Choosing paint color and interior paint color combinations: An illustrated guide to choosing wall colors, from your first paint color ideas to finalized room color schemes. Use this surefire, step by step method for choosing paint colors & get perfect interior design color schemes every time.
Before you start ...
For this page, let's assume you already have some basic paint color ideas in mind. Your next steps are:
Let's pretend you've just moved into this apartment, and you're planning to paint new interior wall colors (for extremely obvious reasons!)
Your berry-colored sofas, coffee table and rug are already in the room, to make sure you're choosing paint colors against the right background and in the right lighting.
The summer sun will absolutely bake this south-facing room, so you want to look for cool paint color ideas - preferably a shade of blue that goes with the sofas and all the cushions. (Let's assume you're generally okay with blue wall color ;-)
You've already found some blue color swatches, but they're so small that it's
really hard to tell what these interior paint colors would look like if they covered the entire wall.
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a) When you collect paint color swatches in your chosen wall colors, make sure you also pick up shades and tints of this color.
b) Buy a few tester pots of the most promising paint colors, a cheap brush , and large (2x3ft approx.) sheets of paper.
Colors look different depending on the paint finish, so make sure you test your paint color in your chosen finish!
Here's a mistake many people make when choosing paint colors: They tape their color tester sheets over the old wall paint colors.
Picture #2 shows that this can't work, because you're now looking at a color combination that has nothing to do with your final color scheme!
The best way to eliminate a distracting color is to view interior wall colors against a neutral background. You can achieve this by either
If you're going to use a white undercoat (advisable if you're painting over a dark color like this one), you might as well bite the bullet and do it now, before making your final paint color decision.
A neutral background will make choosing paint color that much easier.
Picture #3: Job done - now it's easy to see that the original duck egg blue is actually quite dark, looks a bit murky, and is at odds with the blue sky outside.
This color, on all walls, would turn the room into a deep-sea aquarium! (Probably not quite what
you had in mind.)
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You may have to go through this process several times, but that means you'll end up choosing paint colors that really work. And the time you spend deliberating wall color ideas will sharpen your understanding of what's best for your room. This can take a while!
Most people will be tempted to take a shortcut at this point because they're impatient to slap the paint on the wall and be done. I know this because I'm one of these people! But it really pays to be slow and deliberate at this stage.
So study the room with the color samples in all kinds of light:
Also, make sure you place the color sheets in different parts of the room:
Once you're convinced that the color suits the room, then go for it. If you're still scratching your head, start over with a different color (see Step 4). You're choosing a paint color from thousands of candidates, and the right one is definitely out there, waiting for you!
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Picture #4 shows one possible solution to the 'duck egg dilemma': reducing the area where the color will go, and choosing a tint of blue that is light and subtle enough for the job.
This has several advantages:
If this is too cool for you, consider warming it up with added color, for example the potted tree that brings more green into the space and ties in with the green cushion color. Or, you could replace the blue wall color with a warmer manila brown, as in Picture #5.
By dividing the wall as I have done here, you achieve two results:
1. The lighter, neutral color above the chair rail, as well as the curtains in the same hue, create a transition and soften the contrast between the dark floor/sofas and the bright white ceiling.
2. Should you ever want to substantially change the appearance of the room, all you need to do is paint new interior wall colors beneath the chair rail and replace a picture or two. Maybe the rug as well. (Here are some examples of how colors would change this room!)
Picture #5 shows that in order to warm up the room color, you needn't sacrifice its lightness - you just play up the warm colors that are already in the room by adding a few warm neutrals to them (the rug & the brown wall paint).
There. Choosing paint color made simple. Give it a go, and do let
me know how you get on!