8 Questions to Help Select Paint Colors

Use these questions to help narrow down the perfect shades for your home.

Home Painting Guide

When you consider the fact Sherwin-Williams has over 1,600 paint colors, it’s easy to understand why it can be so overwhelming to select the best paint color for your room. While we can't pick a color for you, we can help you find a paint color you'll love in your home!

By answering just a few questions, we can help you narrow your choices down to test in your space before ultimately selecting the best paint color to match your design aesthetic.

1. Are you renting or selling your home soon?

If you are looking to sell or rent your home, it’s best to paint your walls in muted tones. Here are the neutral paint colors realtors recommended to help sell your home:

  • Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray (SW 7029)

  • Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (SW 7008)

  • Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige (SW 7036)

  • Sherwin-Williams Snowbound (SW 7004)

Looking for a more data-driven approach to increase ROI? Craftwork examined the best paint projects and color selections to increase your listing value before selling in 2023 on this blog post. Making the right investment can raise the value of your home by 3.5% to 9%.

Still unsure? Take a look at Sherwin-Williams 50 top selling paints for inspiration

Explore Sherwin-Williams 50 most popular paint colors. Among these loved and trusted hues, you'll find favored grays, whites, neutrals and even some unexpected colors.

We recommend purchasing Sherwin-Williams Property Solutions or Painter’s Edge. This the best paint on a budget and great for touch-ups and coverage.

2. What is your home's color palette? 

When thinking about adding color to your home, it’s best to think about your house as a space where multiple colors blend together. When you walk from room to room, it should feel as though the color in those spaces compliment each other.

To select your home palette theme, first think about your home’s design aesthetic is: 

  1. Modern and Edgy, like Kelly Wearstler’s designs (see examples)

  2. Farmhouse Style, like Johanna Gaines’ designs (see examples)

  3. Mid-Century Modern or Boho Chic, like Justina Blakeney’s designs (see examples)

  4. Traditional or Regal, like Corey Damen Jenkins’ designs (see examples)

You may notice that you like multiple aesthetics (and aesthetics can, at times, blend together), but this exercise is less about staying within a specific design lane and more about defining your likes and dislikes. Articulating your home’s style and committing to that style makes it easier to ensure your entire home flows together.

Use your home’s design aesthetic while searching on Pinterest, Instagram, and home magazine websites. The examples should act as inspiration as you create your home palette and introduce you to colors that match your taste. While different styles don’t have dedicated colors, you’ll notice that farmhouse style homes tend to include a lot of whites, grays, and blacks, while modern and edgy colors have brighter color palettes. 

Tip: I found the examples below by searching on Pinterest for an “aesthetic” + paint colors. Think of these palettes as an example of “Whole Home Palettes” rather than just picking an individual color you like. 

Tip: Sherwin-Williams pulls together new full home palettes every year, called their ColorMix Forecast. This year is called Terra, defined as “40 trend colors across four palettes, inspired by the natural interweaving of ourselves and our spaces.” Their 2022 ColorMix Forecast was called Mode. The best part of examining these palettes is seeing the actual colors used in real spaces. 

The most important step when considering colors is to pull a mood board of your entire home together in one space. Each paint color choice should feel complimentary. I usually go to Sherwin-Williams and pull the paint swatches together to see if they appear cohesive together. Don’t forget to include the colors that already exist in your home and that you don’t plan to change, especially your trim colors.

Tip: If color makes you nervous, just stick to the whites and light grays or browns. Although those paint colors aren’t bold, they are still classically beautiful. You can always use color in your furniture and decor to bring the room to life.

3. What colors are the adjoining rooms?

Does it feel overwhelming to figure out your full home palette for your project? Or is most of your home painted and not changing? No problem. An easy hack if you’re struggling with selecting the right paint color is to consider the colors of the adjoining rooms. 

Tip: Take the colors from adjoining rooms and go up or down two or three shades in the same color family. Search for a color that exists in your home to learn about colors in the same family directly on the paint company’s website, as well as coordinating colors if you want a different hue.

If you’ve ever watched Kelly Wearstler’s MasterClass about selecting colors, she goes over a concept called enfilade. In architecture, an enfilade is a series of rooms formally aligned with each other.  If you have adjoining rooms, consider how the colors in two connecting spaces can complement each other. Is the paint color scheme harmonious? If the paint color in one room frames the next room, they should coordinate. 

See Kelly Wearstler's class on color selection here: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/kelly-wearstler-teaches-interior-design/chapters/field-trip-experimenting-with-color

4. Is your home palette gray-blue or brown-red?

When researching “how to create a color palette for my home”, you’ll notice many interior designers bringing up color theory, typically followed by an image of a color wheel that doesn’t contain a single color you’d put on a wall. Simply put, color theory is the art of combining colors based on the color wheel.

You don’t need to know color theory in its entirety to make a coordinating color palette. Instead, use this simplified color model and ask yourself: is my palette in the gray-blue family or the brown-red family?

Let’s take a look at some of the colors from Sherwin-Williams top 50 best selling colors again.

Explore Sherwin-Williams 50 most popular paint colors. Among these loved and trusted hues, you'll find favored grays, whites, neutrals and even some unexpected colors.

Using the blue or brown-red technique, you can see which paints are meant to be in the same family. 

Tip: Narrow down your color options by staying in the same family: either brown/red or gray/blue. 

The brown-red family is warmer and you may see hints of yellow. These colors are usually found in more earth-tone or traditional homes. The blue-gray family feels cooler, which are often used more in modern and farmhouse homes, and are easily mixed into a simple black and white-focused palette. 

5. What colors in your room must stay?

After you consider the colors in adjoining rooms and your whole home palette, consider the colors in the room that you do not want to change. Whether it’s a large piece of furniture, granite, cabinets, flooring or a rug, use unchangeable colors that exist in the space to help guide your decision. 

The need for this exercise is most evident in your kitchen because you have to consider multiple factors: what color is your cabinet, countertop and tile?

Tip: After you take into consideration the previously asked questions, use the 3-8 colors you may be considering and place them next to the unchangeable materials to visualize how the colors work together.  

In interior design, this step is called creating a mood board. If you want to see some great examples of how to mix different textures and colors, look to Material Bank’s instagram. Their entire purpose is to help interior designers examine how different material samples blend together. Notice how most of their mood boards fit into the brown/red or blue/gray family rule.

While pulling a hue from a wallpaper to color match or coordinating colors with a granite, remember your wall space is usually the largest or most noticeable color because it’s at eye-level. If you don’t like bold design, go with a white or very light color in the space. If you like a colorful home, lean into those complimentary colors. 

6. Have you looked at expert-recommended colors? 

If we are to this point and you still don’t have a color direction, look for paint color inspiration from your favorite home-focused magazines or interior designers for their favorite paint colors. 

Here are a few Instagram handles to get inspiration flowing:

Head back to Pinterest too, scroll through experts and DIYers by searching for key terms. Here are a few ways to search for inspirational spaces:

  • Search paint colors +  room type + unique features (no windows, green cabinets, etc.)

  • Search for specific colors shades + room type

  • Search for “most popular paint colors” + room type

If you’re lucky, the image owner will tag the paint color. If not, you can at least find a similar shade by pulling the color from the image using Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer. Be warned, pulling colors from images can put you in the right direction, but usually doesn’t find the accurate color. We ran the above image through the visualizer and it recommended White Snow instead of the color Chris Loves Julia said they used (Alabaster). 

7. Do you like the way the color looks in other homes?

Now you should have a few colors you are considering for your space. The best way to know if you’ll like it in your home is to see how the color turned out in other spaces. 

Search Google, Instagram, and Pinterest by the paint color name. Search for examples of the paint color in specific rooms. Confirm the image clearly states the same paint color you were trying to find (sometimes you’ll have to click through to the blog itself). 

Sherwin Williams Redend Point SW 9081 and Pinky Beige SW 0079

Tip: If you’re struggling to find a real example of the paint color online, search for popular colors in a similar shade. Don’t worry about selecting a highly recommended color if it’s a hue you enjoy. 

8. Which sample did you like the best in your space?

Test your paint color selection! Some interior designers suggest painting wood or something you can move in the room to examine the color in different spaces in various lighting conditions.

Go the to the paint store to get paint samples or use Samplize, which provides a large paint sample sticker that can be easily moved to different walls in your space. 

The amount of natural light in your room will change the way the color appears, so what you see in well lit example pictures may look totally different in a space with no windows or different types of light bulbs. 


There is no way to get the paint selection process wrong. There isn't a perfect paint color. If there was a color every single person loved, it would be very easy to select a home palette. Remember, you’re not trying to make every person love your space, you only need your own approval. 

If you end up hating the color, don't forget paint is easy to change. Don’t worry about taking risks. 

This article includes images from Sherwin-Williams website including Top 50 Selling Paint, Color Visualizer, Redend Point SW 9081, and Pinky Beige SW 0079. It also includes images from Kelly Wearstler's Portfolio, Johanna Gaines' Portfolio(featured in House Beautiful), Justina Blakeney's Portfolio, Corey Damen Jenkins' Portfolio, Kelly Wearstler's MasterClass, Material Bank's instagram and Chris Loves Julia's blog.

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