color chips.  Almost immediately, some of the colors will appear a very different shade at home than they did at the store.  At this step, remove any colors chips from the wall that are definitely the wrong shade (i.e. Too bright, too dark, a strange hue).  You might remove just a few or many chips at this point.  However, if there is a color that you’re on the fence about, leave it on the wall for now.  The main goal at the end of this step is to eliminate only the colors that you know are “wrong”.

STEP FIVE – Only Time will Tell
Use the next few days to evaluate the remaining color chips.  Each time you walk by the collection of color chips, glance at them and see if any chips look like the wrong shade or brightness.  Try to look at the color chips several different times of day.  This way, you will see the shades in the morning light, interior light, and evening light.  You are looking for colors that look good across all of these lighting options.  If you start to see favorite colors, that tend to look great all the time, feel free to group them higher on the wall.  Any colors that don’t look good should be removed.  This helps you keep track of and narrow down your top picks.

STEP SIX – Final Elimination
After reviewing the colors several times a day, you will find that a few color chips become your favorite.  They will look good in different light and throughout the day.  They will also complement the furnishing and décor already in the room.  If you are fortunate, you will only have one color choice.  Otherwise, if you have a few chips left and cannot decide on one, go back to the hardware store and get more color chips of just these few favorites remaining.  Tape all the color chips together so that you end up with larger samples of each color.  This will help you see the color better and should bring out a clear winner.  Once you have your color selected, you are ready to head to the hardware or paint store to get the paint.