Painting your home is a big project, so it’s important to get it right the first time. Start with a crucial element—your rug, a piece of art or a fabric—and let it guide your color choices.
Test swatches on your walls before committing to the paint and consider how colors look in different lighting. You don’t want any regrets later!
Colors to Avoid
The colors you choose for your home will set the tone for how people interact with it. The wrong shades can make a space feel too dark, too bright or just plain off.
For example, neon hues are having a moment in fashion but could turn off potential buyers. “The colors are so bold and abrasive that they can overwhelm the senses,” says Full Moon Loom designer Crystal Sinclair.
To avoid making such a big mistake, test your paint swatches in the room where you plan to use them. And remember that lighting can dramatically change a color, so it’s important to see it in both natural and artificial light.
Despite their bland reputation, neutrals are actually incredibly versatile. You can find them in a range of tints and shades that work to add depth, dimension and even texture to rooms.
Choose paint colors that complement your home’s natural elements, such as wood furniture and flooring. This helps to unify spaces and create a feeling of openness, says Nash.
When looking at paint samples, take the time to study the undertones of each shade. Often, these are hard to see on the sample strip, but they can make or break your design.
It’s also important to consider your space’s light conditions, and whether the room gets sunlight or not. Warmer, sunny tones can come across as too bright if there isn’t enough natural light in the space.
While it’s traditional to think of paint colors as warm or cool, the spectrum actually runs much wider than that. Bright oranges, yellows, and reds feel energizing, while earth tones like greens and grays are soothing and neutral.
Choosing a color for your space is a big decision and it can be tricky to find a hue that will work for an entire room, let alone your whole home. That’s why many designers recommend using large decor pieces like rugs, furniture, and cabinetry as your inspiration.
They’ll give you a sense of the colors that can complement or contrast with one another, making it easier to choose complementary shades. Just be sure to sample your options in natural and artificial light, as undertones can vary by illumination.
When choosing paint colors, it’s best to start with the overall look you want for your home. This can help you avoid second guessing your color choices room-by-room and save time when you’re ready to make future decor decisions, such as flooring or new furniture.
Then think about the functionality of each room and what kind of mood you’re looking for. Color psychology can play a role here, too; colors that are close together on the color wheel are analogous and will create a calm room while colors that are farther apart on the wheel are complementary and add drama.
Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite colors, ask for samples at the paint counter. Don’t forget to consider your lighting and how it will affect the shade you choose.
When selecting paint colors, make sure you see them in the space where they will be painted. It is worth a few dollars to get a small sample pot at your local paint counter so that you can try the color in your room’s unique lighting and with your existing furniture and decor, says Nash.
Remember to choose a shade that goes well with the color of your home’s wood detailing, trim, carpeting and adjacent colors as these are elements that will stay in place for a long time, says Nash. Using the principles of color psychology to nurture the function of your spaces will create beautifully purposeful rooms that you feel at ease in.