home decor

How to Choose the Perfect Paint Colours for Every Room

Choosing a new paint colour may seem like a simple home improvement project, but settling on the perfect shade can be surprisingly tricky. The colours you choose for your walls and trim have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of each room. So, it's important to put some thought into the paint selection process.

Follow this guide to learn the basics of colour psychology, explore complementary colour schemes, and get tips for testing paint colours. With the right approach, you'll be able to confidently pick paint colours.

Understanding Colour Psychology

Before diving into specific paint colours, it helps to have a basic grasp of colour psychology. The colours you choose can influence both mood and perception of a space. Here are some common colour associations to keep in mind:

  • Red – Energising, passionate, bold. Red is associated with increased appetite, so it can be a good choice for dining rooms.
  • Orange – Friendly, energetic, warm. Orange fosters social interaction, making it ideal for living rooms.
  • Yellow – Cheerful, optimistic, fresh. Yellow stimulates mental clarity and concentration, useful in-home offices.
  • Green – Balanced, tranquil, natural. Green is said to ease anxiety and promote healing, perfect for bedrooms.
  • Blue – Calming, peaceful, orderly. Blue lowers heart rate and aids relaxation, so it works well in bathrooms.
  • Purple – Sophisticated, spiritual, creative. Purple encourages imagination and inventiveness, great for playrooms.
  • White – Clean, fresh, open. White makes spaces feel airy and peaceful. It's versatile in any room.
  • Gray – Neutral, subtle, elegant. Gray creates an anchoring backdrop that pairs with many accent colours.

Use this as a general guide when selecting colours for different rooms. For example, cooking in a bright red kitchen may feel intense, while a blue dining room promotes relaxation and conversation at mealtimes.

Exploring the Colour Wheel

Another helpful tool for choosing colours is the colour wheel. The wheel shows the relationship between primary, secondary, and tertiary colours. You can use it to identify complementary colour harmonies.

  • Primary colours - Red, yellow and blue. These can't be created by mixing other colours. Primaries are bold and form the foundation of most colour schemes.
  • Secondary colours - Green, orange and purple. These are created by mixing two primaries. For example, red and yellow make orange. Secondary colours are easier on the eyes than primaries.
  • Tertiary colours - Made by mixing a primary with a secondary, like red-orange or blue green. Tertiaries are subtle and sophisticated.
  • Complementary colours - Opposite on the colour wheel, like red and green or blue and orange. These create a vibrant contrast. Complementary colours naturally draw the eye.
  • Analogous colours - Next to each other on the wheel, like blue, blue-green and green. This creates a harmonious scheme. Analogous colours deliver a cohesive aesthetic.
  • Triadic colours - Equidistant on the wheel, like red, yellow and blue. This combination provides strong visual contrast. Triadic colours are vibrant yet balanced.

Choosing Colours for the Space and Lighting

The size and lighting of a room should also inform your colour choices. Dark colours tend to feel dreary and confining in small spaces with limited natural light. Pale neutrals or light blues and greens often work better in those cases.

North-facing rooms with little direct sun call for bright, warm paint colours to compensate. Yellows, oranges, and reds add energy. South or west-facing spaces with abundant light can handle deeper, cooler hues without feeling too dark and dramatic.

Interior lighting matters too. Yellow or green walls will complement warm incandescent bulbs, while cool LED lighting works nicely with blues and purples. Be sure to test your colours with both natural and artificial light to see the full effect.

Testing Potential Paint Colours

When you've narrowed down the options, purchase sample sizes of your top picks. Paint strips only provide so much information. You need to view larger swatches in the actual room to make the best decision.

Follow these tips for properly testing paint colours:

  • Paint 2x2 foot squares directly on the wall and let them fully dry. This shows the real colour better than tiny strips.
  • Check the samples at different times of day and seasons. Natural light changes the appearance.
  • View colours from across the room and up close. They may seem different at various distances.
  • Paint samples on multiple walls. Colours look different on each wall surface.
  • Compare samples next to trim/furnishings to ensure everything complements.
  • Use an entire sample can to paint a whole wall if you're still uncertain.

Don't rush into a final paint purchase until you've seen the swatches on your walls under real lighting conditions. Take your time with this important step.

Finding Colour Inspiration

If you need some inspiration before selecting paint swatches, look for ideas in the following places:

  • Interior design magazines - Flip through back issues or blogs to see what's trending. Create a mood board of appealing rooms.
  • Model homes - Builder showrooms showcase the latest popular paint colours in staged rooms. Take photos for reference.
  • Online images - Search "living room colour schemes" or "bedroom paint colours" to find what appeals to you visually. Save favourites.
  • Fabrics/furniture - Choose a colour from an area rug, sofa, or other furnishings you want to build around. Matching paint to existing items brings unity.
  • Nature - Think of shades seen in your favourite landscape or flower that evoke positive feelings. Mimic the outdoors.

You can pull colours from almost anything. Don't be afraid to get creative as you explore the possibilities.

Current Paint Colour Trends

If you want to choose fashionable hues, consider incorporating these current colour trends for 2023 in your home:

  • Earthy neutrals like beige, brown and taupe
  • Sage green and forest-inspired shades
  • Warm terracotta, rust and brick red
  • All shades of blue from pale to cobalt
  • Bold black in dramatic accent walls or trim

Vintage colour palettes also remain popular this year. Think muted rose, soft yellow, sage and moody jade. Gray and white remain classic choices that stand the test of time.

Paint It Right

Choosing paint colours may seem daunting at first. But armed with some colour psychology knowledge, an understanding of colour harmonies, and tips for properly sampling shades, you can make paint decisions you'll love.

Remember to:

  • Consider the mood you want to create and how the colours will look in your space's unique lighting.
  • Experiment with paint samples at different times and locations before fully committing.
  • Draw inspiration from design trends and colours seen in your existing furnishings and favourites found in nature or decor.

Trust your instincts, embrace the process, and have fun with it! For more decorating ideas and inspiration, explore the other posts in our interior design blog series. What paint projects are you tackling next?

Author Name
La Redoute,