HomeTips & IdeasDecorating Ideas and How To's6 Tips: How to Choose Paint Colours When You’re An Overthinker

6 Tips: How to Choose Paint Colours When You’re An Overthinker

Posted on July 24, 2022 by KylieMawdsley

TIPS ON PICKING PAINT COLOURS WHEN YOU HAVE ANXIETY (or overthink)

I’m obsessed with paint colours. Throw in a bit of decorating and design and I’m one HAPPY lil Ginger. HOWEVER, as many of you who subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram know, I have anxiety. This means that when all of the above are combined, you have someone who can give you first-hand KNOWLEDGEABLE advice on how to pick paint colours when you have anxiety OR are an overthinker.

And let me just say, being in the Design world, whether choosing paint colours, decorating or just living everyday life, is a CHALLENGE when you have anxiety.

Why?

I absolutely AGONIZE over my own home. My anxiety doesn’t just take a front seat; it hijacks the friggin’ car and starts running over curbs and innocent pedestrians while making a quick stop at the liquor store for a six-pack and a box o’ wine.

Bathroom, navy blue vanity similar Benjamin Hale Navy, beige, white blue hexagon tile backsplash. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, white quartz countertop, Egret White Sherwin Williams walls (2)

This being said, I’m doing a pretty bang-up job of managing it and want to share some paint tips with you today; tips that UNFORTUNATELY don’t include two bottles of wine and a tranquilizer dart (we’ll save those for another day).

HOW TO CHOOSE PAINT COLOURS WHEN YOU HAVE ANXIETY

While I can help YOU choose paint colours with a wink and a smile (because I don’t get EMOTIONAL about it and am confident in my knowledge), I know first-hand how HARD it is to choose paint colours for your own home.

Why is it so hard?

Well, if you’re like me, you might have…

  • a tendency to overthink which causes you to doubt yourself
  • a habit of asking OTHERS for their opinion which only adds to the muddle
  • ALL the feels (emotions that we have in abundance)
  • difficulty making a big decision as it relates to our home

Kitchen with built-in eating bench in nook, cabinets painted Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, warm greige taupe paint color, Pure White walls. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Luckily, I’ve learned a few key tricks that will make your paint-picking journey a bit less painful…

How to choose or pick the best paint colours when you overthink, have anxiety, OCD Kylie M

1. DON’T ASK FRIENDS FOR THEIR OPINIONS

We know what they say about opinions; they’re just like…well, let’s just say that ‘everybody has one‘. The more opinions you get, the harder it can be to make a decision. And MOST opinions are swayed by personal tastes and perceptions – not actual knowledge.

Benjamin Moore Pale Oak in bathrom with pink tub and tile with pink unhdeertones, maple warm hue cabinets. Kylie M Interiors Edesign CLIENT PHOTO before painted vanity

If your friend doesn’t like pink, they might not tell you that Pale Oak is the best colour for your room, even if it is.

Just like the great Britney Spears says, let’s hit that baby one more time…

MOST opinions are swayed by personal tastes and perceptions – not actual knowledge.

Choose one or two key people to throw your ideas at, but choose the people who you feel will have you and your home’s best interest at heart.

2. TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF THE EQUATION

Sometimes we get so caught up in what WE want to see that we forget to listen to our home. And when choosing paint colours, the needs of your home are pretty darn important. If you like bright whites and your home prefers off-whites, things could get a little fugly if you only cater to yourself. And let me tell you, NOTHING will cause you more anxiety than realizing you didn’t listen to your home and you painted it the wrong colour.

Black granite countertops, painted cabinets, Sherwin Williams Alabaster walls, coganc leather bar stools. Client photo, Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Damn, do my clients ever have good taste – love this kitchen! 

By the way, choosing the wrong colour HAPPENS; that’s life. HOWEVER, there are some ways to reduce the chance of this happening (other than hiring me, wink wink).

The 5 Types of White Paint Colours

3. PAY ATTENTION TO THE HIERARCHY

I’m not talking about Prince Andrew (although he’s not hard to pay attention to and Megan’s a total babe); I’m talking about the hierarchy when choosing paint colours (in very particular order)…

  1. The needs of your home’s interior finishes (ie. does your countertop better suit beige or gray?)
  2. An existing colour palette in nearby rooms
  3. Your room’s exposure
  4. You

Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray cabinet warm gray greige taupe colour. White greige quartz countertop and backsplash tile. Kylie M

No matter how much a homeowner might love blue or violet hues, this backsplash and countertop TOTALLY DISAGREE! 

While this hierarchy can shift depending on the situation (especially #3 and #4), considering your HOME FIRST is a great way to take some of the EMOTION out and add some LOGIC in. I find my brain spins TEN TIMES SLOWER when I take my heart out of it and put my head back in.

This is one reason why I’m so good at my job in helping YOU (and I’m modest, too) – the emotions aren’t there (I mean, I love y’all, but you know what I mean). I can look at your space unemotionally, take my knowledge (which you can also find in my hundreds of blog posts) and apply it to what best suits your home. At the end of the day, I never want to ignore my client’s personal tastes, but often there’s a GREAT happy medium between what they WANT and what their home NEEDS.

5 Reasons You Keep Picking the Wrong Paint Colours

In this next photo, even if the homeowner doesn’t love violet-pink hues, the space is telling them otherwise…

Agreeable Gray and its undertones, room with wood floor, brick. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

The result is that Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, which is a GREAT COLOUR for some spaces, actually clashes with the NEEDS of the finishes.

Of course, there are those who would rather choose a colour they LOVE; even if it looks disconnected from the finishes in their home – you do you, boo (insert Kylie crying and twitching in a corner HERE). Really though, the end goal is to be HAPPY in your space, whatever ‘happy’ looks like to you.

Stop fighting your home and start LISTENING to it. 

4. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU START LOOKING AT PAINT COLOUR SWATCHES

Now that you’ve taken some of the emotion away, you’ll be paying less attention to YOURSELF and more attention to your HOME. Trust ye ole Ginger, doing it this way makes it much easier to step back and view your space with more curiosity.

In your curiosity, you’re going to try to figure out what your home’s interior finishes are REALLY asking for. This will lead you to the types of colours you can be LOOKING for. Once you know what to look for, it’s easier to do your RESEARCH, using my blog as a great reference (the SEARCH function is awesome with 450+ articles. Seriously, type in any word and see where it takes you…except the word ‘nudes’, that’s a WHOLE different blog).

Benjamin Moore Colony Green, best green paint colour, popular. Kylie M INteriors Edesign with green countertop

This homeowner did a GREAT job of listening to their countertop…and me (Benjamin Moore Colony Green)

5. TAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF – YOU’RE NOT AN EXPERT

If you were a paint colour expert, choosing paint colours would be easy for you. But you’re not and it doesn’t HAVE to come easy to you (you’re only LUCKY or skilled if it does). While I might be able to fill my car’s tire with air, I sure as heck can’t change the tire – I’m not a mechanic. I can cook a mean Kraft Dinner, but don’t ask me for chicken and potatoes – I AIN’T NO CHEF (if you want to learn more: ‘Mom, What’s That Smell? Cooking with Kylie‘).

Take a deep breath and if all else fails, hire someone to help, either myself or a local expert and let yourself off the hook. Remember, you’re not saving lives here; you’re just picking a paint colour.

family room before, brick fireplace

Family or living room, dark wood floor, pink or red brick fireplace. Walls Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, White dove, home decor. Kylie M Edesign, diy online paint color consultant

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

6. A FEW MORE HELPFUL DETAILS

Of course, it will finally come down to actually PICKING the paint colour that HOPEFULLY, both you and your home can agree on…

  • ALWAYS surround your sample with white paper. Your existing paint colour WILL skew your perception of your samples. The only side that shouldn’t have white paper next to it is the side that buts up to your cabinet/trim.

Benjamin Moore Silver Chain paint sample, dark wood flooring, white wainscioting, popular gray paint colours. Kylie M Interiors diy home design ideas

  • Once you know you don’t like a sample – GET RID OF IT. I don’t care if you recycle it, throw it in a box for later or light it on fire singing ‘I Hate Everything About You’ by Three Days Grace – PURGE THE DEMONS and move along.
  • Come heck or high water, narrow it down to your FAVE TWO OR THREE before you start asking for the limited opinions I suggest you get.
  • If things seem OFF, shift your undertones. If the colours look too gray/cool, try some warmer ones. If they look too warm, try something in the middle. Remember, this isn’t ‘do YOU find it too cool?‘ it’s ‘do your INTERIOR FINISHES find it too cool?‘.
  • Look at your samples throughout the day. Heck, buy a quart of paint and paint an important section of the wall – a section that will really give you a feel for how things work. And don’t let that first coat scare you; the first coat is ALWAYS the worst as it’s being directly compared to what’s currently on your walls.

Committing to painting ONE WALL/section that butts up DIRECTLY with the finishes you’re trying to coordinate is a great way to get the decision ball rolling. 

Worst-case scenario? You hate it, buy another quart of paint and go at it again. BEST case? You made a great choice.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray (Baby Fawn) stone fireplace. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, client photo

So there you have it. While you might not implement ALL of the above tips, hopefully, you picked up a few tidbits to help you along your way. And remember…BREATHE (meditation and Mojitos help as well).

Chat soon, Kylie M Interiors Edesign, signature, online paint colour consultant using Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colours. DIY update advice ideas

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consultant

NEED HELP? 

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Comments

  1. Oh my word did I ever need to read this! We are picking paint colors for our forever home before we move in and it’s so hard! It was built in 2009 and is a well done Tuscan inspired home with an open floor plan. It has gorgeous high end oak woodwork, and I am on the struggle bus! Our current home is mostly White Dove and Sea Salt and totally my jam! I can use both calm and coastal colors and pull in fresh color too. My designer is not recommending the all white look in the new home, however, even though we are redoing the warmest surfaces (and taking down gorgeous wood plantation shutters). She is recommending a neutral like City Loft or Gray Mist so there is contrast with the painted white trim. The prob is I have a hard time with all neutrals and the the idea of the putty look over the whole space is making me twitch (and lose sleep). I have been reading your posts frantically searching for an answer to my paint color conundrum! I’ll admit I have seen some gorgeous photos of Gray Mist with Dove Wing though! I was conjuring up a muted, French palette vibe when my husband said, what about the SW Sea Serpant color for the island 😊!? I’m a boy mom and we all love blues! We’ll see what the space says it needs! Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge! Cheers!

    1. Post
      Author

      Sooooo, I haven’t seen your home, BUT being a white lover myself, if there were one white I would consider with the Tuscan style for EVERYWHERE, it would be Cloud White. YES, it’s likely a touch more yellow than your main finishes, but being so light, you’re given some good forgiveness.

      Short of this, Moderate White (WAY prettier in real-life than Pinterest, it’s pretty fugly on Pinterest) is often a GREAT CHOICE. I wouldn’t do Gray Mist – no how no way, it will clash with travertine. City Loft is lovely – compare it to Egret White and see if you prefer one over the other.

      I know what it’s like to HAVE a personal style and crave it. If I thought Cloud White were a hard-no, I’d tell you, but I think it’s worth exploring :).

  2. Great post, thanks for putting color choices in perspective….Noone will die if it’s not right….Anxiety can be paralyzing for overthinkers.

    1. Post
      Author

      It really can be! I’ve made myself hyperventilate (proud moment ;). Sometimes it’s just taking that step back and a VERY deep breath.

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