How to Pick Paint Colors for Interior Rooms

So, you’re ready to mix things up and paint your interior rooms? You’ve scoured the décor pages on Instagram, paged through various decorating magazines at length, created a board on Pinterest, and spent hours online trying to find inspiration. Painting interior rooms or adding a pop of color can dramatically transform your space, making it feel as good as new.

However, if you have never painted a room before or chosen a new color palette, the task can feel a bit daunting. Go into any paint shop, and the paint sample charts available can be pretty overwhelming. “With so many options on hand, how can I ever choose?” you ponder as you scratch your head, envisioning a million different scenarios and an array of room colors.

Do not despair! This is a familiar feeling for anyone wanting to redecorate their home. While there certainly are many choices around, several hacks and tips can help you pick the perfect paint colors for your interior rooms.

So, if you are looking for paint color advice, then this is the article for you! Follow these tips when choosing the right colors for the job! And above all, remember to have some fun. Color, after all, is a pretty magical thing and is here to be enjoyed. As the famous artist, Paul Gaugin once said, “color, what a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams!”

Allow color to help you to create your dream space! Now more than ever, when many of us are staying at home, our homes should be our sanctuary. With these tips, you’re bound to find a color that delights.

Choose Colors that You Love 

A great point of departure when choosing a color scheme is to choose colors that you love. Think about the colors you naturally gravitate towards. Are you a fan of muted, understated colors that offer the essence of sophistication and calm? Are you more inspired by bold pops of color and bright patterns? or do you like something in between? It is always a good idea to visit a paint shop and browse their color samples.

As you look at the colors around you, take note of where your eye is drawn and take these cards home. Choosing colors that delight you will boost your mood and make you feel like your house is truly a home.

As architect and designer Nate Berkus once said, “your home should tell the story of who you are and be a collection of what you love.”

Man painting wall

Think About Color Theory 

You don’t have to be an expert interior designer or have color theory training to get value out of color theory. In essence, these guidelines are used by designers to find out what colors work best together. Using a color wheel, which reflects different colors and their varying hues, you can explore the fascinating relationship between primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), secondary colors (mixed with the primary colors – orange, green, and purple), and every hue between.

You can also decide whether you want complementary colors (which offer a strong contrast), a monochromatic theme (with shades of the same hue), or analogous colors representing three colors next to each other on the wheel.

Excitingly, there are a few online color wheels that you can play around with, and this might inspire you to find combinations that you love.

Color consultant Bonnie Krims also has another handy tip, suggesting that a great place to start is thinking about the seven colors on the paint spectrum. These colors are red, yellow, orange, green, indigo, violet, and blue. Start by deciding on the colors you don’t want. This elimination can make choosing your paint a little easier by narrowing down your options.

Consider How Color Psychology Might Impact Your Mood

There is a great deal of research about the psychology behind colors and how they impact our feelings and attitudes. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, editor and co-founder of the popular website apartment therapy, whole-heartedly believes in these theories. As a guide, she suggests that social rooms where people congregate (like lounges, dining rooms, kitchens, and family rooms) should be painted in warmer shades of orange, yellow, and coral, and private rooms (like bathrooms, offices, or bedrooms) in cooler shades, like blue, sage, or violet.

However, color is arguably a very personal thing, and what is calming to one person might invoke anxiety in the next. So while color psychology is interesting, you’ll want to stick to the colors that you love. Luckily, there are no rules when it comes to painting your home, so if you wish to use cooler shades in the lounger and warmer tones in the bedroom, that’s your prerogative.

Think About Your Furniture and Existing Color Scheme 

Unless you are planning to reupholster couches and change your existing furniture, you will want to choose colors that complement your existing furniture. For example, if you have patterned pillows in your lounge, it’s a good idea to bring the pillow cover into the paint store. Pick out two or three colors in the pattern that you love. For example, if your pillow is cream, duck egg blue, and yellow, pick three strips that include these colors. Immediately, you will have around 15 different color options to explore, and excitingly, these will already compliment your décor and color theme.

Once the three strips have been selected, you will want to choose four colors. Color one will be the primary color that you paint your walls. Colors two and three will be used as inspiration for further furnishings such as pillows and artworks, and color four can be used for an accent wall or as a pop of color that thematically works throughout the house. By offering accents of a particular color throughout the home, you create cohesion between your rooms, even if the wall color and furnishings are different.

Test the Color on Your Wall 

Before repainting your entire wall, room, or even home, it is a good idea to sample your chosen paint. Paint a section of your wall and see if you like the results for at least a few days before taking the plunge. This will allow you to see what the color looks like at different times of day and enable you to see how it interacts with your furniture and finishing.

While paint strips are a super handy guide, you need to see the paint in action on your wall to make an informed decision.

Remember, You Can Change it Whenever You Want 

While you probably do not want to be painting and repainting your walls every six months, no paint job is permanent. As life goes on, our styles change, and this is the exciting thing about décor. This lack of permanency (if you so wish) can be a fantastic catalyst and inspire you to make bolder, more creative choices. If you don’t like it a year down the line, you can easily paint over it.

Take Small Risks to Start 

If you have been dreaming of a bold color room but are scared to take the plunge, start small. Experiment with a signature wall in a bold tone or add pops of color to features like skirting boards and windowsills. You can go as big or small as you like when it comes to redecorating your space.

Let Wainscoting Inspire You  

If your walls contain a wainscot (wooden paneling on the wall’s lower part), you can use this as a divider between two colors. Wainscoting usually allows you to get creative and create a contrast between lighter and darker shades. Choose between a darker wainscot with a lighter upper wall or a lighter wainscot with a bold upper wall. This can create a dramatic element in any room and allow you to experiment with brighter or more daring colors without having o paint an entire room or wall. If you do not have a wainscot, you can create the illusion of one by painting the upper two-thirds and the lower third of your wall in two different colors.

Consider an Accent Wall or Even an Accent Wallpaper 

If you are ready to make a statement but don’t want to paint the whole room, an accent wall might work wonderfully. Opt for a bright or vivid wall if the others are neutral shades, or go for a wall that’s a couple of shades darker than the others. This gives your space a splash of creativity, giving you a contemporary and confident edge. If you want even more punch, opt to use wallpaper on your signature wall.

Here you can include patterns, embellishments, vibrant colors, and floral designs. The world of wallpaper is vast indeed, and there truly is something for everyone. It works particularly well as a signature wall as it won’t overwhelm the space.

Pretty young woman putting paint roller

Don’t Forget Your Ceiling 

Just because the ceiling is above your head, it doesn’t mean it should be neglected. Many designers see the ceiling as an additional wall, albeit a topsy-turvy one. If you have a very low ceiling, you will want to paint it white to give the illusion of greater height. Be sure to also paint the crown molding (the raised part where the wall and ceiling meet) the same color as your wall, as this will ensure a smooth transition between the two colors.

If you want to get creative and have a slightly larger space, you might also choose to paint it lighter than your wall color. Two shades lighter on the sample chart should do the trick.

When it comes to the actual painting, once you have chosen your dream colors, you can either do it yourself if you’re feeling confident or entrust the task to a professional decorator.


When it comes to redecorating, there are many things to consider. These questions might help you when it comes to picking the right paint colors for interior rooms.

What colors make a room look bigger and brighter?

Space is a constraint in many homes and apartments worldwide, and decorating smaller spaces can be a little tricky with regard to choosing furniture and colors. However, small rooms can certainly pack a punch and have more potential than we give them credit. As interior designer Sonu Mathew reveals, “A small space can be a wonderful jewel box.”

By choosing the right colors, you can enhance even the smallest spaces and make them spectacular. Some great options to make a room look bigger and brighter include:

  • Crisp whites: Crisp shades of white can make a room look bigger and brighter. White works particularly well in rooms with a source of natural light.
  • Cool blues: Cooler hues like blues and grays can make a room feel airy and light, creating an illusion of more space. Interestingly, cooler shades can create a receding effect on the walls, making space look bigger.
  • Chalky Charcoals: While you might think dark colors immediately make a room look smaller, in some instances, they can really work wonders, primarily when used as a complementary color with a lighter main shade. If there is no natural light in a room, a charcoal shade can, in fact, make space look more intimate. This works particularly well in North-facing rooms.

Pro tip: You can paint the ceiling, doors, and trim in the same color to create the illusion of more space. However, if you’re going for a darker color, keep the ceilings light, as a dark ceiling could shrink the space.

Should the entire house be painted the same color?

While neutral colors are great and work well in many rooms of a house, playing it too safe can take away some of your home’s personality. As designer Betsy Brown divulges, “You have to interject elements that add intense personality. Make it gutsy, or else it’s boring.” While you want connectivity between the rooms, it’s also essential that each room has its own identity.

The process is about finding a balance. You don’t want dramatically different color schemes or themes between your rooms and want to retain an element of connection. Nonetheless, it’s also fun to add pops of color to different spaces. Still, these can be colors that complement each other or even colors within the same hue.

What color paint will make a room brighter?

A dull room can bring you down, but happily, there are a few ways to brighten things up with color. These options might help you to brighten things up:

  • Sunshine city: If you want to really brighten things up, you need a pop of sunshine. Sunny yellow hues or cozy terracottas can brighten a space immediately. These work particularly well in areas without much clutter and lighter furniture.
  • Light ceilings: Painting your ceiling in soft hues of cream, green, yellow, or gold can make your space seem more significant. Avoid dark colors on the ceiling. Interestingly, some stark whites might contain elements of gray, and these could darken your room. You might also consider warmer whites or creams.
  • The art of reflection: You can also utilize natural light to make your space seem brighter. Paints with a glossy finish will reflect light, and this will immediately make your room brighter.

Top tip: Also add mirrors and lightly colored furniture to the mix to brighten your space further.

How many paint colors should a house have?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to paint colors, and thank goodness for that. If all houses followed the same rules, things would be pretty dull. Each home and each homeowner’s personality are different, and this is why there is no hard and fast rule set in stone.

One color can undoubtedly create a sense of connection throughout the house, but if you’re more creative, it might feel a little dull over time. If you opt for one shade throughout your home, you’ll have to get creative with regards to furniture, décor, fabrics, and design.

When it comes to design rules, you probably shouldn’t have more than five standard colors on the walls in your room. This can create a somewhat chaotic and overwhelming feeling. In some ways, less is more. Choose shades that work well together. If you cannot decide on a color theme and are wanting a more neutral feel, there are some fantastic shades. According to Benjamin Moore Paints, popular neutral shades include:

Neutral shades 

  • Gray
  • Beige
  • White or cream
  • Earthy tones
  • Tan

If you want more color, you might consider these hues:

  • Light blues
  • Sage greens
  • Charcoal
  • Warm yellow

For the bold at heart, think about:

  • Red
  • Burgundy
  • Black
  • Emerald
  • Gold
  • Orange
  • Navy

Naturally, you can decide how much of a particular color you want. Bolder options make great accent walls, and bigger spaces can usually handle more dramatic color choices. Remember also to add accents of your chosen color theme to décor, trinkets, flowers, plants, artwork, vases, curtains, and other feature pieces.

If you have ever wondered, “what color should I paint my room?” or “what color should I paint my living room?”, follow this guide. Most important of all, choose colors that spark joy. When it comes to interior paint colors, choose something that brings you happiness and makes you feel like your space is truly your own.

Original Post – Decor Hacks