I am absolutely fascinated by how many colors there are in existence. While studying design in college, we had guest speakers from the Pantone design team. What was so incredible about their jobs is that they are required to come up with names for thousands of new paint colors a year. Seriously? I would love that gig.
Anyway, when selecting a color, I like to start with a basic idea of the color I want. I usually have a vision in my head, but am sometimes inspired by fabrics first if I have already selected some for the room. From there, I think about what kind of feeling or vibe I want the room to have. If this sounds Greek to you, there is a great book out there (and I am sure many more) on color. Who knew there are feelings and moods that can be provoked or brought out by color?
If you are not into reading up on colors, there are easy to use web-based tools that most brands have on their official websites. My go-to brand is Benjamin Moore and I prefer to have the paint deck in hand since colors can look different in different lighting settings. The online browsing may help you narrow down your search and their website does have a "Design Your Own Room" tool, great color combination offerings, and Interior Design ideas broken down by rooms.
For all of you Pottery Barn lovers, they come out with a delicious color palette every season. PB is really big on Benjamin Moore's historic colors (as am I), and usually have a pretty warm scheme throughout. You can check out the Fall 2011 collection below.
Do you have a process you go through when selecting a new paint color? Favorite brand? Let's compare notes!