6 Tips for Picking the Perfect Room Color

Happy couple.When I was living in my first places out of college, they all shared the same central characteristic: boring white walls. I didn’t think much of it. You rent an apartment, the walls are white and you can’t paint them unless you want to paint them back when the lease is up. So, you become comfortable living within the confines of white walls.

A few years ago, though, all of that changed when I was finally able to afford my own condo. Now, I owned the walls that surrounded me. After moving in and getting settled, I remember one lazy Sunday afternoon in the fall when I was sitting on the couch, drinking a beer and watching football. All of a sudden, I started staring at my walls. I started thinking that I’ve finally arrived, I own my own property and I’m allowed to do with it precisely what I want.

That’s when I decided the living room was getting a facelift — the walls were about to be covered in fresh paint. But how do you pick the perfect room color? I learned that these six simple tricks help you when figuring out which paint to pick.

1. Choose the Mood

At that time, I didn’t have any experience in the art of interior design, but I knew that I had to think long and hard about what color I should paint the walls. After all, the color of a room sets the mood. You don’t want to paint your living room black, for example. You may want a vibrant, energetic color or one that pleasing and relaxing, depending on your personality and your plans for the room. Think if you’ll be spending a lot of time in that room entertaining guests or just hanging out. After all, according to HGTV, color is responsible for as much as 60 percent of the opinion we formulate about a place.

2. Do a Small Test

By starting small and applying a little bit of paint to a specific area of the room, you can begin to imagine what the room will look like once you’ve finished painting. You’re also able to cover up that small sections relatively easily if you end up choosing a different color. Once you think you have found a color you like, leave the test paint on for at least a day or two and look how it changes at different times of day or on a sunny versus cloudy day.  You may be surprised how that buttercup yellow takes on a greenish tint on a rainy day.

3. Consider the Room’s Light

When picking color, pay attention to the room’s light. How many windows are in the room? What direction are they facing? Do you get morning sun or evening sun? Or maybe your room only get a little sun in the middle of the day when you are at work. You want to pick a color that enhances your natural light.  What are the light fixtures like? Different lighting arrangements will display colors differently, so it’s important that you consider such factors before picking a color.

4. Plan Around Your Furniture and Artwork

What other furniture or artwork do you have in the room you’re painting? Do you want to keep it there? In order to tie the room together, it’s important that you pay attention to the colors that will be supporting the color you choose to paint the wall. You may even get color inspiration from a detail in a favorite painting or a piece of furniture. You want to be careful to pick colors that complement other colors in the room, instead of colors that clash.

5. Avoid Extremes

Even if neon purple is your favorite color, you might want to think twice about taking extreme chances when it comes to painting the walls of your home. You don’t want anything too vibrant; you can get quickly tired of a strong color. Think again what kind of mood you want to set. You probably want guests to feel comfortable, not anxious, when they walk into your house.

6. Review the Color Wheel

If you feel uncertain about your color sense, check out the color wheel. A color wheels are available in any paint store and they will show you precisely which colors complement one another.  Using a color wheel as guidance you may even venture to add accent colors to your room or create enticing patterns.

What color are you considering painting one of the rooms in your house? How do you go about figuring out which color to use? Sound off in the comments below!

Our contributor, James White, is a freelance construction worker and blogs in his free time at Homey Improvements. He also enjoys hiking, photography, and improving his own home. Follow him on Twitter@DIYfolks.

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Comments (1)

  1. Seija Goldstein Seija Goldstein

    If you pick a strong color, keep in mind two things. First, you’ll probably get tired of the color sooner than of a more neutral shade. Second, it will take several coats of paint to change that color. Having used dark blue paint in a bedroom once and white carpeting (another mistake!), I speak from experience. Now my go-to wall color is Linen White and I never get tired of it.