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This article comes from The Spruce.
Tips for Choosing Interior Paint Colors
The easiest way to choose the best interior paint colors is to start with the colors you love. When you start with the colors you love, you are not bound by the traditional color schemes for a particular decorating style. Using your favorite color as your base color, you can use it to create a color scheme around it. Your favorite colors can be the perfect inspiration for your new color palette for the whole room.
Here’s how to find out what your favorite color means, and how you can decorate with it.
1. Find Paint Color Inspiration
Magazines and catalogs have always been the staple of decorating inspiration. You have access to thousands of pages of inspiration on the internet. Retailer sites can be inspiring with their room vignettes, and paint company sites can also show you ways to use color in your home. Social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram offer color inspiration that is refreshed in real-time. Pinterest is great for creating inspiration boards for your favorite ideas, so you can keep all your ideas in one spot.
2. Use Color Theory to Create a Color Scheme
You don’t have to study color theory to get great ideas from a little color wheel. These inexpensive color tools can generate color scheme ideas quickly. With a turn of the wheel, you can see how colors might relate to each other and learn the basics of color theory. While you probably won’t be painting your home in the exact colors you see on the wheel, you can choose shades of those colors at your favorite paint store.
It’s easy to use a color wheel to create a color scheme once you learn a few easy concepts.
3. Get Creative With Neutral Paint Colors
Just because you choose neutral paint colors doesn’t mean they have to be laid-back. You can rev up your neutral color palette by being creative with how the colors are used. A striped wall in neutral colors adds tons of style but still keeps the room looking relaxed. Neutral wall color with a pastel ceiling is a sneaky way to add color without losing the soothing vibe of the space.
4. Pull Your Paint Color From a Print
One of the easiest ways to choose interior paint colors is to start with a print fabric. Throw pillows, bedding, and even table linens can provide you with paint color ideas. If you’re creating an accent wall, look to the boldest colors in the print. If you would like to choose a paint color that is more subtle or for a larger space, look at the color in the small details of your print fabric. Take a fabric swatch to the paint store so you can choose paint strips to view at home.
5. Look Outside for Ideas
Bringing the outside in is a popular inspiration for color schemes. Whether you choose foliage green or the laid-back blues of the beach, exterior-inspired color schemes are meant to be restful and relaxing. Be sure to sample your favorite paint colors at all times of the day and night and with the window treatments closed and open to get the most realistic view of your possible choices.
If you’re going to use your landscape as inspiration, you’ll need to know the dos and don’ts of decorating with green.
6. Find Your Paint Color in Artwork
An interior designer’s secret is choosing colors from artwork in your home. Most artists are masters of color and light, creating their color schemes for their pieces. You can benefit from their insight by choosing colors from a favorite piece of art. You can also choose complementary colors from the same work of art to create a color scheme.
7. Look to Historical Color Inspiration
Just because you love Craftsman color schemes doesn’t mean you have to decorate in a Craftsman style. Historical paint colors are offered by many of the paint industry leaders. Use these collections as inspiration and tailor them to your decorating style.
Benjamin Moore’s Damask Yellow is a rich and warm wall color that would work well in a variety of decorating styles including Craftsman and Mid-Century modern.
8. Try a Lighter or Darker Shade
Sometimes all you need is a little adjustment to find the right interior paint color. Before you abandon your paint color choice too quickly, consider a lighter or darker shade of the same color. Many paint colors appear on a paint strip in gradual shades, but you can also ask your paint store to customize it by percentages of light or dark shades.
9. How to Use Undertones to Find Your Perfect Paint Colors
You can be unpleasantly surprised by the undertones when choosing interior paint colors. Simply explained, undertones are the colors lurking beneath your favorite paint color. A simple beige may not be all that simple if it has a strong green undertone. The only way to accurately read how an undertone will appear in your home is to sample the color. Undertones from other surfaces in your room can also change the way your paint appears due to reflection, so sampling is essential.
Make sure you know how undertones work and why it matters when you’re choosing interior paint colors.
10. Do Your Homework Before Shopping
Choosing the right interior paint color starts at home. Before you head to the paint store to gather paper samples, gather inspiration from catalogs and magazines, and fabric swatches. This will keep you from grabbing too many paint color options on your first trip to the store. The hardest part of choosing a paint color, at first, is having too many options.
Once you narrow down your paint color choices, return to the store for paint color samples to try at home. This step is crucial to finding the perfect color.
Before you head out to choose paint, know what you should never do at the paint store.
11. Sample Your Paint Colors Before Committing
This is a simple rule that should never be ignored. Always sample any paint color you’re considering. When you are committing gallons of paint and hours to your project, you have to get the color right the first time. You don’t want to skip this step. If you look at the back of the paint store, there are stacks of cans of returned paint from people that did not take the time to sample first. Don’t be one of them. Make sure to calculate exactly how much paint you’ll need, as well, so that you minimize waste.
Remember, sampling paint colors is the most important step in finding the right colors for your home.
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