DIY Network

Painting 101

How to Choose a Wall Color

Deciding on the right color for a room can be a hard choice. Make the choice easier by learning these tips on how to choose color, and how to use a color wheel.

More in Painting

one side of color wheel has cool blue based hues

The Color Wheel
The colors on one side of the color wheel are cool, blue-based hues; the ones on the other side are warm, yellow-based colors. They shade progressively around the wheel.

Any color's opposite on the wheel is its complementary color. If you wish, you can use complementary colors in your design scheme, but these highly contrasting colors work best a child's bedroom or powder room.

Colors located next to each other are related colors. They give a monochromatic look, which can be dramatic -- but which can also, unfortunately, be boring. If you plan on using a monochromatic color scheme, be sure to use lots of texture to make up for the lack of color variety.

Choosing Color for Furniture and Accessories
When choosing furniture and accessories, choose the fabrics first. This allows you to take any color from the fabric and use it on the walls. It's a simple matter to take a swatch to the paint store and have any color matched.

Color for a Dark Room
If you have a room that doesn't get much natural light and you want the room to feel brighter, then by all means use a lighter color. But be aware that a dark, rich color may also work, especially if you want to add drama, warmth and elegance.

Test Paint Colors Before Painting the Wall
There's no way to do it without spending a little money -- those little color chips you can get at the paint store are entirely too small to be of any help. My suggestion is to buy a quart of the color, paint a swatch on a wall and look at it during different times of day. That way you can see how it looks in different types and degrees of light. You can paint fairly large squares on the wall where they'll be hidden under a picture.

What color should my ceilings be?
White is the safe choice: it's bright, and it makes the ceiling look higher. But you don't have to stick with white -- what about a sky-blue ceiling? If you do opt to stick with white, though, here's a tip I find very helpful: Add a few drops of your wall color to the can of ceiling paint. This tints the white just enough to make for a good transition.

Advertisement