In this blog post, I thought I’d share some considerations when choosing interior paint colors (I’ll post at another time about choosing exterior paint colors).   As you probably know, paint is a great way to drastically change the look of a space and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other renovation projects.   In the home staging world we often call paint “money in a can” because a fresh coat of paint, in the right color, will often result in a home being much more appealing to targeted buyers, which leads to a quick sale at top dollar – what a great Return on Investment (ROI)!    Here are some key things to consider when choosing paint colors:

1.      Inspiration Piece – Do you have an inspiration piece in the room(s) to which you’d like to coordinate the paint color?   Examples of this could be:   bedding, artwork, rugs, furniture pieces, countertops, etc.   Having an inspiration piece can be very helpful when choosing a color because it can provide a foundation for color-matching and choosing a color scheme; however, if you do not have an inspiration piece, paint colors can still be selected using some of the remaining considerations below.

2.      Fixed elements – You’ll want to consider the fixed elements in the room (i.e. flooring, cabinets, architectural features, etc) to understand if they’re more “warm” or “cool.”   If your kitchen cabinets are a warmer wood, i.e. “oak,” and they are going to remain in the space, you would not want to choose a cooler color such as a cool gray as it would not look and feel right with the warm oak cabinets.

3.      Northern/Southern/Eastern/Western exposure – You’ll want to consider if your home/room is north/south/east/west facing as the different natural light exposures cast a different color to your rooms, and it can vary throughout the day.  For example, if the direction of light is from the North, there will be a bluish cast to the light which will impact how the paint color looks on the walls.   You’ll also want to consider the artificial light choices (incandescent vs. halogen vs. fluorescent) as they will also play a role in how a color looks in a room.

4.      Light Reflective Value (LRV) – Paint colors are assigned a light reflective value which, simply put, measures a value of light that a paint color reflects.   Knowing a color’s LRV is helpful when coordinating colors or creating a mood.  For example, if you have a theater room in your home that you want to be darker when watching movies (vs. a light and bright room), you would choose a paint color with a lower LRV as it will absorb the paint color more vs. reflecting it.

5.      How do you want the room the feel? –  You will want to think of 3-4 adjectives to describe how you want the room to feel.  Do you want it to be “cozy” and “warm” or maybe “bright” and “energetic?”  Really think about the feelings you want to evoke when you’re in the room(s).  These adjectives/feelings can help point you in the direction of choosing colors that create those feelings in the room(s).  You would also need to ensure the colors you choose will complement the colors of the adjacent rooms, whether you’re painting them or not.

6.      Do you like the colors? – Last, but certainly not least, do your eyes go right to certain colors when you’re exploring paint chips or color fan decks.  What is pleasing to you?   A certified color consultant, like me, can help you choose colors that will work in a space, but ultimately the colors have to be pleasing to you since you will live with them after the walls are painted.    It’s important to remember that the colors will look different at various times of day based on some of the information I mentioned above.

Before I became a Certified Color Consultant, there were certainly times when I wasted $ on paint only to be disappointed with the final outcome on my walls.  I finally got smart and would purchase some samples to view on my walls before making a final decision.  I didn’t realize that there is a science to choosing colors for your interior spaces; I now love teaching people about the science of color and helping them choose colors that will work in their homes, whether for dwelling or selling.   Please feel free to contact me for more information on a color consultation.  We will have fun while choosing colors!

Also, if you’d like to receive a free worksheet to help guide you in choosing paint colors yourself or to complete prior to a color consultation, please subscribe to my email list below to receive your FREE worksheet!


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6 thoughts on “Choosing Interior Paint Colors

  • January 24, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Good suggestions!

  • February 22, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    Great advice, Jeanne! I’m always drawn to blues, grays and whites. I think it refers to that ‘feeling’ you mention.

    • February 22, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      Yes, you normally know what you like and then it’s about seeing if it will work in the space, complement nearby rooms, etc. Glad you liked this advice!

  • February 22, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Wow, I think there’s more to selection of paint for home, than I ever realized, “A Science in color”. All six of tips listed are enormously helpful. I find viewing all the small color cards in the paint stores too confusing. I’d prefer to hire a reputable “Certified Color Consultant” to assist in my color choices.
    As I read blog, I had a flashback on my selection of a WRONG color years ago – it was a bright lime green/yellow in my bathroom. Uggggh! I ultimately had to correct it.
    A few months ago, I purchased 3 different samples of paint, which eased my choice for newly painted walls in my condo’s living room! I love how it came out and it’s very stylish.

    • February 22, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Yes, there’s definitely a science to choosing colors, and we’ve all had our experience of not knowing how best to choose colors, resulting in mistakes that made us cringe. As mentioned in the post, I’ve done it myself years ago, before becoming a color consultant. Glad you’re happy with your recent choices; samples are a good idea.

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