It's troublesome enough to decide on a color of wall paint, what with the sea of options available in any paint store and the semi-permanence of the decision. The added complication, of course, is that you can't just like it under the fluorescent lights of the paint store—you'll need to like it on the walls of your home.
Traditional advice tells us to try a few out: Paint pizza-sized splashes of a few colors on the wall next to each other, step back and live with them for a few days, and then pick. But what this strategy fails to take into account is... well, everything. The better way to make an informed paint decision—and end up with one you love? Paint your samples on a piece of poster board, then move it around.
Because the way a paint color appears is affected by height of your ceiling, the orientation of your walls and windows, the warmth (or coolness) of your light bulbs, and the colors of your decorations—and because every part of the room will cast that color differently—you don't want the splashes to be static, swatched in one stationary corner.
I got the tip from a salesperson at Farrow & Ball (of the three paints pictured above, two were from their shop). Initially, I loved the middle green—until I saw it backlit (which it would be, right by the window) and realized that it skewed muddy rather than bright and clean. The blue-ish green, on the other hand, has some personality in the shadows, too.
As we unpacked boxes, my boyfriend moved it from wall to wall, corner to corner; we changed our minds until it was clear that one was winning more often than the others. The added bonus, now that we're gearing up to actually paint this room, is that there aren't any splashes of color we'll need to paint over on the walls.
That and the fact that I'm actually growing kind of fond of this trio of splashes—maybe I'll frame them to hang in another room?
What color would you love to paint your walls, but aren't sure you're brave enough? Inspire yourself in the comments!