How Do I Choose Colors To Paint My House?

Feb 3, 2023

Getting Started: How to Choose Paint Colors

Painting a home can be an exciting project, but it can also be an enormous undertaking. Choosing the colors to paint your house is a big first step that can help bring inspiration to your designs. Let’s break down everything from collecting color samples to understanding outdoor light in order help narrow down your search for the perfect color.

Conveying the Ideal Mood for your Room

Determining the particular mood you want a room to have is a great starting point. Maybe you want a room that is relaxing and cozy, or maybe the idea is to inspire and energize. If the interior of your home is currently all white walls you may find it feels underwhelming or clinical. Recognizing how your desired mood differs from the current colors of the room can guide you in the right direction. The paint colors are what make up the room before any furniture, art, or other items are added so setting the right tone is important to designing a space that fulfills your goals.

The Style of Your Home

Beyond the mood of a room, the wall color of the space helps pull together the cohesive style that you hope to achieve. This style can be specific to one area of your home, or be incorporated throughout each room. While the walls in a minimalist home may have a soft, neutral paint color, a brighter home may have paint colors that are bolder and create a statement on their own. The style of your home can be a reflection of your personal style or a collection of external surroundings that you draw inspiration from. The wall color throughout your home can differ in style, or have a unified color palette. Understanding the style you’re working towards is almost like a roadmap on where to go next, even if that means discovering a new style along the way.

Understanding Natural Light and White Paints 

A house that has a considerable amount of outdoor light can be beautiful, but knowing what paint colors to choose can turn each room into artwork. The cardinal direction of windows in a room can have a dramatic impact on what color will look best. A room with south-facing windows will let in warmer outdoor light, and a north-facing room has cooler outdoor light. Outdoor light coming in through East and West facing windows will change throughout the day, in which case it may be worth making the final decision based on what time of day the room is utilized the most. My advice is to spend time in each of the rooms in your home to better understand how the changing light will alter the appearance of your wall color.

Neutral Paint and White Undertones 

White walls are used very often, but that doesn’t mean the classic look is overdone or outdated. White walls with a warm undertone will create a more relaxing and cozy atmosphere. These white paints have a yellow and red undertone. Cooler white paints make a room feel bright and fresh, and often have undertones that are blue, green, or gray. Avoid painting south-facing rooms with a warmer paint because the warm tones double up and can have an orange look to them. The same principle can be followed with north-facing rooms and a cool white paint. While looking at a color palette, the darkest paint will help determine the undertone of a particular white paint.

Paint Color in Rooms with Less Natural Light

Choose colors lighter in tone for rooms with less natural light to make the space feel larger and brighter. The lighter the color, the more light can be reflected which will help with a house that has fewer windows. Darker paints will make a room that is darker feel even smaller. Choose a glossy finish so that more light will be reflected throughout the room. If you don’t want all of the walls to be the same paint color, choose to incorporate an accent wall that will break up the space. 

Collect Color Palette and Design Inspiration

Find inspiration in images of finished rooms that have a similar design to your desired final product with similar colors. It is helpful to collect plenty of inspiration at the beginning in order to help guide you through the process. Some images may have a color scheme you’re drawn to, and others may convey the right mood you’re trying to achieve. Color palettes online are a great place to start gathering ideas, but going to an interior paint store and bringing home color samples helps you begin to visualize what your space will look like. At this stage no ideas are bad; they’re all inspiration helping you to find the right paint colors.

Complementing Existing Materials in your Home

When choosing an interior paint keep in mind any existing materials in the room. Find a color palette that compliments finished wood floors, brick walls, countertops, and other design elements in the space. Statement furniture bright in color or pattern can clash with louder paint colors. Choose a more muted color to not overpower the statement pieces you’ve collected for your space. This same rule can be applied when art is a main design element to your room. Like a gallery, a white wall can better display artwork on your walls without drawing away the focus. Often a house with more neutral countertops are only made more beautiful by a bolder color palette on the walls.

The Flow of Color 

The flow of a house shifts largely based on color palette. Colors can flow very naturally from room to room like they’re all a part of one singular color scheme transitioning peacefully. Choosing different color tones from a palette of one paint brand is a great way to create a unified style throughout the home. You can break up this flow with a statement room in the middle, or a bright wall visible on the other side of the house, or down a long hallway. Planning the color story of your entire house helps create a nice flow throughout, even if your color scheme has a wide variety. Try talking color swatches for each room and laying them out to visualize the color story all at once. Having this color story is an important step for painting entire houses to maintain a good flow of color.

Visualizing a Color Scheme 

No matter how many inspirational images you’ve collected at some point you have to start visualizing your own space. Sometimes painting directly on the wall is the best way to get a better understanding of how the paint color will look and feel. Collect samples of more colors than you think you will need. Sometimes a brighter or even more subtle shade of the room paint you‘re leaning towards can work better than you would have otherwise thought. It can be easy to get stuck on ideas we think will simply work instead of exploring all of the options available to us, so it’s important to have a little fun during this part of the process and think outside of the box.

Bringing Paint Samples Home

Getting the paint on the wall or even on a piece of cardstock will help you to better understand how the colors will look in different lighting; natural light and artificial light can have a big impact on how the paint colors appear. If you’re struggling to commit to your final decision, go to a paint store and purchase a single quart of each potential paint color to experiment with. You’re already planning on painting the walls, so in my opinion it is worth taking the risk to try out a color in a small spot to help better understand how you feel about the colors.

Determining the Best Paint Finish for each Room

The finish or sheen of a wall paint can also make a big difference on the final look of a room. The five finishes are flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. Flat and matte are not reflective at all, while semi-gloss and gloss are very reflective. Eggshell and satin are mid-range finishes that can be good for multi-purpose spaces. This is an important step because choosing a finish that doesn’t fit the room can easily make a room look inexpensive and diminish the hard work you’ve put into creating your new room. Any paint colors can look great in each paint finish, but there are more factors to take into consideration when making the choice.

The Functionality of Paint Finishes

While taking personal preference into account is always important, when choosing a paint finish it’s crucial to keep the functionality in mind. Kitchen walls can get messy so higher gloss paint finishes make wiping away food splatter and other messes easier. A dining room or rooms that see less use throughout the day are perfect for a midrange finish like eggshell or satin as these walls are less likely to get dirty, and it will create a very clean look. Finishes of the flat side of the spectrum tend to be reserved for rooms with limited use like bedrooms, however it may be beneficial to use a more glossy finish in bedrooms of younger children. Aim for a higher gloss finish for trim and baseboards to make cleaning them efficient.

The Psychology of Paint Colors

The psychology behind paint color is another great way to narrow your search for the perfect wall color. The colors of a room don’t only change the design, but how a room feels. Just because you want a room in your house to be energetic doesn’t mean you have to choose bright paint colors. Sometimes something as simple as a warmer blue accent wall can bring that bright feeling to a space without overpowering the room. Remember that any color can work if used correctly. Black can be a very bold and modern color, but too much in your home can make the interior feel dark and melancholy so use it sparingly if you decide to take the risk.

Colors of the Ceiling 

Often people don’t think to paint their ceiling and in most cases the ceiling in a house is a simple white paint. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with following this tradition in your home; white ceilings will always feel classic. You are, however, more likely to change the colors of a wall while the ceiling stays the same, so a neutral paint color allows you to change the color of the walls without needing to repaint the ceiling. Even in a room with dark walls a white ceiling creates a spacious feeling. Experimenting with different light tones of sky blues and blush pinks can really change the dimension of a room.

A Darker Ceiling Paint

A ceiling that is darker in tone can be beautiful if executed well to create a more sophisticated ambiance. In my experience it’s important to make sure there will be balance in the room when going for darker paint colors on the ceiling by incorporating lighter flooring, furniture, or walls to create contrast and break up the sometimes heavy feeling of the darker colors. If you really want to create a statement, a room, or even a hallway that is fully dark in tone can be visually striking and create a break or divide between two areas of the house.

Accent Wall Paint 

People often gravitate towards accent walls as a simple way to make a bold design decision for their home. It’s important to be thoughtful in your approach to accent walls. When looking for ideas for an accent wall, keep in mind everything we have covered until now. Accent walls can change the mood and style, create depth and space, and help you be in the right mindset for how you’re using a room. Even though it is just one wall, it’s important to be aware how natural lighting, paint finish, and the utilization of a room can make or break the success of an accent wall in your home.

Maintaining Balance in your Home

Identify the other colors and materials at work in the room and make sure that the paint color you choose for your accent wall compliments them. It can be bold, or even a statement wall without drawing too much attention to itself. Even when choosing a brighter paint color your goal should be to maintain a level of balance in the room. Too many loud elements in a single room can be overstimulating and create an  environment that isn’t relaxing. Similar to ceilings, a darker accent wall isn’t something you frequently see in a house, but can be a strong statement. While simple colors paint a great story on their own, an accent wall can liven up a room without being too loud.

Choose Colors that Make you Happy

Now that you’re familiar with the guide, follow it in the best way that works for you. In the end you will be living in the space that you’re choosing colors for, so choose a color scheme that fits you. You may discover you have a favorite paint color and find ways to utilize it in multiple rooms, sprinkling a part of your personality throughout your house. What is your personal style? Are you drawn towards neutral colors? Does an eclectic and bright color palette excite you? Do you want to create an iconic monochromatic kitchen? Your final design says a lot about you and your home, so choose paint colors that create a space which reflects who you are and who you want to be. Ultimately the choice is yours, so don’t choose a paint color just because you think it’s what you’re supposed to choose. Any random ideas that pop into your head throughout this process might be the one that fits you best; your favorite paints for interiors may be unexpected.

Classic Papering & Painting, Inc. is Ready to get Started on your Home

You have your color selections narrowed down and you’re ready to start executing on your design goals. 

Classic Papering & Painting has over 30 years of experience choosing great paint colors and painting the interior of homes in the Columbus area. For years we have been turning the vision of our clients into a reality. If you’re still struggling to make the final decision, reach out to us about our free color consulting services. We can help you make the final selection of paint choices, or our skilled team can suggest some paints and colors that we believe will best fulfill your vision. We can assist you with everything from exterior home painting to kitchen cabinets. Our team of expert painters is committed to using quality products and maintaining the same quality of work across every project. Contact us for a free estimate and to learn more about our services. 

Contact Us

Contact Classic Papering & Painting, Inc. 614-221-0505 or fill out the form on our website for your free estimate.