When selecting a new paint color, especially if your home has a more open concept, it is important to take into account the colors in the rooms that surround it. These two images are of the same room, with the original version at top, and the updated look below. (Photos courtesy Katie Martin Studio)

With the start of a new year, come the goals of starting new regimens of diet, exercise and organizing our homes.
If January is the month to de-clutter and organize, February is the ideal month to start refreshing for spring.
Nothing invigorates a tired space like a fresh coat of paint.
However, while painting can seem like an easy task, many homeowners rush the process and end up with a bad case of color choice remorse.
Before heading to the paint store, here are some helpful hints to set yourself up for success.
Have your basics in place: I spend a great deal of time fixing paint colors for clients who jumped the gun before identifying the actual items for a space.
If you are painting a bedroom, have the bedding in-hand first.
The bedding will likely dictate the entire color palette.
It also allows for comparing paint swatches against the bedding in the true light of your space.
The same goes with the family room, kitchen and bathrooms.
Know the colors of your main components such as the sofa, floor coverings, window treatments, tile and cabinets before picking your wall color.
These big ticket items have staying power and more rigid options, while there are endless paint colors to choose from, so always identify key players on the front end.

When selecting a new paint color, especially if your home has a more open concept, it is important to take into account the colors in the rooms that surround it.
It is key to have the new color flow with the others, as well as any flooring that may be more color specific.
By complementing the other spaces in your home, it will read effortless and consistent throughout.
Keep resale in mind: If you are thinking about selling sooner than later, it is best to lean towards more neutral, mass appeal colors, rather than personal, taste-specific ones.
Buyers can be put off by a house that will need to be entirely repainted if the colors are very unique and tailored to your decor.
They need to be able to envision their own belongings there, so this will go a long way in helping showcase the actual home, and not devaluing it because of paint color.
However, if you are staying put for the long term, or it is a vacation home, you can step outside of your comfort zone and incorporate more personality into your space with a splash of new color.
Going into a paint store and looking under the fluorescent lights at the wide range of paint swatches can be very overwhelming.
I highly recommend investing in a fan deck of a store’s line of paint colors, which usually cost about $20-$30.
This way, you can take the entire collection home and look at the colors in your space, against your existing pieces or fabric samples.
It is best to put a paint sample on each wall and live with it for a 24-hour period so that you can see it in the light at different times of day.
Another great option is Sherwin Williams’ Colorsnap; one of many new online tools that allow you to take a photo of your space and apply paint colors to it.
Websites such as Pinterest and Houzz are also great resources to view paint colors in use, as well as keep track of your favorites.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to look at paint colors in more expensive brands.
Most paint stores can easily mix these colors for you in their brand of paint at a lesser cost.
Painting can be a quick and gratifying overhaul for any space, whether you do the painting yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
The key is to be prepared and hopefully get the color right the first time.
Thankfully, it’s only paint.
(Editor’s Note: Julie Sweeney is the owner and principal designer for Coastal Haven Design in Oxford, Md.)