Color can have a dramatic effect on us. It can make us instantly love something, or instantly hate it. It can make us feel happy or sad or excited or subdued. Obviously, choosing paint colors can be a big decision, influencing the whole vibe of a house. How do you know what colors are right? Here are some color-picking tips…
- 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.
- Consider how the room is being used. Kitchens tend toward 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.
- Select a color from something you already own – a piece of art, a rug, or a piece of furniture. If you like the colors in those pieces, 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.
- Know your color theory.
Hue = Color. Like red, blue or green.
Intensity = Brilliance. Pure color (Red) is more intense than mixed color (Pink).
Saturation = Dominance. Is the “red” more red or more pink? The lighter the color, the less dominating the hue.
Balance is key. Too much color can be overpowering, while too much white can be cold or stark.
- Pay attention to the light. Natural daylight shows a truer color; incandescent lighting brings out yellow tones; fluorescent lighting casts a cool, blue tone. Test the color with the predominant light source in the room to get an accurate idea of what the true tone of the color will be.
- Consider how wall colors will interact with 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?
- Feeling monochromatic? 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.
- If in doubt, look at the color wheel. It’s a great tool for figuring out how colors modify or intensify each other. For example, red and green are complementary (opposite) colors, so they are very intense when used together. The color wheel also shows the visual temperature of a color. 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.