Monday, October 8, 2012

Easy Peasy Ways to Pick Paint Colors

 I've always loved learning about paint colors and how to make the spaces in your home flow.  I am by NO means an expert but I do love to learn and share, so I want to fill you in on some easy ways to pick your own paint colors. 

When it comes to choosing colors for specific rooms you DO have to take into account the mood of the room.  For instance, when painting your kitchen/dining room a color, like yellow or red, that stimulates your appetite is NOT always a good idea because it's overstimulating and can cause you to overeat and overreact. Yes, I said overreact, who knew a color could cause tempers to flare. Is that why my nieces and nephew have meltdowns at dinner time? CRAZINESS!  Using colors like blues and greens seem to calm and soothe you before meals which also allows you not to rush and actually enjoy your meal. If you can remember yellow and red are used in a lot of fast food restaurants  and it's called fast food for a reason and we don't want to give off that same feel in our own homes.

 Not to mention these fast food restaurants are sucking us in by surrounding us in these colors, whether it's the booth color or the employee's shirt color. We are getting!  I had no idea there was so much thought put into picking colors for restaurants.  All the text books will tell you NOT to paint your kitchens/dining rooms yellow or red but in all seriousness who really cares? It comes down to what WE like and what WE want to do in our own homes. I say if you have a favorite shade of red and you want to paint your kitchen cabinets that color go for it, but there are some other rules we all SHOULD follow.

Which leads me into my next topic:  How do we know what colors go well together?  So if you were to paint your cabinets red then you should probably paint your walls a soothing subtle color like this to counteract all of the hot tempers in that kitchen.....

This green is calming and it allows the red cabinets to be the SUPERSTAR of this kitchen.  I am guessing you all are probably saying, " Oh my gosh, I totally would have never thought to put red and green together."  And rightfully so because...duh...we all imagine a christmas tree when we think about putting red and green together.   In this case, it is done so well and the fact that the backsplash is, as I like to call it, "silent" makes these colors really shine. 

There are 3 ways to ensure you are picking colors that work well together :

1.  Monochromatic Color Scheme: this is where you can easily pick 1 color for your downstairs and then use different shades or tints of that color to paint every room a different color. This is so easy because all you have to do is grab a swatch from your favorite paint store and BOOM you have your color scheme all in one spot.

 2. Analogous Color Scheme: this is when  you pick two adjacent colors from the color wheel.  For example, as you can see in this pic below, red is next to orange and purple and if you didn't know, they all go SO well together.  REAL SOON I will be posting my thoughts about how I think Pink and Orange should TIE THE KNOT! Just sayin.....  Moving on.... so here is my fun version of the color wheel. I found this pic a while back on the www. and I use it all the time to help me when I'm designing spaces.  You'd think ROY G BIV would do it for me but I am a very visual person and it doesn't hurt that this pic is a beautiful and fun way to look at the color wheel.

And last but not least the color scheme that people fear the most is:

3. Complimentary Color Scheme: this is when colors are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance, going back up to the kitchen photo, red and green are opposite each other on the color wheel so that is why they are considered Complements ( no not "compliment" but complement- means to make whole or to perfect something).  They compliment each other very well as do orange/blue and purple/yellow.


   * Feel the mood- try to figure out what you want your room to feel like (ex: vibrant and fun, cool and serene, warm and cozy). Colors and moods that go hand in hand are: 
  • Orange hues stimulate appetite
  • Blue calms and soothes 
  • Red stimulates energy
  • Yellow lifts the mood
   * Lighting- this is HUGE when considering paint colors. Natural daylight shows the truest color, whereas incandescent lighting brings out the warm tones and yellows of a color.  Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone. Therefore, a strong color might be too bright to put on all 4 walls in a space but it might look great on an accent wall in a space with indirect lighting.
   * Test it first- if you aren't sure about a color, test it in a small area or maybe on just one wall and then if you don't like it change it.  Don't be unhappy with any space in your home, especially because of paint. It is the cheapest way to get the MOST impact on a space. If you are anything like me I always have to paint a large sample to really get a feel for what the color will look like. 

   * Flow- make sure you consider your adjacent rooms. My sister and I laughed in her old house when we almost put a bright yellow next to a pretty red...HELLO McDonalds.  We nixed that idea immediately! Don't get me wrong you can totally put "tones/shades" of these colors together but the exact colors we picked were not a good match.

   * Don't forget your ceilings.  They can add the biggest punch to a room.  (fun side tip: painting a porch ceiling a sky blue color "fools" the insects into thinking the blue paint is actually the sky and as a result they won't nest there!

Here is a pic of one of my favorite rooms on Pinterest. It shows how a ceiling can be such a show piece. 

Do any of you fine readers have any fun tips for picking paint colors? If so, please share the wealth.


  1. love it! You should definitely give us college students cool, fun, and easy ideas for dorms!! =] <3

    1. Just wrote it down on my blog ideas list! Thanks Viv

  2. Love it shush! We just painted our dining room a paler shade of blue. I wanted it to be welcoming and relaxing. Did I do that right?!?!

  3. Really enjoyed the encouragement to add color to my walls (I usually just stick with very pale colors). I'm especially excited to see the stripes on the ceiling...might have to give that a try!


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