Feeling in the mood for a revamp? Painting a room or a single wall in your home is a simple DIY that promises to have a major impact in any space. When it comes to taking on a home renovation project, doing your due diligence is a must. From sampling chips to evaluating natural light, there are a number of essential dos and don’ts you should consider before you even walk into a paint shop.
Drawing inspiration from a selection of our favorite color-rich interiors, we’ve culled our tried-and-true tips to have you well on your way to the perfect paint color. These impeccably executed spaces promise to pique your paint interest, leaving you feeling inspired and ready to roll. Whether adding a flourish of Kelly green to an all-white kitchen space or bringing in an imaginative ceiling hue, the following thoughtful and spirited abodes are among our favorite examples of how to paint like a pro.
Before you even lift a paint palette, look around your home and take inventory of the permanent features of your home. Do you have dark stained-wood floors, exposed beams, or a brick fireplace? Are you planning to make any permanent changes in the near future? The hue and tone of all of these elements should be strongly considered before you move forward with your design.
Consider a high-sheen lacquer to add dimension and unexpected depth to cabinetry.
Selecting the right shade of beige requires light testing. Order samples in bulk, and see which shade transitions best in your space.
Calm neutrals provide the perfect backdrop to make vibrant décor details pop.
If you’re seeing chartreuse everywhere lately, that’s a good sign it’s a color that’s on its way out. Though your walls can be repainted, it’s not something you’ll want to do once a year. So if you’re lusting after an on-trend color, use that in your accents and select a wall paint that’s more timeless and/or subtle.
Primary hues are perennially chic, and they always land at the top of our list.
Dark tones highlight architectural details and add dramatic sophistication to high ceilings.
Ground vibrant tones with more subtle complementary shades.
Before you begin thinking of colors, you should ask yourself how you use the space, as well as who uses the space. These are both important factors in color choice. Are you painting a workspace that needs to feel energizing? You may want to select a warm color, which has a stimulating effect, and perhaps a bright one—maybe even white. Are you designing a movie lounge or a bedroom that should have a calm vibe? Cool colors, which tend to recede, may be your ticket; you may even want a dark, moody color to create a nest-like effect.
Nothing channels eternal spring vibes like lavender. The quiet violet invites a moment of delicate tonality.
Echo the colors of the ocean with sea-glass greens to capture the perfect beachside moment.
Do you want to make a long, narrow space feel bigger and wider than it is? Select a lighter color for the longer walls and a slightly darker hue for the short walls to maximize the space. If you want to make an expansive space feel more cozy and intimate, however, use warm hues, such as browns, orange, or reds, that advance toward you to make the walls feel closer. Do you want to make a small room seem bigger? Use cool hues—such as blues, greens, and purples—which recede visually, to make the walls feel more distant.
Painting your dining room a fresh color offers a cost-effective, instant update to any space.
The right red will require experimentation. We recommend sourcing a range of swatches, from bright tomato to deep crimson.
The cardinal rule of painting is to test, test, test. If you don’t test your paint sample, you’ll very likely wind up wasting an afternoon or weekend spent painting—or the cost of a painter. Buy a sample pot of paint, and test your favorite swatches near all the sources of light in a room. Test them on a piece of wood or drywall, and hold them up to your flooring, your tile, and other permanent fixtures (remember those?) to see how they’ll compare. Testing only a white wall won’t give you a sense of how the color complements other elements of the room.
For those enamored with the all-white look, consider adding one main decorative statement for an iconic splash.
What other tricks do you stand by when selecting paint colors for your home? Share them in the comments.