You’ve decided to change your interior house paint colors. No matter if you are redesigning a single room or your entire house, it can be stressful getting the colors just right. It is hard to imagine how a color will look on a large scale, just by looking at a small swatch. Follow the tips below for choosing a color you’ll love and transforming your space with paint.

Choosing a Color Palette

Choosing a color palette may seem overwhelming. You may be tempted to choose one color at a time, but finding a set of colors will set the tone for the rest of your house.

Start with inspiration

Make the big decisions first. What mood are you trying to convey? What colors fit your personal style? Maybe choose a piece of furniture or an accessory with a color pattern you like, and go from there!

  • Choose a color scheme based on the largest pattern in your space
  • Use the color wheel to choose your color scheme
    • Complementary color schemes are colors found across from each other on the color wheel, using complementary colors work best in formal spaces
    • Analogous color schemes are made of colors found next to each other on the color wheel, these rooms tend to feel more restful, casual and muted.
  • Take a cue from your favorite clothes, they are your favorite for a reason and the color scheme will reflect your style
  • Showcase your own personal style
 Stick with neutrals

Grays are popular right now, and they go great with many different color schemes. Neutral colors are versatile, they can suit many different styles and they create a relaxing atmosphere.

Add black or white to clarify your colors

Bring out the colors on your pallet with black furnishings. If you have trim or crown molding, paint it white to help make your colors pop.

White is a safe bet

If you are in the process of selling your home or just in a state of indecision, white is always a good choice. It is easily covered to match the taste of the next owner. White walls will keep the space looking bright and fresh.

Use the 60-30-10 rule
  • 60% dominant color (walls)
  • 30% secondary color (upholstery)
  • 10% accent color (accessories)

Choosing the right sheen

Once you have picked your color pallet, you need to choose the right sheen. Any sheen in your paint will accentuate flaws.

  • Flat (Matte): No shine at all. Good for low-traffic areas like living rooms and bedrooms, as well as ceilings
  • Flat Enamel: Almost no shine but is a bit easier to clean than flat paint. Good for low traffic areas, but not great for pets and kids
  • Eggshell Enamel: Has a tiny bit of a shine and is a good choice for moderate traffic areas, like living rooms. Most scuffs can be wiped off with a damp cloth
  • Satin Enamel: Has a bit more of shine and works well in high traffic areas or areas with moisture. Easy to wipe off, which makes it great for kitchens and bathrooms
  • Semi-Gloss Enamel: Shiny but not glass-like. This is what you should use for cabinets, trim and high moisture
  • High-Gloss Enamel: Shiny! This is the glossiest finish and is perfect for high use surfaces like a railing or furniture.

Always use testers

You want to live with a paint color before you make the big commitment to buying a whole can get a tester size from the store. Test the color against colors, fabrics, and patterns in the space. Paint small swatches on different walls to see how light and shadow in different parts of the room affect your color.

Making a small room look larger

Sometimes paint color is more than a matter of taste, choosing the right colors can create an illusion to change your space. Below or tips for using paint to make a small room look larger.

  • Lighter colors reflect light to make a room look larger
  • Paint trim and moldings in light colors
  • Consider light and neutral color pallets
  • Paint adjoining rooms the same color to make your space feel larger
  • Painting with cool colors, such as blues, greens and purples can make a room appear larger and airier
  • Visually expand a room by painting the walls a slightly darker color and the trim a lighter shade

Making a large room look smaller

If you are trying to make a large space feel smaller and cozier, there are several painting tricks you can try.

  • Dark colors will absorb light and make space feel smaller.
  • Create a contrasting pallet in your décor and paint colors
  • Install a chair rail or picture molding and paint the sections with different colors to create visual breaks in the space
  • Use warm colors for painting the walls
  • Make a larger room look smaller by painting one wall a darker shade

Changing the shape of a room

When faced with a narrow room or a hallway, you can paint the walls in many ways to change the shape of the space.

Long, narrow room

  • Paint the shorter walls a shade or two darker than the longer walls to make the shape appear more square
  • Turn the short wall into an accent wall to draw attention to it and pull it closer

Long corridor

  • Paint the end wall a lighter shade than the side walls to create the illusion of more space ahead
  • When painting a narrow hallway choose light, pale colors for walls to avoid closing in the space even more

Creating the right feeling

Restful and muted

  • Analogous color schemed
  • Low contrast
  • Light color choices, such as blues, lavenders, pinks and soft yellows are a great choice for a romantic feeling of tranquility and restfulness in a room

Vibrant and lively

  • High contrast spaces feel more highly defined
  • Cool colors, like reds, yellows, and oranges will make space appear more vibrant

What about the ceiling?

Don’t forget to look up! Painting your ceiling may not seem like a big deal, but it can create a drastic difference in the room.

Paint the ceiling bright

  • Draw the eye upward to create the illusion of high ceilings
  • Make a room appear larger
  • Paint the ceiling a shade different than the crown molding to help it pop

Painting the ceiling dark (not generally recommended)

  • Make the room appear smaller
  • Create the illusion the ceiling is lower

Avoid these common mistakes

Picking your paint color first

Plan your room and chose the color based on fabrics and pattern you are using. Don’t paint and then try to find furniture to match.

Picking a color that is too bright and saturated

Lighter, muddier colors look best on walls because bright colors are a lot stronger in magnitude

Not considering the home as a whole

Make sure you consider your whole home when choosing colors. The transitions between rooms are important for creating a unified color pallet.

Losing sight of your emotional goal

Some people start with the intention of creating a calm space, then they get wrapped up in the latest colors and trends, this is where they lose sign of their emotional goal and end up with a beautiful color that doesn’t fit their personal needs.


Tools for choosing your color:

Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer

Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap SnapIT Button

Sherwin-Williams Inspiration

Sherwin-Williams Color Advice

Don’t fret when it comes to choosing colors just follow these tips to find the perfect shade for your space. For more inspiration explore some 2017 Color Trends.

If you need any help choosing the correct colors, schedule a color consultation.

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