I always love the neutral paint colors I see on those home makeover shows and magazines but when I get to the paint store I’m overwhelmed by how many shades of beige there are. How can I choose the right neutral color for my walls?

I feel your pain! I’ve always had strong colors on my walls but lately I’ve only wanted white. But trying to find the “right” white in the paint store can take forever. Who knew there were so many different variations and shades? Don’t be fooled into thinking that neutral is easier than a bold color. Within the white, cream, beige and grey families there are hundreds of hues and shades, making the selection process overwhelming.

First, think about what you’re trying to do in the room. White can be a great backdrop for when you want a modern and bright space, or when you want other colors to really pop. Tans, browns and beiges can make white molding and trim really stand out. Greys are sophisticated and can actually help warm up or cool down a room.

Second, do a little soul searching to understand what types of neutrals you are drawn to. Don’t put a color on your wall simply because it matches your furniture or because you saw it in a magazine. Think about how you respond to the colors. Do you prefer warm tones or cool tones? Do you gravitate towards yellows or blues? Sometimes it helps to look around your home and see which colors you most often purchase or display. If you usually surround yourself with warm colors, throwing a cool grey on the wall will probably feel awkward.

Third, test out your proposed colors the right way. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director at Pantone and undisputed master of color, recommends painting a small piece of drywall that can be moved around the room. Some hardware stores sell smaller pieces or ask them to cut one for you. You can lean it against your walls, put furniture in front of it, and see how you feel about this new neutral.

Lastly, if you really love a color from your furniture or even a piece of clothing, then use technology to help you out. There are lots of different color matching apps and your local paint store may also have a tool that can match specific colors – this is perfect for when you really do want to match your paint to your fabrics.

Top image credit: Witt Construction