For many homeowners, choosing a paint color is one of the biggest and most controversial decorating decisions they will make.

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Perhaps you have stood in the paint aisle staring at the paint chips on display, wondering what to do next.

Well, you are not alone. For many homeowners, choosing a paint color is one of the biggest and most controversial decorating decisions they will make.

Begin your search for the perfect shade in the paint aisle of your local home improvement store. They are usually arranged by brand, and in many instances by interior and exterior uses. Exterior paints are specifically formulated to withstand the elements and formulated differently than paints intended for interior use.

To narrow your selection further, the next step is to select a brand. Do your research and read customer reviews. One of the biggest differentiators is price. There can often be quite a range, and a higher price does not always mean higher quality. You can often get superb coverage and durability with a paint that is sold at a low price point.

In many ways, color isn’t as much of a factor as it used to be. This is in large part because with an increase in technology, many home-improvement stores are able to “match” a color. The matched color can be created from the smallest of samples, including the tiny dot often placed on top of paint cans.

Selecting a finish will likely be your final step. In general, the higher the gloss, the easier it is to wipe. If you have brand-new walls, however, a flat finish may be your best choice for a smooth finish.

In many instances, home-improvement stores will sell you small sample pots that will allow you to test the color in your space at a low cost, and some brands provide large-scale color samples.