How to Choose the Perfect Color - The Great Room

How to Choose the Perfect Color

You’ve read up on color psychology.  You’ve put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and a slipcover on the sofa. You’ve thought over whether you’re a neutrals or color kind of person. You have decided which KIND of treatment you want. And then you get online to buy your shades and you freeze. There are just so MANY colors to choose from! And going neutral doesn’t solve the problem- there’s more shades of white than you ever thought possible!

Take a deep breath. You don’t have to use “eenie-meenie-minie-moe” to pick your color (in fact, I strongly recommend against this method and similar ones such as “well, it says it’s white, so…”). The first step is to order samples. This is always worth the delay, because computer screens do not represent fabric qualities or colors accurately. Since you are typically limited on how many free samples you can get at once, and manufacturers update their available colors annually to keep up with decorating trends, it’s a good idea to order your samples one room at a time. For instance, if you’re planning on doing the windows in the nursery first and then the windows in your master bedroom, wait on the samples for the master bedroom until you’re almost ready to order those shades. This will also insure that you will have more samples to choose from for every room.

When ordering your samples, don’t just stick with neutrals- pick a couple of colors that show up in more permanent room décor features (a favorite lamp or throw, for instance). Also try ordering one color in both a room darkening and light filtering fabric. This is key because different fabrics will take dyes differently, so a Terra Cotta color may be lighter, darker or more red based on the fabric. Having too many choices at hand can be a little overwhelming and turn a fun exercise in decorating into a battle against self-doubt.

When your samples arrive, take them to the room you’re going to put the final product in. Use masking tape to attach them to the wall (with cellulars, you’ll need to attach them so you can see how the cells spread out and how that spread affects the color) next to the window, and take a step back. Do any colors look dirty next to the wall paint? Is the match so exact that the color isn’t interesting or appealing? Come back at several different times of day to see how different light affects the sample, and then discard any samples that don’t work with your paint. Next, tape the remaining samples to the window and repeat the process above. Finally, hold the color against any major features in the room- furniture, upholstery, and carpet.

In the end, you may have two or three choices you really like. Call in a second opinion if you can’t decide. This second opinion should be someone else who uses the room a lot. Talk about the purpose of the room- if it’s a teenager’s room, for instance, it should be a color they like but not something you will want to tear down as soon as they move out. If you change your décor frequently, choose a brown or neutral color so that you don’t need to order new shades as frequently.

The most important thing is to choose a color you will love to look at every day. With a little patience and a sense of fun, choosing the perfect color can be the best part of shopping for window treatments.

1 Comment

  1. Evelyn Goettner says:

    Thanks for the tips! Love that blue!

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About the Author: Alicia Graham

Alicia Graham is the Product Manager for She is also an experienced set designer and interior painter, with a broad knowledge of painting techniques that ranges from faux painting to alternate tools that save time and headaches. She is dedicated to making the imagination work in step with the budget and turning hobbyists into artists. Alicia Graham believes that anyone can be an artist in their home with a little help and information.