How to Choose Interior Paint Colors

A couple sorting through various colored paint chips

Choosing interior paint colors can be the most difficult part of painting your home. Not only does color change how your home looks, but it can also alter your mood. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing interior paint colors to create the right ambiance for you and your space.

Step 1 – Considering Mood

Colors can impact your mood. For example, colors like red, yellow, and orange can stimulate feelings of warmth and togetherness. Red is also a passionate color than can energize, while green, blue, and violet are cool colors that can calm and soothe.

When choosing interior paint colors for your walls, keep in mind what mood or feeling you’d like to achieve. While red might work well for a living room, calmer colors like blue might be better for an energetic child’s room.

Step 2 – Understanding the Color Wheel

Understanding how colors complement one another is integral to creating a harmonious and unified space, whether you’re painting one or multiple rooms. To choose colors that work together, use a color wheel to find out which shades balance each other out.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are found on opposite ends of the color wheel, such as violet and yellow. These colors are opposites, and they bring out the richness in one another, particularly when one shade is muted and the other is dominant.

Analogous Colors

You could also opt for analogous colors, which are hues found next to one another. Using two or three analogous colors together is calming and pleasing to the eye.

Step 3 – Thinking About Your Space

Colors can also be used to create illusions in your space, making a room feel smaller or larger. To give the illusion of higher ceilings, opt for a lighter ceiling color and darker wall color.

To make a room look larger than it is, choose colors that are light and airy. Conversely, you can scale down an oversized room by using darker hues.

Step 4 – Planning Your Color Scheme

Once you’ve decided which basic colors you want in your home, consider using a color palette for each room. For instance, you may want to include an accent wall, which will draw the eye to that space and often make your room look larger. Although your whole house doesn’t have to be the same color, you should also make sure the color scheme flows from room to room, complementing each other to unify the spaces.

Step 5 – Finalizing a Plan

Once you’ve made the above considerations, you can develop a color plan for each room. With a plan in mind, head to your local hardware store to select a few color paint chips or samples. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different shades at this stage. While you can't go wrong with popular interior-wall color choices, be sure to tailor your color palette to your preferences.

Once you've chosen your chips, tape your them to the wall of the room you’re painting. If you have the time, try leaving the samples in place for a few days to look at them at different times of the day with different lighting to determine the best hue for the room.