Young woman painting wall in new home.

5 Tips For Selecting Paint Colors

Lena Linetti4-Minute Read
August 31, 2022

Painting is a minor home remodeling project. It’s not even among the priciest financial investments a homeowner can make. However, painting is one of the most impactful home remodeling investments when it comes to shaping the look and feel of your home. A simple, inexpensive coat of paint can transform your home from an old, outdated property into a contemporary, cozy space. In fact, psychology experts argue that the colors we see most can impact our mental health, our energy levels and our productivity. It’s imperative that you choose the colors of your home carefully and with great consideration. If that feels intimidating to you, don’t worry. Here are five workable tips to help you select the right colors for your painting project.

1. Pick The Colors After Everything Else

If you’re redecorating your entire home, or a few rooms, don’t paint them first. Curate all the investment pieces you have – artwork collections, TVs, your unassembled cabinets, antique items, or that rug you inherited from your grandmother – everything that will outlive the color should come first. It is only after deciding on those items that you start thinking about the colors you’ll bring in either in form of wall paint, fabrics, artificial flowers, or furniture. The colors you choose should match with the investment pieces, not the other way around.

Neighborhood trends at your fingertips.

Check your local market.

2. Create A Feel

We already mentioned that color has a direct impact on how people feel. So, do you want to feel calm and peaceful when in the bedroom? Do you want a kitchen or a dining area that brings your appetite up? Whatever you want to feel, or your guests to feel when they step into a room, say it with color. Generally, happy colors are bright and bold, but you should listen to your inner being when deciding which one works best for you. Here are some other things to consider that could affect the atmosphere a color creates:

  • How is the lighting in your home? If a room has sufficient natural lighting, the colors you choose should look cool. If it’s artificially lit, you need something warm. That’s why paint at the store (or furniture) may look completely different from how it looks in your home.

  • Who are you designing for? If you are decorating your child or teen's bedroom, you may go for bright colors. If it is your mom’s bedroom, she might prefer bright neutrals.

  • How big is the room? Small rooms need bright colors to feel expansive while big rooms could use some dullness in order to make them feel smaller and cozier.

3. Choose Complementary Colors

Whether or not rooms and hallways are visible to each other, you should ensure that all the colors in the house blend in together for continuity purposes. You can use different tones of the same color for different rooms depending on how much natural light each room gets. Use lighter tones for rooms with least natural light. To give your house a fresh look, consider adding some colorful plants or flowers, and you can even set up some grow lights over them so they can flourish faster. This will give your space a nice ambience.

4. Try The 60 – 30 – 10 Rule

This is a simple 6:3:1 interior design ratio which implies that your interior walls should represent 60% of your interior colors; the walls should be wallpapered or painted with a dominant base color. Furniture, fabrics, and other decor items should contribute 30% of all indoor color, and the remaining 10% should come from an accent color. Any color that creates some variation on the walls is an accent color. To illustrate this, let’s say the 60% would include most of your walls, rugs and maybe a sofa. The 30% would include draperies, some chairs, linens, etc. Lastly, your 10% would include pillows, some decorative accessories, or perhaps artwork.

The Exception

When it comes to remodeling the bathroom, it can really be overwhelming given the numerous combinations that are possible. For this one, we would suggest using the rule of three as a guiding mechanism for choosing the colors. That entails picking one neutral color, one rich, and one accent. In order to make it right, try to use the distribution in the order 70/20/10. We suggest that the light color is used 70%, the second lightest 20%, and the one that is darker for 10%.

5. Remember The Ceiling

Lastly, the ceiling is very important to the overall decor of the house. Depending on the construction of the home, some ceilings are higher and some lower, which completely changes the perception of the house; respectively, they affect the decor. However, what you can do in case the ceiling is taller than you want it to appear is paint it with a darker shade than the walls to create a false illusion that the ceiling is lower. If you want to make it appear higher than it actually is, select a lighter color than the walls. To create a smooth transition between your walls, floor and ceiling, paint the door trim and floor moldings with the same colors you paint the ceiling.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to experiment with color because, after all, paint isn’t permanent. Get as creative with your color patterns and stripes as your budget can allow. If you don’t trust your selection or painting abilities, consult an expert. However, in everything you do, remember that colors add personality to a home. Trust your instincts!

Need a real estate agent?

Match with a local expert.

Lena Linetti

The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.