15 Common Mistakes You Might Be Making When Choosing Paint Colors

Choosing the right paint for your home is tough. Check out these common mistakes when choosing paint colors and ways to avoid them.

15 Common Mistakes You Might Be Making When Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home, Paint swatches on bed

We probably have all been guilty of at least some of these painting mistakes when picking paint colors for our home.

I know that I have made quite a few of them in the past.

Hopefully being aware of them will help you avoid them on your future painting projects.

Common Mistakes When Choosing Paint Colors

Mistake #1: Painting Each Room A Different Color

This is a mistake I have made before and I still tend to struggle with this. I may have been guilty of doing this in my first home. 🥴There are so many pretty colors out there. I just want to paint them all into my house.

However, this may not be the best design choice for your home. Even if those colors compliment each other, having too many wall colors can make your home feel overwhelming.

Instead, use your accessories to create a variety of color in your home and keep your wall colors to 4-5 complimentary colors.

Mistake #2: Painting Everything the Same

On the flip side don’t fall into the trap of painting everything the same. Color differences don’t have to be extravagant, but even subtle changes of color in your home can make a huge statement.

Experimenting with painting color on an accent wall or even a ceiling can give a room a beautiful design statement.

Change the feel of a room by adding texture with a stencil, wall paper, or shiplap.

Pick a room to add a dramatic statement by painting all of the walls a darker accent color that compliments the color scheme of your home.

Mistake #3: Not Thinking About the Home as a Whole

When you are designing a home, you want each room to feel like it belongs. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use more than one color throughout your home. Just be aware of creating a coordinated feeling in each space.

Pay close attention to the rooms that are connected. There should be a color flow to them. This can be achieved through wall color and accessories. (ex. Placing a decorative pillow on a chair in the living room that matches the blue walls in the dinning room, etc.)

Finding the right balance between too many colors and not enough takes a little work and planning, but you will be so happy with the results if you spend time considering your overall design.

Paint swatches and brush

Mistake #4: Not Figuring Out Your Room’s Mood

What mood are you trying to create in your home? Do you want a more restful atmosphere? Stick with blues, greys, and mellow tones.

Do you want a more vibrant space? Look for warmer tones and bright colors.

Knowing the feel you want your room to have can help you pick the best paint color for your design.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Natural Light

Paint looks completely different in different lighting. Paint stores don’t make it any easier to pick out the best color with their florescent harsh lights.

One way to test the lighting is to take paint swatches home and stick them on the walls. However, determining the best color for your space may not be practical when you are only considering a tiny square on a paint swatch.

If you are struggling with finding a good paint color and you can afford to, the best course of action is to buy sample cans of the colors you are considering and paint them on your walls to see how they look in the various lighting. Or paint them on boards that you can move around your room to get a feel for the color in the space.

Mistake #6: Not Keeping In Mind the Underlying Hues of Your Trim, Flooring, and Doors.

Did you know that you have to consider the wood in your home when you are choosing your paint? Also, any vinyl flooring, tile, doors, etc.?

All of these elements work together to create the colors of your space.

The wood in your home has an underlying color or hue that can clash with your paint. For example, when we remodeled our master bathroom and bedroom, I used a grey with a brownish undertone because it matched the grayish brown elements in our flooring and tile shower.

On the left is the grey we chose. The sample on the right would have clashed with the grey in our tile.

Showing the example of two gray color swatches with different hues. One of the common mistakes when choosing paint colors is choosing the wrong undertone.

Mistake #7: Importance of Paint Finishes

Using the correct paint finish is so important when you are choosing your paint.

Flat paint is best for ceilings or rooms that are not high traffic areas.

Satin has a small amount of gloss and can be lightly wiped down. It is good for most rooms.

We use semi-gloss in rooms with high moisture or mess, like the bathroom or kitchen.

Use gloss for trim and doors.

Mistake #8: Painting with No Decor in Mind

You might have found the perfect color for your living room, but if your couch and area rug clash with it, you will have to start over from square one.

Planning your wall colors around your furniture, rugs, curtains and accessories is an important part of picking a good paint color.

One of the best ways to plan a room is by creating a mood board. Compile all of the elements you plan on putting into the space (rugs, furniture, paintings, decor, etc.) and put them together (either digitally or on a true piece of paper). Decide on a paint color based off of the key elements and colors in the room.

Mistake #9: Painting Each Room Too Bright

Anyone else make this mistake before? I have done this on more than one occasion.

For example, the first time I chose paint for our nursery I found 3 colors that I thought worked well together. They were bright, cheery and perfect. Then I painted them on the wall! That wall was bright, alright. It nearly knocked your socks off when you entered the room!

I have learned that instead of choosing bright hues for your walls, try to find the same color mixed with a little grey. This will tone down your walls, but still give you the desired feel. Save the bright colors for accessories and accents.

Blue painted walls and white trim

(This is the bedroom after I fixed the paint color. It still was bright, but not nearly as in-your-face as the original color.)

Mistake #10: Painting Your Rooms Too Dark

Ok.

I’m kind of a sucker for moody, dark rooms. I think they are cozy at night with the soft glow of the lights shining on them.

However, I’m beginning to realize that painting every room a dark color can give your house a somewhat depressing, dark and closed in feeling. Try to balance out the darker colors with lighter wall choices.

Mistake #11: Not Keeping Up with Trends

Trends change.

I know. It’s a shocker, right?

What was cool 20 years ago, looks dated now.

Don’t get stuck on the same color scheme, just because it was popular back in the day. Take the time to rethink your color choices and combinations.

If you are open to trying new things, you may find a new favorite color.

Mistake #12: Being Too Trendy

On the flip side, be careful of being too trendy.

Trends come and go so quickly. It’s a good idea to not invest too much money and time into something that will only be in style for a short period of time.

The good thing about paint is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to change the color. However, consider the trend and the permanence of the design. (Anyone ever have to deal with removing paint from old hardwood trim before?!!! And don’t get me started on the ‘paneling every wall’ trend or ‘adding wall paper to ceilings’ trend!)

Mistake #13: Getting Stuck Following All of the Rules

There are a lot of opinions out there on how to make things look good. I know some of the mistakes for choosing paint colors that I have listed are not hard and fast rules. The type of home you have (Victorian, Craftsman, etc.) may allow you to bend and change some of these color suggestions based off of the era of your home.

So don’t get caught following all of the advice without ever trying something new and fun.

How do you think trends start?

Someone takes a leap of faith to go against the normal traditional design ideas and it catches.

If you enjoy being adventurous with your design, give it a try. Just realize you may have to re-do a few things if your new idea doesn’t turn out quite like you imagined.

Mistake #14: Keeping Paint On the Walls that You Don’t Love

Please don’t do this.

I know it takes a little work to paint your walls, but it is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to transform a space.

Leaving paint on the walls that you hate is the perfect way to hate your home. It really doesn’t take that much effort to make a big impact in how you feel about the space you live in.

Mistake #15: The most tragic of mistakes when choosing paint colors: Not choosing at all!

This is another mistake I see so often.

Getting trapped in the planning mode.

If you find yourself with tons of paint swatches plastered on your walls for months because you can’t take that leap and pick a color, you might fall into this category.

Don’t be afraid of making the ‘wrong’ choice. Paint is not permanent and can easily be changed.

Choosing Paint Colors You Love

If you have made some of these mistakes when choosing paint colors for your home and need some help before you start your next project, I have created a guide to get you started.

This guide is free to my newsletter subscribers and is available in my free resource library.

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Need to keep these mistakes choosing paint colors in mind for your next project? Save this to your favorite DIY Pinterest board.

15 Mistakes you could be making when choosing paint colors for your home.
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12 thoughts on “15 Common Mistakes You Might Be Making When Choosing Paint Colors”

    • Me too…most of the time! Lol! It is so important to find that balance so your home feels like a place of rest while still showing your personality and adding character.

      Reply
  1. Thanks for all the tips! I have one bedroom painted red and another painted lime green with orange trim (yes, you read that correctly!). These are left from my kids’ high school days. They are way past high school. It’s time for me to get on this!

    Reply
    • Lol! My kids are just starting to get to the age where they will want to decorate their rooms. I’m trying to encourage them to find color through accessories rather than paint. Good luck on your next painting adventures. 🙂

      Reply
    • Good luck on the home painting! Freshening up paint is always a great way to make a space feel new again. I’m so glad that you found the post helpful.

      Reply
  2. This is perfect timing for me! We bought our house in January and have been fixing it up. We are almost ready for painting. I will keep this article handy when I go to choose colors. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. lol, I can recognize a few mistakes here that I have made before. I still remember my poor dad painting my whole room a bright yellow I chose when I was in highschool, only to realize I just can NOT relax at night with that color. He ended up repainting it that same week, lol. These days I take my color choice very caefeuly, these are such great tips to remember.

    Reply

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