Many people are afraid to paint their white walls in fear of choosing the wrong color…all that work, energy, and money, just to be disappointed with the result. There is a better way…

Highlands Ranch, Colorado must have about 40,000+ homes, and I would guess that a good 25 to 30% of them still have the original builder white walls. Some people say it is for resale. Some people will be honest and tell the truth…they are afraid of picking the WRONG color. A color that will make the room look worse. It will look too small. It will be too wild. It will look pink, or blue, or…you fill in the blank.

Choosing color is not rocket science, believe me, my wife use to design rockets, so she actually was a rocket scientist. At least that was what I loved to tell people. I, on the other hand, am no rocket scientist. But I can choose a great color to go with just about anything.

Color is a funny thing. It will change how it looks based on two things: what you view it next to, and what the lighting conditions are. Is it natural light, florescent light, halogens…you get the idea. We once painted a large home (over 6,000 sq. ft) and used the same color through out the house. It looked blue in some rooms, pink in some rooms, and purple in others. I remember standing in the entry way, and I could see all three different colors, or so it seemed. If I had not painted it, I wouldn’t have believed my eyes.

So how do you pick the right color…the first time. I usually start with Benjamin Moore’s Historical Colors as a starting point. No use looking at every single color and hue in the rainbow. Then, we need to look at how the space is decorated. To get inspiration, I usually look at pictures, rugs, or other decor to pull a complimentary color. This is usually don in conjunction with other rooms that are adjacent. With this in mind, a sense of what the homeowner wants as far as impact is considered. Are darker colors favored, or is everything in the home more subtle. Now a color can be selected. If a certain color is to be avoided, like pink, or green, you have to know if the color has that in its makeup. Remember yellow and blue make green? In certain lights, a red may not be detected, but get in the back room, and wow does it look pink. Basic color theory knowledge is helpful.

Now we need to take the color, and hold it up next to items and things that will still be in the room once it is painted. Not our white walls. It kills me that every time I work with a customer on color, they want to hold it up to the white walls, and then they say, “Wow, this is really dark.” Then I tell them to hold it over by the chocolate brown tapestry hanging on the wall, and ask, “Is that better?” Color will change based on what it is seen next to.

If multiple colors are being selected in adjacent rooms, you need to make sure they all flow. They don’t need to match, but look good together.

Not so hard right? Well, if you need more help, feel free to contact us at We provide free color design with any project of three rooms or more.

Nick May
One Coat Painting