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My Guide to Choosing Paint Colors

I have a foolproof process for choosing paint color. In college I would get a great idea for paint color in my mind. I would go to home depot and look through their millions of paint chips and choose the paint chip that most matched the color I was thinking of. Every single time it ended up looking really crappy because they had SO MANY shades it was hard to choose the one that would really look like you wanted it to.

Until I discovered Martha Stewart Paint Colors. Martha Stewart created a fairly simple paint line with the most fabulous colors. So when you decide to paint your shelf a minty green like the one you saw in a magazine, Martha gives you four versions of “minty green” and you can choose. The four shades of minty green ALL look great. It is much easier than choosing from 35 “minty greens” at Home Depot.

I have done a billion projects all using this process and it ALWAYS works. The nearest Kmart is about an hour from here and I was making a trip there about once a month JUST for the paint chips. So at somepoint a year ago I spent 15 minutes in front of the display collecting one of every color paint chip. (It was a little embarrassing.) Then I had Kinkos punch holes into them and turn them into four mini books full of paint chips. That way I can have the Home Depot (which is only 20 minutes away) match the chip. Here is a picture of one of my books:

  1. Katie

    July 5, 2006

    That is SUCH a good idea. I love to paint and usually end up doing it once a quarter to some room. I always go in with a really good idea and end up not totally pleased with the color of my walls. I never take into account the lighting in the room very well. It’s hard.

  2. jordan

    July 5, 2006

    Its nice if you’ve had bad experiences with paint. I’m sure there are people out there who can miraculously spot the perfect shade amidst the billion other colors but I can’t. It’s like Martha and her mignions went through and hand picked and tested all the colors for ME!

  3. El

    July 6, 2006

    I was just chatting this up with my husband and I was saying how ridiculous I am for not having done that very thing (I mean the paint chip booklet). It is just TOOOOO nifty.

  4. paint color guy

    October 26, 2008

    Have you tried some paint brands from They offer some great paint colors too.. 🙂

  5. Madhavi

    June 17, 2009

    What a great idea! Those were the BEST paints – every single color was perfect. I wish I had done what you did. Now they are all gone and I'm sad.

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