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7 Tips for Picking the Right Paint Colors

October 12, 2021

7 Tips for Picking the Right Paint Colors

Color can have a dramatic effect on us. It can make us instantly love something, or question it instead. It can make us feel happy or sad, excited or subdued. Obviously, choosing paint colors for a home can be a big decision; they can change the entire look and feel of a room. So how do you know which colors are right? Once you’ve settled into your new home, and you’re ready to tackle some interior design projects, here are some tips to choose the right paint colors:

1) Try a color in a small area. If you’re not sure about a color, paint a small room or area with it, and then live with it for a while. You may love it… or decide it’s best used only in small amounts as an accent color. 

2) Consider how the room is being used. Designers tend to paint kitchens brighter colors because they are high-energy spaces, full of activity and people. Bedrooms need to be more private and tranquil, so softer, muted colors are used more often. 

3) Select a color from something you already own – a piece of art, a rug, or a piece of furniture. If you like the colors of those items, it’s more likely you’ll like them on your walls. If you’re unsure, use technology! There are apps that can take the colors from an inspiration piece (vase, artwork, rug), and create a complementary color palette. 

4) Pay attention to the light. Natural daylight shows a truer color; typical light bulbs bring out yellow tones; fluorescent lighting casts a cool, blue tone. Test the color with the main light source in the room to get an accurate idea of what the true tone of the color will be. 

5) Consider how wall colors will impact adjacent rooms. If you're in one room, and you see a piece of another room, do the colors work together?  Do they clash or flow together? 

6) Try a one-color scheme. Using one color can be very striking. You can create variations with contrasting paint finishes (matte vs. glossy), or by selecting a warmer or cooler shade within your main color group.  You can use white or off-white tint as an accent. 

7) When in doubt, look at the color wheel. It’s a great tool for figuring out which colors go well together.  For example, red and green are complementary (opposite) colors, so they are very intense when used together. The color wheel also shows whether a color is warm or cool. Follow the yellow-green mark on the color wheel all the way down to the red-violet, and you'll see that all the colors on the left are warm and the colors on the right are cool.

No matter which colors you choose, decorating your own home is a fun and exciting process. Once it’s yours, home can feel — and look — any way you’d like. For more design inspiration, visit our Photo Gallery and DIY Gallery. Happy painting!

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