I am an addict to paint and painting. Paint is the cheapest, easiest, and most effective way to completely change the look of a room. I have been painting and picking paint colors for years. In these years I have made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot. So before you make mistakes (and if you do that is ok, you can always repaint!) let me give you some painting tips.
Picking Paint Color and Paint Quality
1. What color do you want and in what room? It is easiest to pick a color that matches a swatch a fabric you like, a picture you like, or even a place you love to spend your time. Pick a color that is personal to your style and the feel you want.
CAUTION: At paint stores they have "Color Match" technology, so they can get the paint color right off of your fabric or picture. I have done this a couple times and it NEVER looks the same! I have never done it since.
First pick the color AT HOME with your book of swatches. I used to drag my 3 little ones to the paint store and hurry and grab samples as they were terrorizing the store and using the rollers as weapons. I grabbed a color, bought the gallon, and came home and HATED IT! After this the dude at Sherwin Williams handed me a free book with a smile :)
**Are you a "cool" color person, or a "warm" color person. I am both. I love feeling all warm and snugly in my living areas while curling up to watch a show (yellows, browns, tans). I also love that warm feeling I get in my DARK red kitchen while baking cookies.
I crave cool colors (blues, greens, creams) in my bathrooms, bedrooms, Laundry room and office areas. Places you need to feel calm, like you are sitting by a lake. But again, anything goes!**
TEST TEST TEST!!! My #1 rule before you paint is TEST! Spend the extra $2 to get a sample. Paint it in different areas of the room so it gets different lighting. Spend the next week looking at it. You will find that you most likely WON'T like it. It is worth it to spend $20 extra on samples instead of painting a whole room then sobbing and crying after because it looks like puke (yes, this has happened to me).
Pick your colors for the colors, NOT the brand of paint! Just because you love Ralph Lauren's clothing doesn't mean you have to love his paint colors (besides, those are expensive). I have a thing for Behr Paint, it is way affordable and good quality, but a lot of the time I don't like their color options.
But what if you are just a nerd at picking paint colors (like I am at times) and frustrated and want to be DONE and move on? Google the "most popular paint colors 20??" and be a copy cat (I am a HUGE fan of being a copy cat).
Popular Colors 2009:
If you pick a lower quality paint (like the $25 can at Sherwin Williams) you WILL have to paint 2-3 coats. I did this in my Laundry room and the amount of work tripled to finish it! I was so bitter.
However, for our Blonde paint throughout our home we spent the big bucks ($50/can) and it was well worth it. It covered the first coat beautifully!
I have noticed that Behr paint (the $25 can) is GREAT and usually does cover in 1-2 coats.
In any case, if you are just unlucky with picking colors, go to someone else's home that you LOVE and copy there's! I have to admit I do this all the time. I literally ask them for the paint color and brand. I have done this with hardwood floors and many other things. You can never go wrong copying what you see in front of you, and knowing that it works!
Also, if you are a Pottery Barn lover, Benjamin Moore carries all the Pottery Barn colors!