How to Select Interior Paint Colors for Your Home
Interior Paint is One of the Least Expensive Ways to Update a Room
Thinking about home improvement projects? One of the easiest, least expensive ways to update a room in your home is with interior paint. But what color or colors should you choose?
The answer to that question depends on a number of factors:
1. The mood you are looking to create (calm, bold, exciting, soothing);
2. The purpose of the room (relaxing, entertaining);
3. Artwork, furniture, pillows, window coverings, carpet/floor coverings, and other décor in the room;
4. The colors to which you are naturally drawn (peek in your closet for this answer!);
5. The amount of light in the room - natural or lighting fixtures; and
6. Existing paint colors (if any)
If you're ready for a fresh coat of paint, let's figure out how to select interior paint colors for your home!
Decorating With Paint: Color Tips
White walls are usually boring, but there is something to be said for selecting a relatively neutral color as the anchor color, used throughout your living spaces.
Whether you go with a warm ivory, a cool gray or soft beige (or yes, even white), applying the anchor color to about 60 percent of the wall, ceiling and trim surfaces in your home will help create a unified look (this is known as the 60:30:10 concept). Consider whether you wish to paint doors to match surrounding trim.
The secondary color is where you can have some fun! Using any shade that has the same undertones as the anchor color, paint about 30 percent of the surfaces. The remaining 10 percent of the surfaces are painted with a third, accent color, that also has the same undertones as the first two shades.
But don't let the 60:30:10 concept limit you to only 3 colors of interior paint! The more shades you choose, you will probably still want to have one, dominant anchor color (maybe it covers 50% of the surfaces instead).
Select Interior Paint Colors to Set the Mood
Interior paint colors can help set the mood of a room. For example, the walls in our kitchen are a warm, brick color reminiscent of a brick oven. During winter months, its very cozy and welcoming. We love entertaining in the kitchen.
Our bedroom has classic pale blue walls, in a soft, soothing color. Although we have not repainted recently, I would probably choose a warmer color, like a soft butter yellow. The tone would literally warm up the room and it might feel less chilly than it does right now.
In the playroom, we've used bright, cheery colors on the walls. Using a chair rail, only the top half of the walls are painted, with the bottom half covered in white beadboard. This prevents the loud colors from feeling overwhelming.
The guest bathroom is painted a deep eggplant, which lends a luxurious, pampered feel to the room. But the walls in our own bathroom match those in our bedroom. The two rooms are adjoining, and the continuous "soothing" blue paint actually makes the two spaces feel more expansive.
No matter the color you like best, interior paint is an affordable home improvement project!
How to Select Paint Colors for your Home
Interior Paint and Supplies
Select Interior Paint Colors to Complement Furnishings and Décor
Its one thing to select interior paint color that you like and that you believe will suit the mood of the room. You should also consider the furnishings and décor that will fill the room after you're done painting. A bold wall color may help showcase a special piece of art work, or complement beautiful tiling or cabinets. On the other hand, if the focal point in the room is a gorgeous Oriental rug, you might want to keep wall colors neutral and low-key.
Don't forget window coverings and carpeting. You will want to have enough contrast between the colors of all three to keep things interesting. Ivory curtains hung over beige walls might be boring.
Before choosing your paint colors, take a look at the colors you already have in the home - whether on artwork, rugs, pillows, towels or bed coverings. Chances are you will find a common theme that will be a great anchor or secondary color (mine is sage green). Either bring a sample with you to the paint store (a swatch of fabric or throw pillow itself), or take home a number of paint chip cards to compare and contrast to see how certain colors will complement furnishings and décor in your home.
Remember that when you initially apply paint, the effect is not the same as when all coats are applied and have dried. Colors may appear darker or brighter when first applied, rather than later.
Select Interior Paint Colors to Match Your Personal Palette
This paint selection tip is probably the most important of all. After all, if you dress in certain colors and are drawn to certain colors, shouldn't you ensure that your interior spaces feel completely comfortable? Let's say you love warm colors like orange tones or sepia. Painting your walls blue or purple probably will not lend a familiar feel for the rooms in your home.
Not sure what tones speak to you? Take a look inside your closet, and consider what shades draw you to them when you go shopping. For me, the shades are often deep, eggplant purple, biscuit tan and sage green. Accents of brick red work well with these colors. There are many variations across the color palette in these tones.
Interior Paint Colors for Living Rooms and Dining Rooms
Work With Existing Interior Paint Colors
If you don't want to entirely repaint the interior of your home, you can work with existing paint colors and update from there. Perhaps you want to leave the trim, or an accent wall, as is. Choosing a complementary color is now your task.
Before you head to the home improvement store, take a look at the paint colors to determine what undertone exists. Every color on the spectrum - including white - is either warm or cool. Warm undertones include yellow or pink. Cool undertones are bluish. You will want to match undertones when selecting new paint colors for a unified feeling at the end of your paint project.
Just remember that you don't have to repaint everything! You can update the look of your home with a few rooms, or even just a few walls. Give your interior a quick update without breaking the bank. Why not undertake an interior painting project this weekend?
© 2011 Stephanie Hicks
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