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should you pick fabric or paint first?

Pile of folded fabric/Photography: Mel Poole via Unsplash

Paint first, think later? As much as you may be set on a particular paint color, the way most pros do it is different. Whether you're rethinking one room, or remodeling an entire home, decide on your fabrics first, then sample paint until you're confident that you're making the right match. Designer Joseph Berkowitz of JAB Design Group weighs in.

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"I always select the fabrics for the design before we get to the paint phase as fabrics will dictate the color direction. I am very comfortable selecting colors," says Joseph, a self-described Benjamin Moore fan who uses both large-scale samples as well as fan decks to help make his clients' color choices.

"Select [color] based on the more permanent fabrics and elements in the room." For most, that usually means upholstery you plan to hold onto long-term; think: fabric that's used on sofas, curtains, and cushioned chairs. "Don’t select based on a pillow or accessory," says Joseph, as those accents are easily replaceable and often seasonal.

Also important in paint selection, the designer advises, is how lighting impacts your space. "Consider the room lighting. Your colors will be greatly affected by both the natural and artificial light." Try living with your potential paint samples and monitoring how the time of day, and your use of the room, change how you perceive your color choices.

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Ready to take some of Joseph's suggestions? Get started by sampling!

Toasted MauveBenjamin Moore

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