Choosing a paint color seems to be one of the most difficult tasks when purchasing a new abode. Most people I know ponder, even agonize, for weeks before selecting a beige-taupe that they ultimately hate after all the hard work of painting and trimming is completed. I have a hard time selecting paint colors for my own home, but for someone else, it’s a cinch. A few simple tips that I use every time might ease your fears the next time you pull out the paint deck and get ready to slap some color on those barren walls. I’m not color expert, of course, but color is my favorite design element, so I’ll share the love.
First off, it’s super important to select your paint color last. When I’m selecting finish schemes for a commercial client, I start with the largest item first (carpet) and work my way through all other elements before I choose the wall color. Paint comes in an exorbitant amount of colors, so it’s super easy to choose this last – and makes the most sense. You can tweak the paint colors to perfectly coordinate with your furnishings and artwork, but finding furniture to match a paint color is a bit more difficult.
Say you have this wild chair sitting all alone in a plain white room. Why not jazz it up a bit? You can pull some colors directly from the chair if you have something with this much pizazz in your space. The cooler steel blue would look great on all four walls, or you could choose the neutral background color and use the bold eggplant on an accent wall. The easy choice would be to paint the walls a neutral (like the chair’s background color) and bring the coordinating colors into the space with pillows, curtains, etc. But why not stand out and put some actual color on your walls? I’m a big proponent of color (none of my walls are anywhere near beige) so don’t be afraid to try something different. If the exact colors in the chair are a bit much, keep the same colors but tone down the shade a bit.
A more subdued shade of the colors in this snazzy chair will still work with the piece since they’re in the same color family. If you have such a predominant piece like this in your space, don’t try to compete with it. If you want blue walls, make sure the blue is a cooler green-blue like in your chair, not a navy blue or electric cobalt.
Back to that thing about if you like it, go with it. I really stand by this. Sure, some people may shudder at your bright red walls in a bedroom, but if you love it, go for it. As long as you’re happy in your space, you shouldn’t be concerned with the raised eyebrows around your fuchsia bedroom. Just make sure that color coordinates with your space.
Like this coral rug scenario, for example. With a neutral rug like this (or a neutral couch, etc), you can take a chance by putting some pops of color on your walls. These colors work because they’re in the same tones as the rug – warm tones. The blue, green and orange all have a bit of yellow in them, so they’re more warm than, say, a cool gray or cool blue. If neutral walls are your vise, you can mix it up by using the neutrals in the rug, but going a bit darker or lighter than those colors. Tweaking the tone a bit by going darker than the chocolate in the rug can keep the space from looking too matchy matchy.
Let’s say you have some graphic art that you’re working with in your space. Artwork is the perfect starting point for a finish scheme, but can pose some problems when it’s a bold black and white. You could take it one way – matching the neutrals and creating a clean, crisp space – or taking the graphic theme to a whole other level with some super bright color behind that art. With the neutral-tastic scheme, bring in some color with some rocking red or orange accents. On the high energy scheme, bring in some neutral furniture and clean lines to tone down those red hot walls.
Bottom line – choose what you like. Try to keep in the same color families or tones that your furnishings have, but have some fun with your color choices! Feel free to share any awesome color choices you’ve made for your home!