There’s a lot out there about paint color. Read on for some general tips, what to do & what not to do when choosing paint colors for your home.
Do you have a small space you’d like to add some color to?
A general rule of thumb is that whites and light colors work well in small rooms because they give the appearance of airiness. Another effect is that they also make rooms look larger than they are, generally speaking. With that said, there are some situations in which whites may actually do the opposite for a small space. A room can end up looking boxy and bland, depending on its size and whether or not there is natural light coming in and how the existing lighting in the room illuminates. If the white shows shadows and dark spots or brings out the darkness in corners, it can have a bad effect. On the other hand, white accents are never a bad choice, such as on baseboards, crown molding, door frames or white furniture.
Neutrals are an excellent contender for small rooms. Keep in mind though, the same white paint principle applies in this situation as well. The tone (which can also be referred to as value or lightness) of the neutral is a good indicator as to whether or not it will suit a small space. Depending on how much gray is applied to a color (when making/ mixing it) will affect its overall tone. Colors with darker tones may not make a room look larger, but will make a room seem smaller and darker. A warm neutral, which would have a medium to light tone, will reflect light better and have a good effect on the space it’s in.
Different from color tones are the following:
- tint-a color after white has been added
- shade-a color after black has been added
- value-lightness or darkness of a color
- saturation-intensity of a color (vibrancy)
What about a large space?
Large spaces can afford more experimentation than smaller ones. A good rule of thumb for a large space is to color the space from dark to light, vertically. So, place darker colors on the floor, medium colors in the middle of the room (walls, furniture, drapery) and the lightest of all colors at the ceiling. Perhaps the tell all in this situation is your style, what kinds of fabrics you have and how your lighting is. A large room can look good white, just as it can look good in a darker green shade.
Here’s a look at color theory:
A list of what not to do when choosing paint colors:
- Don’t pick a color you only like a little bit, you have to like it a lot; you should love it!
- Red may not be the best choice for a small space-the energy put off by red hues can be overwhelming.
- Ceiling height, window size and placement can effect how a color looks in a room; do not use an inspiration picture without considering how your room differs from that of the inspiration. The lighting in a professional picture is not equal to that of real life, a.k.a. the rooms in your home. Furniture pieces and accents can also play a role in the overall product.
- Don’t paint without testing the color first!
- Don’t pick the paint color first. Know what you have to work with (fabrics, lighting, size of space) first, then pick a color.
- Don’t choose a color that is too bright or saturated. Hues that are vibrant look great on small decorative pieces and maybe furniture. However, when applied to walls, it can appear a lot stronger and will bring too much to a space and seem overwhelming.
- Don’t paint without considering the whole house. A blue room may not translate well to a red room on the other side of the wall.
- Don’t get too trendy. If you see a color or style repeated in numerous places, maybe try to change it up for your space. Some trends can last, but others fade. Don’t fall into the trap just because everyone is doing it.
To dos and general tips:
- Use the 60-30-10 rule, which is: 60% of a room is the main color, 30% is the secondary color and the accent color makes up 10%.
- Understand the basics of color: warm hues vs. cool hues and how they interact as well as the feel and mood they emulate.
- Ceilings don’t always need to stay untouched. In certain situations, think of the ceiling as the 5th wall in a room!
- Don’t pick colors based on the fact that you like them. If you do, make sure that they work for the space they’re in. For example, a red bedroom might not create a calm and serene effect.
- Natural daylighting shows the truest color of a hue, while fluorescent lighting emits a blueish tone and incandescent lighting draws out the warmer tones and yellows in hues.
- Check out this article about painting rooms on the insightful blog, The Art of Home Renovations!