How to Choose Paint Colors

Picking the right colors is not as simple as just choosing what you like. When deciding on shades that suit your rooms, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Learn how colors relate to one another: The color wheel is an interior design tool that shows 12 colors spread evenly around the perimeter of a circle. The colors next to each other on the wheel are called analogous and are thought to work well together. Colors opposite each other on the wheel are called complementary and are considered contrasting colors.
  • Know warm colors from cool colors: Warm colors, such as browns, reds, oranges, and yellows, tend to make rooms feel more inviting. Thus, they’re popular choices for kitchens and dining rooms. Cool colors, including the numerous shades of white and beige as well as greens, blues, and purples, are considered quiet and tranquil. They’re often used to make small rooms appear bigger and warm rooms feel cooler.
  • When in doubt, choose light-colored trim and white ceilings: The consistent look of light or white trim and ceilings unifies a multiroom color scheme, especially if you use a number of different wall colors.
  • Pick accent colors: Often bright and deep, accent colors are used in small doses, as highlights. They’re generally not meant to dominate large areas.
Guidelines for choosing exterior paint colors:

  • Use a color wheel (above) or a fan deck (from FreshPaint by Gil or local paint store) to get some starting ideas
  • Consider your neighbors' colors, you do not want to choose the same colors but maybe choose one that will complement or harmonize with your neighbors colors.
  • Pick out at least three colors that you prefer (remember trim and door color)
  • Consider the colors of existing structures like your roof, stone and architectural accents
  • Remember light colors will make your home seem larger, darker colors smaller
  • Brighter colors will fade over time especially in sunbelt regions, so keep that in mind
  • Darker colors will absorb more heat that lighter colors
  • Always buy a sample before purchasing gallons of paint, it will save you time and money

Guidelines for choosing interior paint colors:

  • Yellow's oranges and reds are warm
  • Greens, blues and purples are cool
  • Lighter colors like white and pastels make a room feel bright, open and airy, use these in a smaller area
  • Darker colors like red, brown will make a room feel smaller and cozy, use these in a larger area
  • Remember to consider your furniture and any large fixtures that are in the room.
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