How to Pick a Paint Color (in the Mego Cave)

Ever find yourself dying to change something up in the house? One of the easiest and most cost effective ways (in my opinion) to make a dramatic change in the house is to change the color of the room. However, in the past I made the process of picking a color dramatic as well. I don’t recommend it. Remember when what I experienced a “paint emergency” inthe basement? Then my just “ok” reaction to the guest bedroom color? Then I have also had a few huge successes where I just want to hug the paint color (like the master bedroom and kitchen)! All those ups and downs and questioning whether I would like a color when my paintbrush hit the wall were worrisome and kind of made me stress out about painting walls.

Then came the Mego Cave, full of its rough wood paneled walls. I once thought I would never paint those walls, looking at the time and complications this room hads But once I got underway in the Mego Cave I knew it was imminent. I also knew I didn’t want to just get an “eh” color reaction. I want to LOVE the color and keep it for a long, long time, since I am anticipating a long, arduous painting process. So I decided to get it right before I loaded up on gallon cans and set to work. Here’s my color picking advice.

1.       Go to the paint store with a color scheme in mind. Remember that colors can really set the tone of the room, so have an idea of the type of feel you want the room to have. If you want a relaxing, cozy room go for warm colors (like green or blue). Want to punch up the energy? Go with a yellow, red, or orange. Purple and black families can be dramatic, although black and white can also be simplistic and pure. I like to load up on the paint chips. I pretty much pick every chip they have in the color family I have in mind that attracts my eye. Then, I step back and think outside my color palette. I always like to bring home a few off the wall (haha for on the wall!) choices I hadn’t thought of before. That way I won’t just settle for the same palette or comfort zone (not that that is bad, but I want to explore with color in our home!). This helps my mind stretch and bend a little and break outside the box.
2.       When I get home I spread the samples out and then start taping them on the wall with painters tape. I try and pick a place to tape them that is near the focal point of the room or an inspiration piece. In this case I used my artwork since that is one of my biggest inspirations for the room.


3.       Automatically discard the ones that just look wrong. Go with your gut on that one. If you have that reaction immediately, it’s gone. Keep all the ones you like up on the wall for a while. I like to just live with them for a few days/even week. It seems that after some time the colors really begin to sort themselves in my head and “speak” to me. Yes, I think all colors should speak to you!

4.       As those little chips are getting vocal, I start separating them a little bit. A few more will probably jump out at you as no’s. Take ‘em down. There will probably still be a lot up there and it may be overwhelming still. So I start moving them into the love pile and the just like pile. It’s no big deal if your categories move around a lot. As you play and look, and they speak, you will slowly start to wean out the ones you don’t like. Keep in mind the feel of the room you want. Do you want a bold, dynamic room? How about a soft and sweet room? Or maybe a bright and cheery room? Keeping this in mind will help you decide which paint color to go with.
5.       I try and narrow it down to just a few of my absolute favorites. At this time start moving them around the room, putting them by other pieces of furniture and seeing them in natural light and at night. This is just to test that the color doesn’t look great on the light side of the room but get all wonky and wrong in the dark corner.
6.       Once you have it narrowed down (I narrowed it to 3), go buy the genius little samples they sell. At only $3 a pop with quite a bit of paint, not only do they help you choose your color but leave enough paint for a later project. (The three pictured are Valspar Tempered Spring, Olympic Thin Ice, and Olympic Glimmer.)
7.       Then slap those samples on the wall. If you are like me you are giddy with excitement and just stick your finger in the tub and smear it on the wall. But, it would probably be better with a brush.
8.       I put the samples up by the focal art piece and one just screamed out at me. Can you tell which one? So then I proceeded to paint a few samples around the room, once again checking for wonky corners and seeing how they look in all lights.
9.       At this point the right color seems to become obvious: Valspar Tempered Spring. The one that makes  your eyes light up and seems to have a certain glow about it. When I look at my color choice it seems to be lit up in a haze of majesty. Like it is glowing off the wall saying, “Pick me!”

After that process I now have no doubts in moving forward with painting the Mego Cave. I know I will LOVE the color and can’t wait to get started on it! How about you? Have you figured out a way to make these sometimes overwhelming choices?

  • […] of the Mego Cave. You may recall my arduous hemming and hawing journey as I picked a paint color here. And only Eric can recall that ever since I set foot into our little ranch-o house, just looking at […]ReplyCancel

  • […] 3. Paint samples, paint samples, paint samples. Can I say it one more time? Paint samples! At this point I have pretty much painted everything in our house. Some colors I love, some I am okay with, some I haven’t decided. Yes, paint is an easy thing to change, but using paint samples and putting them up on the walls sure does help you get it right the first time. Now it isn’t a guaranteed win (oh Mego Cave, I still don’t know about your pale green-ness) but it takes away the surprise of, “What?! This paint color was totally different on the paint chip!” Hello basement and a little bit of the guest bedroom. So take the time to buy the $3 paint samples and dab them around the room. I actually did a whole post about how to pick a paint color. […]ReplyCancel

  • Paint swatches – delaying DIY projects since 19 something something. Every time we go to the store to decorate another room we spend so much time staring at all the swatches. If you had any idea of what paint color to apply when you arrived…chances are you’ll change your mind! You seem to have more patience than us though. We only choose 2-3 and just roll with it!ReplyCancel

    • Haha. I completely understand! I admire how you can go for it more than me. I think there is something to say for just picking a color and painting!ReplyCancel