SPONSORED: Choosing Paint by Design Coach Sara Eizen

This is a sponsored post from Puget Sound Energy; For more information on how to design with energy efficiency in mind, check out Re-Energized by Design.

Get those paint samples off the wall once and for all! It's time to choose colors that make the rooms in your home look and feel just right. By using the seven tips below, selecting paint colors will no longer be a daunting process.

Put it in its place: Tape paint samples on the wall so you can evaluate colors in context. The quality of color changes depending on what plane it's on (vertical vs. horizontal, not 747 vs. DC-10), so don't let how it looks lying on a table seal the deal. Make sure you test it against a white background. Use a white wall or painted piece of cardboard to keep the existing wall color from influencing your opinion of the sample.

Super-size your chips: Just like your favorite Super Bowl snack, bigger is better when it comes to paint chips. Larger chips give you a more accurate sense of how the color will work in your room. Most stores and paint brands have large chips - just ask at the counter.

Give it some time: Live with paint samples for at least a week before making the big decision. Be sure to look at color samples throughout the day to gauge how different patterns of light (both natural and artificial) affect the color. This will also let you see how you react to the color as your mood and energy levels shift.

Take it on a tour: Hold a color swatch in your hand and walk slowly around the room. Since light hits each wall differently, observe how the color changes as you move from wall to wall. Is it elegant near the armoire but a real downer with the duvet? Be sure to check out corners and hallways, too.

Mix it up: As much as it may go against your sensible upbringing, you can do this. You can paint one wall (or even the ceiling) a different color than the rest. Intense colors add energy to a room, so consider something bold yet tasteful. Accent walls can even be a variation on the color of the rest of the room - just go a few shades darker or lighter to get the right balance.

Think outside the swatch: All greens are not created equal. Neither are all yellows, blues, and reds. Look at several variations of the same color on the wall all at once and then again one at a time. While they might look similar at first, just a wee extra tint of this or that shade can make all the difference. Sometimes process of elimination is the only way to find "the one."

Take in the big picture: Set out swatches of all your color finalists. Now consider the rest of your home. An effective color palette will allow an easy and pleasant transition as you move from room to room.

Sara Eizen is the Reilly family's Design Coach and provides expert interior design and home organization through her company, Nest. You can keep up with her latest design tips on her blog.

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