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How to Pick Paint Colors

Refresh Any Room in Your Home with These Paint Color Ideas

Choosing your room’s color palette is no easy task, which is likely why so many settle for a boring beige instead. But take heart—picking the right paint colors for your room’s walls is easier when you use these handy tips that we’ve compiled for you. Paint, after all, is one of the most affordable ways to give new life to your room, so give it a try and see how a new hue can make all the difference.

Start With the Basics

Build your room’s color palette around the pieces in the room. Don’t start with the paint color first. Take inspiration from the furniture and decorative accents that are part of your space. Even if you really love this one shade of lavender, take a step back and identify the elements of the room that feature your beloved color first. After all, shades of a color can vary widely and that gorgeous occasional chair you found may require a different wall accent color than if you had started with paint and then had to find furniture to match it. Want to start small on this whole color journey? Consider a color update to your bath décor. Pick a small powder room to try out a new color, then work your way to other rooms of the house from there.

Travelers Trunk – Left Room Paint Color: Morning Dew (Benjamin Moore); Right Room Paint Color: Recolored to Pantone DS 318-9C

How to Choose Color Combinations

Even if you are only painting one room, you must still keep the whole house in mind. How does that one room flow into the next room? You don’t want your new room’s color choice to feel jarring or awkward as you enter or leave it. Within your one room, you may choose to do all one monochromatic color on every wall, or consider the use of the accent wall, where you use one distinct color to draw the room’s focal point. Use a color wheel as a reference tool to see how colors combine and complement each other. For more color insight, read our article on how to decorate with color.

Set Your Mood

How do you want your space to feel? A more intense, saturated color will feel more active and vibrant, while a soft pastel can feel luminous and calming. The intensity of a color will change a bit once you fill an entire wall or room with it. Taking it back a level of intensity may be preferred to not overwhelm the space. Want to read more about how to use color to evoke a certain mood? Read our guides for choosing colors based on moods.

Gather Sign & Gray Console – Left Room Paint Color: Decorators White (Benjamin Moore); Right Room Paint Color: Recolored to Pantone 587U (Green Tone)

Popular Colors for Living Rooms

According to the color experts at the Pantone Color Institute, 2017 is the year to combine the unexpected with the familiar. So don’t be surprised if you see its pick for color of the year—a refreshing, zesty shade of green—pop up in homes everywhere this year. This color trend supports our growing desire to be optimistic and nature-conscious. You’ll see it combine equally well with forestry neutrals as it does with bold vibrant garden shades. But don’t forget about the other popular color combinations out there including: soft pink and gray, milkier shades of blue and gray, and multiple shades of soft, creamy whites accented with charcoal and blacks for a modern transitional look.

Happy Pillow – Left Room Paint Color: Recolored to Pantone Yellow 123 (lightened through correction); Right Room Paint Color: Mascarpone (Benjamin Moore)

Consider the Light

Remember that paint colors look different depending on the light that hits them. Paint a few patches of your selected colors on your actual walls and then see how the color looks as the natural light comes in throughout the day. Once evening falls turn on your room’s floor lighting and table lamps to see how that light works with your new wall color choices.

Color Your World

Now that you have a few basics under your belt about choosing paint colors for your walls, head for the paint store and see what colors speak to you. Don’t be shy about taking swatches of fabric or that accent pillow you love, so you can find just the right shade. Ask for samples of your favorite colors and get expert advice from the people there. You’ll have a new look before you know it. And the best part is…another new look is just a coat of paint away. Pin this article for later! For more, follow CountryDoor on Pinterest.

Room Recolor II: Watch rooms from our spring catalog transform with paint

The Country Door team took six of our new spring catalog rooms and swapped out the wall color to see what an impact it made on the room in both mood and personality. See the Room Recolor II here.

Comments (11)

Great Post…! I like your home color selecting tips and ideas in your post. Last week I bought a carpet, but I want to change my carpet color. I find your post, you have shared an awesome color choosing tips and ideas in your Post. Really this is very helpful post for me. Would you suggest me how can I change my carpet color?

Hi Martha,

Choosing a carpet color can be a daunting task! We would suggest choosing a carpet color based on the size of your room. If your room is small with little natural light we would recommend a lighter shade of carpet. However darker shades can bring together a large room making it feel cozier. Also, you may want to take into consideration whether you will add pops of color through your furniture or wall art. Neutral colored carpet may be better while adding color with throw pillows and accent pieces you can change out more regularly. If your furniture and decor is more neutral, have fun with a colored carpet! And it is always important to know, lighter colored carpet can show stains and wear much faster than something speckled or a bit darker.

I have two doors in my foyer that I would like to repaint. One leads to closet, the other to the garage. Should the color be darker than the foyer paint color or should I go light? Help!?

Hi Megan,
If you have a foyer that has a lot of color and vibrant wall decor, you may not need much of a change in paint color from the walls to doors. In this case, the paint on the doors can have a different sheen than what you have on the walls. The difference in sheen can be more than enough to make the doors stand out and distinguish them from your walls. If you want the doors to stand out, you can paint them in a color to match the entryway‘s accent color. Keep in mind that bolder painted doors may make your foyer feel visually smaller.

I purchased the antique mirror that looks like doily. I love it! I have it hanging above my headboard in my bedroom. I would like to repaint the bedroom to make the mirror pop. I have oak trim in the bedroom.

Help !!! what is the perfect gray paint color?

Tena, thank you for commenting. Gray is a flattering and popular paint color because it makes bold colors pop and adds depth to subtle colors. Since every home and room is different, you need to first consider the lighting, surrounding décor and other paint colors in the room.Next, depending on the mood you want to create, you can choose a warm or cool shade of gray. This article, Let Your Mood Color Your World has some helpful tips on how to decide on the mood you want to create. Once you’ve decided on the mood, visit your local paint store and buy a paint sample. Paint it on multiple walls in the room and evaluate it during different times of the day to see if you like it or not.

You may also want to reach out to a trusted girlfriend to give you an extra set of eyes on how the gray paint complements your existing home décor.

My bedroom walls are white. I would like to add color using country-style ideas for decor. Any ideas?

Caroline, thank you for commenting and sharing your decorating dilemma! Without seeing your bedroom and knowing more about your personal decorating style, it is difficult to make a recommendation.

With white walls, you have a blank canvas on which to start decorating your bedroom. The first place to start is to think about what colors you want to add to your bedroom décor. Based on your color scheme, dress the bed with country bedding of matelassé coverlets, chenille bedspreads, vintage blankets or colorful quilts. Accent it with throw pillows and a classic flower eyelet bed skirt.
Add a few vintage accents like a glass lamp, braided rugs, and distressed wood artwork for the finishing touch.

It might also be fun and inspiring to reach out to a trusted girlfriend to share ideas and to give you an extra set of eyes to help you pull together the overall look and the color palette for your bedroom

My living room is together bound together with my kitchen I need to pick out some colors that will bring out my kitchen is more two the back of the house

Virginia, thank you for your comment. When your living room and kitchen are adjoining, it is best to keep the colors coordinated so there is a natural flow between the two rooms. Use accessories like rugs, pillows, dining room chair cushions and wall décor in the same decorating style and color palette to make the rooms feel more spacious.

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