How I Chose Interior Paint Colors
I walked into my new home and saw the red tiles and old blue paint and was ready to walk right out. My husband was not impressed either. But the cabinets were white, and after we didn’t find any other homes in our price range with the amount of square footage and yard, I decided I might be able to work with the dark, off colors. I am glad that I gave it a second look since it is now the place I call home.
I share this initial apprehension with you because our first home challenged me to figure out how to pick paint colors for every room. If you look at the before and after photos of our home you will see that the original colors were not my jam.
Be a Careful Curator
I chose colors that I had experienced before in person or had seen online. I had seen a lot of renovated homes in our home-buying search and I loved how I felt when I saw gray and white together. Most of my life I had gravitated to blacks, browns and whites and I wanted to add some cheer and color into my life, so I knew yellow could do that for me. I looked on Pinterest, magazines and catalogs. My kitchen was actually inspired by an IKEA catalog. I simply took the catalog with me to Lowe's and found a color that I felt matched well.
Remember that nature is also a wonderful source of inspiration for color. God is the perfect artist and he knows how to combine colors, so collect color combinations from the natural world! Check out the fruit image above. God is the master of beauty and function!
Take Inventory of What you Already Have
Another source for picking colors was artwork and home decor that I had recently bought at Home Goods. I knew that we would not be purchasing all new furniture, so I wanted to add color and sophistication without needing to buy a lot. Thankfully, I had neutral colored furniture that looked fine with gray and yellow. I also had bought a painting and a throw blanket that mixed many of the colors of paint and furniture, thus solidifying my choice of Requisite Gray for the majority of the house.
When Rooms Collide
The next part of choosing colors was being careful about the rooms that were open to each other. With open concepts being popular, it can be increasingly difficult to choose colors that don’t clash with each other.
First, I considered the function of each room. I wanted the kitchen to feel clean and crisp so I chose a light, light bluish gray for the walls and painted the backsplash tile white. For the family room, I was aiming to feel comfortable and relaxed, so I knew neutral colors would work well, along with the brown that was already present in the fireplace and the furniture we had for the room. I chose Sherwinn Williams Natural Tan and I knew that it would be okay with the SW Storm Cloud color because it was put together by the HGTV Sherwin Williams team as complimentary colors.
So, even if you are not a color theorist or a certified interior designer, you can use resources that the paint company’s offer to ensure you get the right look. The technology that allows you to put colors on your walls is amazing and although nothing beats putting color on your walls and checking how it looks in the light throughout the day, there is nothing wrong with digitally trying on colors either.
The last, very challenging decision I had was to move forward with the light blue in the kitchen with the gray in the dining room and hallway that could be seen through open doorways. I stewed over it for months, asked many people what they thought and put the paint on the walls and in the end stuck with my original decision. Since HGTV didn’t put two of the colors together for me, I did it for myself and my eyes and gut were not wrong.
You and Your Family Matter
Always consider what you are trying to accomplish for each of the rooms in your home. I have put together a color guide for you here, so that you can analyze your color choices based on the psychology of colors. How you and your family feel in your space is the most important thing. If you can mix your love of color with knowledge of what looks nice and for what reasons, you will be happy with your choice.
Overcoming the Fear of Putting Paint to Walls
I recently bought two paint colors for our basement renovation. Right before I put the second color on the wall, I was a bit nervous to put the accent color on the walls. I thought of my readers and I commiserated for a moment with how many people feel. It can be scary to commit, but the beauty is that you are not locked into a color. Yes, you bought paint that likely cannot be returned, but you can always change the color.
I put the accent paint color on the wall (a small portion near the main color–white–and found that I didn’t like it. At first I thought, but I did so much research about this color and there are examples of how great this looks together. But then I realized something: it didn’t matter that I had planned to use the color, I was going to do what I liked the best and what I felt served the room best. Since it is a basement, natural light is nearly non-existent, so sticking with the white looked best and brought me joy. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and do the testing before you pay for the gallons of paint. I had not painted larger portions of the colors on the wall and it cost me a gallon of paint. I have plans for the paint thankfully and you can do that too.
Choosing paint colors is possible!
- Start collecting inspiration from online and other print sources that you have. Pay attention to the homes that you go to and how you feel. Take note of the prominent colors in the rooms.
- Consider what you already own and what you plan to buy. Have an overall purpose for each room in your home.
- Take inventory of the rooms that are open to each other and how the colors will look when seen together. Use resources available to you to make an informed decision.
- Listen to your heart, your family and gain the knowledge that will aid your chioce.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but do the work up front to save you money and time. Again, put the colors on the walls first and watch them throughout the different times of the day and make sure you love them. And, again, use the technology available through many paint companies to “try on” colors in your rooms.
I am excited for you to create spaces that bring you joy and serve your family and honored guests well.