Choosing Interior Paint Colors

Often the hardest part of updating your home's interior is choosing the new paint colors . While the specific colors a person ends up choosing are very much a personal choice most designers  will tell you the colors you choose should tie together the decorative theme in your room along with the furniture and fabrics when viewed in the dominant light. Your future plans for your homes are also an important practical consideration when choosing colors. Here's some ideas on choosing your interior paint colors.

Coordinating Your Paint Colors

Decorating theme

  • It's important your colors match your decorative theme . For example a contemporary theme would tend toward subtle, neutral colors and shades such as beiges or ivories, while an Asian theme for example would lead you to choose stronger colors such as reds, golds and greens with perhaps black accents.

Furniture and fabrics

  • A good way to coordinate with fabrics is to select colors that are visible in the fabric but not the dominant color. This helps tie the colors together without having a single color predominate and overwhelm the room. Obviously, if your have fabrics with multiple colors you will have numerous alternatives for wall and trim colors perhaps making the selection process easier.


  • The predominant light will directly impact your color choices since colors will look different in different types of light. For example, fluorescent light bulbs provide light with a slight green tinge while incandescent and halogen lights will produce a yellowish tinge that tends to dull cool colors.
  • Sunlight creates another consideration and in general rooms with lots of sunlight should be painted in lighter (rather than darker) tones so they don't feel uncomfortably warm (plus sunlight will cause darker colors to fade).

Future plans

  • A final but very important consideration when choosing paint colors is how long as you going to be living in your home. If you have no plans to move or downsize, painting your living  room in bright colors to match your taste is fine. However, if you are potentially going to be moving on in a year or two, painting a room in the colors of your old school will quite likely make it harder to sell down the road.

One way to begin the selection process is to choose five or six of your favorite colors. Then, consider which of them will look better after considering all of the various influences on your color choice. It's likely you will recognize that even though a color is a favorite, it can be eliminated as a potential color choice.

Still having trouble choosing your colors, here's a tip :

Recognizing how hard it is to visualize how a paint color will actually look in a room, a number of paint and home stores have recently begun selling small sample cans (½ pint) of paint so you can paint a small area or a white board and actually see how the colors you're considering will look in your room at various times of day and night.

Learn How to Use Painters Tape Properly >

Murray Anderson is a veteran freelance writer whose work has been appeared in books, newspapers and newsletters as well as on numerous web sites in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics including home, consumer, and personal subjects as well as general business and Marketing specific topics.