5 Tips for Choosing Your Paint Colors
So you’ve been thinking about painting a room or area in your home, but you’re stumped on what colors to choose. Here’s something you’ll love to hear when it comes to selecting a paint color scheme: anything goes! Paint colors are a personal preference, so you should go with what inspires you and makes you happy. If you’re totally perplexed, however, here are five tips for selecting paint colors for your home’s interior:
Take a careful look at the flow of the space. Experts often think of each separate wall as a plane of color, so if you’re painting one space that joins another, think about how the other room affects the backdrop. In an open-concept kitchen, great room, and dining room area, for example, stand in the kitchen and look out into the rest of the space. What walls stand out the most? What walls fade into the background? Where are the natural corners where you could change colors? Is there a prominent, colorful couch to work into the equation?
Pick three shades and break them down into 60-30-10. Design experts often subscribe to the 60-30-10 rule of paint colors. Start by choosing three colors you love for a room—thinking about more than just the walls, but also your furniture, flooring, and accent pieces. Make one of those colors your dominant color (60%), the other your secondary color (30%), and the third your accent color (10%). Most often, your walls are your dominant color, while your décor (upholstery, etc.) is your secondary color. Accent colors could include pillows or artwork, or even a small accent wall.
Consider the mood you’re going for. Think about the mood you’re hoping to create in each room you’re painting. Are you looking to be soothed and calmed? Energized? Do you want a room to feel cozy and warm? The psychology of color is something that many interior designers embrace to give rooms a certain vibe. The Paint Quality Institute associates these general categories of color with different feelings:
- Yellow – Happiness, hope, optimism
- Orange – Fun, energy
- Red – Energy, passion
- Blue – Calm, relaxation
- Green – Tranquility, growth, renewal
- Purple – Serenity, coolness, calming stimulation
- Blue – Calm, creativity, rest, exhilaration
- White – Peace, capaciousness, simplicity
So, an intensely bright orange might not be as fitting for a bedroom as a softer, quieter cool blue that invites relaxation. A yellow kitchen could add that spark of energy to your days that you’re seeking, while sticking to shades of white will create a clean, serene feel.
Use an inspiration piece. Do you have a favorite piece of artwork or rug that would make an excellent focal point in a room? Choose a color (or more than one) from the pattern found in that piece as a starting point, or better yet, take a photo of it to the paint store with you. Having an object that you love in mind can be helpful when you’re not sure where to begin.
Test it out. Colors are affected by many things: lighting, floor color, room size, and more. You might be certain that you want your primary wall color to be gray, only to discover that the gray swatch you grabbed from the paint store looks like a light blue when painted on your living room wall. Always, always, always test out a color before you commit to painting an entire wall.
Paint is one of the easiest ways to transform a room, so don’t hold back. The great news is that you can always repaint if you outgrow a color or decide on a new scheme. And while interior designers can guide your choices with their knowledge of color wheels and color psychology, the reality is that you’re the one who will live in the space. Pick what you love and have fun with it!