Does the idea of picking a paint color chip you off? Painting interior walls is an easy way to dramatically change the look and feel of a room, but picking the right paint color can be a daunting task. I have painted a lot of rooms over the years and have honed my picking process to arrive at the perfect-for-you hue. My most recent project took a room all the way from Tangerine Zing to Pale Oak. Come along on this colorful journey with me.

Step 1. Go Online

Where to begin? I started at the Benjamin Moore website and picked a handful of color options. I had a beach theme in mind so I concentrated on that end of the spectrum. I chose 5 color contenders: frosted café, pale oak, seashell, oyster and cream froth. I prefer to look at colors online because the store displays under the fluorescent lights are overwhelming. Plus, I like that I can virtually paint a room online.

Step 2. Go Local

I went to my local ACE Hardware store and picked up the old fashioned paper swatch samples for my color contenders and brought them home. I cut out the frosted café, pale oak, seashell, oyster and cream froth squares and taped them to a wall to see how they looked with my lighting and home décor. It is easy to eliminate a few colors this way because, much like in life, the reality of some selections are all wrong once you get them home. So just like that, frosted café, oyster and cream froth were no longer in the running.

Step 3. Go Back Online

I headed back online to further investigate my top 2 picks. I found rooms painted in pale oak and seashell on and, and an apartment therapy editor’s recommendation for pale oak.

Seeing is believing so I made my choice of pale oak.

Step 4. Let the Painting Begin!

Oh, happy days are here, especially since there are now several brands offering paint with primer built in. I used to prime…watch prime dry…paint…watch paint dry… One coat of pale oak with primer built in, and my room was transformed from tangerine to a beach dream. The only prime and paint 2-step I do these days is on my nails!

The Before

Tangerine Walls - The Before Picture

The After

Given all the color choices out there, just remember the simple selection process of 5 -2 -1: pick five contenders, narrow it down to two finalists, and soon you will have one beautiful room. Happy painting and here’s hoping you are never chipped off again.