Choosing Paint Colors for Walls (the Easy Way)
January 27, 2012
As one of the bloggers over at My Colortopia, I get to answer inquiries and write articles about choosing color for the home, which really is one of my most favorite topics in the universe ever. They asked me to write about my method for choosing paint color for walls so I’m going to share the easiest way!
When you’re about to paint your walls something other than white or a pale neutral, I’m a firm believer in starting with something that will actually live in the space as a source of inspiration. It can be a decorative object, a textile, something organic, a print or piece of art – anything you love that inspires you. Once you find that thing or that fabric, the easiest way to choose a paint color for the walls is to use that source of inspiration as your starting point.
In my own master bedroom, I wanted a soothing gray with a hint of blue on the walls, so when I repainted it last year, I pulled my color from this Ikat toss pillow.
Fabric or artwork is always a great place to start, but it really can be anything that you use as your jumping off point. How about the pattern on this loose tea canister? Your wall color can be inspired by an object just like this. Imagine medium gray walls with vibrant coral or tangerine and spa blue accents, gorgeous!
To see a ton of inspiring color palettes, be sure to visit one of my favorite sources Design Seeds – a blog all about pulling color inspiration from both organic and tangible objects. Also, be sure to check out the My Image Inspiration Tool – upload an image and palette will be generated for you!
Here’s another fabric example. I love this Panama Wave fabric from the Waverly Spring 2012 line (soon to be released). This vibrant print would be wonderful in a craft room, living room, home office, or teen room. If you used this fabric as inspiration, say for the window panels or toss pillows or to line the back of cabinets, it’s easy to go right to a paint swatch and pull a soft lemongrass or green color – a paler version of the wave – out of the fabric swatch to use on the walls.
Or take this medallion print pillow cover with a fabulous motif in various shades of blue. Use it as your jumping off point to search for a deep indigo for dramatic bedroom walls.
Not only can you pull your wall color out of your inspiration swatch, you can decorate an entire room around a great patterned textile. I found this inexpensive toss pillow at Target, I loved it’s inky blue, cream, and spa blue palette. A great pattern like this can easily become the theme for the whole space! Add a gray upholstered headboard, crisp hotel bed linens, white nightstand and trim, a complementary rug and a few more accessories, and you’d have an elegant and enveloping bedroom with this deep indigo blue color on the walls.
Leyland Armless Chair in French Ticking Blue; Sassy Ceramic Table Lamp; Arley Mirror; Medallion Pillow by Target; Old World Blue Paint by Glidden; Carleen Indigo Rug; Bowfront Bedside Chest by Malibu Loft; Greek Key Duvet, Williams-Sonoma.
Two rules of thumb I follow when choosing paint color for walls.
1) Keep in mind you always want to test a 2 to 3 foot sample on the wall before buying a gallon of paint from just looking at a swatch. A few extra dollars spent on samples will allow you the opportunity to see the color on your walls in the changing light to decide if it’s too dark, too light, too intense, too blah, etc.
2) Lean towards a “muddier” less saturated version of the color for the walls. I’ve found that colors with a hint of gray or umber as an undertone look much better on the walls than their more saturated cousins which can often be too vibrant and jarring.
Now for some weekend fun! The team behind My Colortopia put together this interactive quiz for all of you. Want to know the best color scheme that fits your personality and lifestyle? Test out this My Life My Colors quiz!
(Visit the site to participate)
Mine were pretty close, except for a peachy color thrown in as a suggestion. What do you think of your results? Were they accurate? Have fun discovering the recommended palette for you!
Wishing you all a fantastic weekend!
**I have partnered with Glidden/Akzo Nobel Paints to participate in the My Colortopia program but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.