Choosing Interior Paint Colours

Selecting the right paint colours for your home is an important decision that has an effect on overall ambiance and atmosphere of your living spaces. Whether you’re planning a complete home makeover or a simple room refresh, understanding the psychology of colour and how to create coordinated colour schemes can have a huge impact on the outcome of your project. In this post, we will take a look at the step-by-step process of choosing interior paint colours that work together to create a harmonious and visually appealing environment in your home.

The Psychology of Colour

Before diving into the practical aspects of selecting paint colours, let’s briefly explore the psychology of colour. Colours have the power to inspire emotions and influence our mood. For instance, warm colours like reds, oranges, and yellows can create a sense of energy and warmth, while cool colours like blues and greens tend to represent calm and relaxation. Understanding the psychological impact of colours is essential because the paint colours you choose will set the tone for your room. With this in mind, let’s look in detail at how to create harmonious and inviting colour schemes for your home.

Assessing Your Space

The first step in choosing the perfect paint colours for your home is to assess the space you’re working with. Every room has its unique characteristics that can influence colour choices. Consider the following factors:

  1. Room Size and Lighting: Larger rooms can handle bolder and darker colours, while smaller spaces will probably benefit from lighter shades to create a sense of openness. Additionally, take note of the natural lighting in the room, as it can affect how paint colours appear.
  2. Architectural Features: Consider the architectural elements in the room, such as trims, molding, and built-in fixtures. Decide whether these elements should blend in or stand out with contrasting colours.
  3. Room’s Purpose: Think about the function of the room. For example, bedrooms benefit from calming and soothing colours, while kitchens and dining areas may benefit from more stimulating ones.

The Colour Wheel and Basics of Colour Theory

Now that you’ve assessed your space, it’s time to look closely at the basics of colour theory and the colour wheel. The colour wheel is a useful tool that organizes colours in a circle, making it easier to understand how different colours relate to each other. It’s a great tool for creating colour schemes with harmony.

The colour wheel includes primary colours (red, blue, yellow), secondary colours (green, orange, purple), and tertiary colours (colours created by mixing primary and secondary colours). When creating a colour scheme, you should consider the following:

  1. Complementary Colours: Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as red and green or blue and orange. Using complementary colours can create dynamic and visually striking contrasts.
  2. Analogous Colours: Analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel, such as blue, green, and teal. They create a harmonious and cohesive look in a room.
  3. Monochromatic Colours: Monochromatic colour schemes involve using variations of a single colour. This creates a sense of unity and simplicity.

Selecting a Dominant Colour

With your newfound knowledge of colour theory, it’s time to choose a dominant colour for the room. The dominant colour will be the primary hue that sets the tone for the space. Here are some considerations when selecting a dominant colour:

  • Personal Preference: Start with your personal preferences. What colours resonate with you and make you feel comfortable? Your home should reflect your style and taste.
  • Room’s Purpose: Consider the intended function of the room. If it’s a bedroom, you might want calming and soothing colors like soft blues or muted greys. For a lively living room, you might opt for warm and inviting shades like earthy tones or rich reds.
  • Existing Decor: Take into account any existing furniture, decor, or artwork in the room. Your dominant colour should complement these elements and create a cohesive look.

Choosing Accent Colours

While the dominant colour sets the tone, accent colours add depth and visual interest to your space. These colors should harmonize with the dominant colour and can be used for accessories, furniture, or even an accent wall. When choosing accent colours:

  • Contrasting Colours: Opt for colours that contrast with the dominant colour to create a visually appealing balance. For example, if your dominant colour is a soothing gray, a pop of vibrant yellow or turquoise can be striking.
  • Tone-on-Tone: Consider using shades and tints of the dominant colour for a subtle and sophisticated look. This approach creates a sense of harmony without overwhelming the space.

Creating Colour Flow

To ensure a seamless transition between rooms with different colour schemes, it’s good practice to create colour flow throughout your home. Colour flow means that the colours in one room complement or connect with the colours in adjacent rooms. It doesn’t mean that all rooms must be the exact same colour scheme. Here’s how to achieve it:

  • Use a Common Colour: Choose a colour that appears in each room as a connecting thread. It could be a wall colour, a piece of furniture, or an accessory.
  • Gradual Transition: If you want to change colour schemes from room to room, use transitional spaces, like hallways, to gradually shift from one colour to another.
  • Consistent Undertones: Select colours with similar undertones (warm or cool) for a cohesive look, even if the actual colours differ.

Testing Paint Samples

Before making your final paint colour decision, it’s important to test paint samples in your home. Paint colours can appear different under various lighting conditions, so it’s essential to see how they look in your specific space. Here are some tips for testing paint samples:

  • Paint Large Areas: *Paint a sizable area with your chosen samples. This allows you to see the colour in context.
  • Observe at Different Times: Check how the colours look in the morning, afternoon, and evening, as natural and artificial lighting can affect their appearance.
  • Consider Existing Furnishings: Place paint samples near your existing furniture, decor, and flooring to see how they harmonise.

*A note on samples: Rather than painting directly onto the wall, I paint my samples on sheets of paper that can be pinned to the wall and moved around to different areas of the room. The main reason being, that I once painted a dark sample shade onto a wall, changed my mind, opted for a lighter colour and it took quite some time and a lot of paint to cover up the dark patch on the wall! I didn’t do that again!!

Putting It All Together

Now that you’ve assessed your space, explored colour theory, selected a dominant colour, and chosen accent colours, it’s time to put it all together. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a harmonious colour scheme for your room:

  1. Start with the Dominant Colour: Apply the chosen dominant color to the walls. This will be the foundation of your colour scheme.
  2. Add Accent Colours: Incorporate accent colours through decor, furniture, and accessories. Consider throw pillows, artwork, rugs, and curtains.
  3. Balance the Palette: Ensure a balance between the dominant and accent colours. Aim for a good visual distribution of colours throughout the room.
  4. Test the Look: Step back and assess the overall look. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired harmony.

Inspirational Colour Schemes

Let’s take a look at some examples of homes that have successfully implemented the principles of creating harmonious colour schemes.

Relaxing, calm colours with green and blue accents
Rich, dark tones with complimentary coloured
Complimentary colours of green and coral
Contrasting shades of orange and blue

Choosing paint colours for your home is about more than just aesthetics; it’s about creating an environment that you can connect with and enhances your well-being. By understanding the psychology of colour, assessing your space, and following the principles of colour theory, you can create inviting colour schemes for your living spaces.
Remember that your home should be a reflection of your personality and style. While it may be helpful to consider the principles shown here, don’t be afraid to get creative. Experiment with different colour palettes, test paint samples, and find what feels right for you.

I hope this step-by-step guide has provided you with the knowledge and confidence to experiment with colour. If you’d like to dive deeper into colour theory and get some design inspiration, check out Zahira Cury of D.Signers. Her video is sure to give you some further inspiration.
If you have any comments on this post or would like to share some of your ideas and experiences, please leave your comment below.

Happy painting!


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