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The Dilemma of Choosing Paint Colors


If you’re buying a new home, you’re probably planning on painting almost every room in your new house because you want to make it your own. But if you’ve never done this before, you will soon find out that it’s much harder than you think. If you have painted before, and made  a big mistake ending up with a color you hate, you’re probably gun-shy now and afraid to make another mistake. If you’re planning to sell your house, your realtor probably told you that you need to neutralize your house and paint a few rooms. But which colors should you choose? How do you know which colors your potential buyers may like? If you’re renovating, you probably have over a dozen paint samples up on your walls and hate all of them, but you can’t figure out why. If you’re planning to paint the exterior of your house this Spring, you may be thinking about what colors you may want, but you don’t want to make a really expensive mistake, and if you do, everyone who drives by will be talking about that awful color you picked! Trying to choose paint colors for your house is daunting task, and most people enjoy it about as much as having a root canal done.

Before I became a realtor, I worked in a paint store for over ten years as their in-store Interior Designer and Color Consultant. I can’t tell you how many times customers came into the store and when they entered the color department they took one look at the over 3,500 color choices and I would hear a giant “sigh”. They came in looking for a simple shade of beige, only to realize that there were way too many choices and they quickly became overwhelmed.  Having a color specialist there to break down the color selection process and eliminate 3,498 colors that won’t work was a huge help and they were very relieved! During my time there I earned many nicknames such as “The Paint Whisperer” “The Paint Doctor” “The Paint Guru” and “The Paint Wizard” in addition to “The Paint Diva”, (which I used for my website) because  I helped to make choosing colors effortless and easy. You see, I began as a mural artist and faux finisher, and my eye is trained to see color. After doing that for 10 years,  I looked at and matched Benjamin Moore colors all day, every day, for the next  ten years. The average person only paints about every 8 years or so. What I learned over that twenty years was, most people cannot do what I do. They have a lot of trouble seeing the subtle differences in the colors, and trouble visualizing their rooms in the color choices they were choosing.  It was my job to help them do this. So if you’re having trouble, don’t worry, you’re not alone. 90% of the population is just like you!

For homeowners, their home is usually their biggest investment. Keeping it up to date is the smartest thing you can do to keep up its value. When you put your house on the market, potential buyers are looking for “move in ready”, so the more updated it is, the quicker it will sell, and for a better price. People always want to know which update gives them the best ROA, “Return On Investment”. The thing I love about paint is that it gives you the biggest bang for your buck. By simply changing the paint colors in your rooms you can give it a whole new look.

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One of the hottest design trends right now is gray painted walls. I have a love/hate relationship with gray. I love how it looks, but it’s the hardest color to choose.  Cool, silver grays can turn blue, or purple. Warm beigey grays can turn green, and taupe, a.k.a. “grege”  colors can turn pink. This is due to a couple of reasons. For one, it depends on what color it’s next to. If you’re trying to sample gray on top of your old color, like a yellowy-beige, then it’s going to make that silver gray look blue. Another issue is lighting. Your light bulbs can make gray look pink, or yellow lighting can make it look too beige. Even for me, when I was in the paint store, I could only make an educated guess and make suggestions as to which colors would work in customer’s homes.  The color that even I thought was “The Perfect Gray” turned out to turn blue in one client’s house, and green in another. When I do in-home consultations, it’s much easier for me because I can see how the colors look in the actual lighting, and can take into consideration their cabinets, tile, furniture etc. and make a much more accurate assessment. But the bottom line is, there really is no perfect gray. They look different in everyone’s house. That color that you saw at your friend’s house, or at The Mansion In May, that you fell in love with, will look completely different in your house.

I no longer work in the paint store, but I’m very busy doing private in-home color consultations, and as a realtor, the Spring market is gearing up and my office is busy as we are all helping homeowners prepare their homes to go on the market.  During the month of March I will be doing a series of free seminars at local libraries where we will talk about the latest design trends, how to prepare your house to go on the market, and  choosing paint colors, including choosing gray colors. All are welcome. If you are planning to buy or sell your house, or are planning to do some updates, you’ll need to figure out choosing paint colors. Come out to one of my seminars and let’s talk about it. Seminars are free and open to the public, however seating is limited. To reserve your seat, email me at

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday March 2, 7:00 pm- Bernards Township Library, 32 S. Maple Ave, Basking Ridge  

Sunday March 5, 2:00 pm- Long Hill Township Library, 917 Valley Rd., Gillette

Thursday March 9, 7:00 pm- New Providence Library, 377 Elkwood Ave., in the Conti Room

Sunday March 12, 2:00 pm- Madison Library, Helen Whitney Chase Auditorium

Wednesday March 15, 7:00 pm- Berkeley Heights Library, Meeting room in basement

Sunday March 26, 2:00 pm- Summit Free Public Library, Hickok Meeting Room

Monday April 3, 7:30 pm- Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Ave.


Cindy is a licensed Realtor/ Sales Associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. She is also a decorating and staging consultant and paint color specialist known as “The Paint Diva”. She was featured on Benjamin Moore’s website as one of their color experts, and hosted her own cable TV show “A Taste For Design”.

To learn more about The Paint Diva, visit her websites at and, and her Facebook page as The Paint Diva of NJ.

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