What I Learned From Building a House Part 1: Paint

As many of you know we built our dream home a little over two years ago.  My husband is a home builder and has built several homes but this was the first time I had ever been involved in the process.  While it was a lot of fun, it can be a little overwhelming.  I thought I'd share with you some things I learned along the way.  Whether you are building or remodeling hopefully this will come in handy!

I'm sure there are certain "rules" to follow when designing your home, but I am not a formally trained designer, its just what I love to do!  These are things that worked for us. 

I could write a whole book on choosing paint colors so lets start there!

First thing, before you do anything else-buy a THREE RING BINDER! 

Choosing a paint color

This will be where you will keep all of your brochures, paint chips, notes, magazine articles, etc. etc.  It will help keep things more organized and easier to keep track of. 

Get some clear pocket dividers for the inside.

Choosing a Paint color

I divided mine up by rooms.  Then I put my paint chips in the corresponding folder.  So easy to flip to!

Now, how do you pick a color out of a bajillion choices?  Ask yourself some questions.  You can put these in your folder too.

Are you drawn to warm colors, cool colors, bright colors, muted neutrals?  I knew I wanted greige for our main living area.  I wanted grey but a warm grey, and light, not dark.  In comes Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams.  It is my most perfect neutral. 

I spent hours upon hours on Pinterest searching for examples of paint colors in rooms.  Keep in mind the computer does not always represent the color exactly though.  My sister uses Houzz a lot.  You may like that.  Our company uses Sherwin Williams paint so that narrowed it down some for me. 

Probably THE most important thing to do when choosing a paint color is to try it out at your location.  The exact place the paint will be.  Don't try your bedroom paint out in your living room.  I'm telling you it will not look the same.  I chose three shades I liked and bought samples and painted on the actual walls.  Yes, they are expensive and you will have a lot left over, but totally worth it.  You can also paint a large piece of poster board and take it to your location if your walls aren't ready for paint.


I painted my samples near a window but not directly across from one.  Too much light can wash out the color.  Some people also take a lamp and try it out with artificial light.  You'd be amazed how much it can change.


Take pictures, ask friends, but keep in mind you are the one who will be living with it. 

The next big paint decision was trim.  In my case that was also going to be my cabinet color.  I think whites might be even more difficult to choose than greys!  I did not want a stark white but not too creamy either.  Ultimately I chose Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.  and I proceeded to put it everywhere!  It is an awesome white.  Not too cold but not too warm. 


If you are painting your exterior, take your paint outside.  Colors look totally different outdoors.  I tried to use our exterior color inside-yuck.  It looked so much darker.

This was our house partially painted.  The color is Natural Choice by Sherwin Williams.  Another pretty off-white.

Exterior Paint Color

Oh, I almost forgot about sheen.  Flat, eggshell, etc.  Ask your painter.  If you are painting it yourself, ask the salesperson at the paint store.  There are a lot of choices these days.  There will be one best for you. 

When it comes to choosing paint for your home, the bottom line is get something you LOVE!  Something that when you come home, you feel refreshed and happy. 

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them!  Also, if you have any tips to add, feel free to leave me a comment!