help! i need a site to help me choose paint colors

Reader Cassie wrote in with this question. Please leave your suggestions in comments!

“I have a horrible time picking paint colors. I’ve been to a couple of websites that offer to paint a room with a color so you can visualize the paint in a space, but these programs seem too cartoonish. I was wondering if you knew of any websites with actual photos of rooms that also give you the paint name or number. Too often I see inspiration rooms and love the color but can’t find the color at the paint store. Any suggestions?” –Cassie

Click the link to see what we managed to turn up. And be sure to offer other tips to Cassie in comments!

Hi, Cassie! I’ve been having issues finding the right paint colors myself. A quick online seplace turned up the same dilemma you had — cartoony effects. I did like that Behr’s color finder lets you put together a palette, so at least you get an idea of how the colors will look together. I like the interactive device for Martha Stewart Paint at Lowe’s better than most; the rooms look pretty realistic. In fact, another resource might be Martha Stewart’s own site (or magazines) as she sometimes features rooms painted with her own line of colors.

Personally, I had good luck by meeting directly with Authentic Home, a Seattle store that specializes in color combinations. They give customers large cards that have been actually painted so that you can take them home, tape them to the wall, and see how they look in different types of light. It seems more stores are offering sample paint sizes, so trying that on your own might be worthwhile. If you have a couch or bedspread color that you like, there’s also this little gizmo known as The Color Helper that will automatically find complementary shades from a huge programmed selection of real paint colors.

Finally, I liked your idea of a place where you can see real colors in real rooms. I seplaceed Flickr and couldn’t find a group like that. So guess what? I started one!

So now it’s your move, readers: visit What’s That Paint Color? and start adding your favorite rooms and the name/maker of the paint you used. And of course, add other suggestions in comments right here. –Mary T.

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I don’t have a website suggestion, but what about the color-matching systems that Home Depot/Lowes have? Theoretically, you could bring the magazine in, they can scan the color from the picture and mix you up a gallon or two of the same color.

My other suggestion would be to find a friend who has an eye for color to help you out. Some people just “have it” when it comes to choosing a good room color. I’ve always had a lot of luck when picking colors. My mom, not so much. She just makes me come along to the paint store these days. :D


I’m the same boat on trying to pick colors. I went to HD and Lowe’s and picked up all of the brochures and actually cut out every color swatch so I could mix them up puzzle-style. Then I taped the ones I liked to my wall.

The internet is a great resource, but with the paint companies charging you money to send you a book of swatches, I just can’t trust it. I know the colors will look dramatically different than they do on my monitor.

I’m looking through magazines and taking digital photos of anything I see that inspires me, color-wise. Then when I decide on colors, I’ll probably get it color matched like ellobie suggested.

Well, I’m biased, but we have a few slide shows on the domino site that show a room shot and link to the colors. Here they are:



scrappy girl- this is exactly what I am looking for! I don’t know how I missed it on the Domino site. Thanks.

Mary T.

Scrappy girl to the rescue! Thanks so much; this is why we love asking questions.

Hi Cassie and all others with paint needs. I work for Devine Color, a boutique paint company based in Portland Oregon. We get lots of calls from people with questions about how to choose a color online. Its almost impossible, because everyones screen puts out different colors. We have a hand-made color palette that is made with real paint, so not only are you seeing the TRUEST color (not a replicated chip), but you are also seeing the rich quality of our paint. The way that our palettes are laid out makes if very easy for the eye to select the color that is right for the room and to your eye. We have a new palette being launched shortly that is a collection of 42 colors that can be tinted to our 99% VOC-Free paint. You can check out all 3 of our color collections and paint finishes at and we have a few videos on youtube if you seplace Devine Color.

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