A fresh coat of paint is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give a room a new look, but there are so many color choices available now. How do you select shades that you’ll be able to live with for several years even if you decide to change furnishings or accent pieces? What about the overall color palette that ties the rooms together throughout your home? Choosing the right colors can be tricky. Here’s a few tips to help you select a palette of satisfying shades.

Consider how the space is used and the feeling you want to convey. If you have a favorite piece of art, vase, chair or rug, then let that serve as a starting point for inspiration. Just be sure to keep in mind the effects that color can have on feelings and moods. Calming colors in shades of blue or light green are good choices for bedrooms, for example, since they support relaxation.

Take note of neutrals and earth tones. It’s hard to go wrong with shades of beige or gray since they are neutral enough to be paired with many combinations of bold colors. Earth tones in shades of brown, tan, green, orange, yellow and blue are also good choices if you’re trying to achieve a natural look and feel.

Consider the flow from one room to another. Each room in your home can have it’s own feel and color scheme, but should also integrate smoothly. Tie a sunflower yellow room with an adjoining room by painting the trim in both rooms white or using a common accent color for furnishings or accessories.

Always swatch test your final choices. Different qualities of light can cause changes in appearance for many colors. Paint one or two samples directly onto the wall or paint the colors on a poster board and set it in the room. Leave the samples on the wall for several days, so you get a chance to see the paint color in different lighting situations throughout the course of the day or night. The newer eco-friendly low VOC or no VOC paints are formulated to be just as durable and washable as regular paints, but may take to your walls a bit differently if you not accustomed to using them.