Choosing color for a new space or an old one can be one of the easiest ways to change the look. It also can be one of the most intimidating decisions for your remodel. I am going to give you some pointers for choosing color and some resources that will hopefully help to make color an easy decision.
The first step in color choice is to understand the very basics of the color wheel.
Primary Colors are red, yellow, and blue.
Secondary Colors are when two primary colors are mixed, example: yellow + blue= green.
That is the very basic set-up of the color wheel. Now I will skip right to the information that will benefit you in choosing colors for your walls.
Complimentary Colors are basically on opposite sides of the wheel; for example red and green our beloved Christmas combination.
Warm Colors are everything on the color wheel from yellow to red-purple (yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-red, red, and red-purple).
Cool Colors are everything from blue-purple to yellow green (blue-purple, blue, blue-green, green and yellow-green).
Pale or clear colors are shades containing more or less white.
Dark colors are shades containing more or less black.
Monochromatic color scheme is a single shade paired with white to get varying hues, or it can be paired with black to get varying hues (think a paint chip).
Here are the varying monochromatic shades on a paint chip.
Color/Mood quick reference:
Blue, green: calming
Yellow, orange: stimulating
Red: stimulating (often painted in dining rooms- increased digestive stimulation)
Black: has dramatic affects, should be used carefully.
White: reflects all light, it opens up a room, and goes with everything.
To read more about color and its affect on space you can go to Pittsburgh Paints Color Theory website. They do a really great job of giving you lots of ideas about color. To see what colors you are leaning towards try Pittsburgh Paints Color Sense Game. I took it and I came to the exact paint colors I chose for my new addition!
Now think about the space you are painting is it public (living room, or kitchen) or is it private (your bedroom, or your master bath). You can paint these spaces differently.
Public Spaces: are usually neutral colors (brown, cream, white, gray, and every variation there of; as in taupe), they make everyone feel at ease.
Private Spaces: should be relaxing, but your personality and more bold color choices could surface here.
Inspiration for your color choices: There are two great choices for color inspiration, Mother Nature and art. I used art as an inspiration for my new addition. Here is a web article by Pittsburgh Paint on using art as an inspiration.
Here are my inspiration art pieces.
I wanted the walls to look like the color of an old map and my accent colors were burgundy and sage green.
My paint colors were monochromatic. I took one paint chip and used most of the colors on it for my new addition.
My paint was by Pittsburgh Paint from their Almond & Honey palettes. I used the Travertine palette.
Walls : Almond Brittle
Ceilings: Almond Brittle
Trim: Golden Ecru
Bathroom: Applesauce Cake
Existing rooms that opened up into the new addition were : Brandied Pear
How much of one color should go on the walls and how much of another color should be displayed in your interior. Pittsburgh Paints makes this easy they have a 60:30:10 rule. It is displayed on the back of the paint chips and in the brochures of their Voice of Color series. The rule states that the main color you choose will be 60% of your room, the second color will be 30%, and the last color should be 10%. I will talk more about this next week when I talk about finishing out your interior space.
One quick word about trim. The trim can have a very dramatic effect. It will outline the architectural features of the room. White seems to be the most popular color for trim in homes today. A white color with eggshell or beige tones is pleasing against wood. Stark white trim or walls is best used for modern art, it goes really well with the bold colors. Historically trim was painted darker than the walls. I have seen white trim disappear on the walls and not do a good job outlining the features of the room. This will happen when you are using cream or white colored walls.
Here you can see that the white trim disappears on the cream wall, while the golden toned trim highlights the architecture of the door. This is our dining room. It was our living room before the remodel and it is still in redecorating limbo. We had white trim and it was always dented and showed blemishes so we went with the golden color on the left for the remodel that matched our new color scheme.
Design Tricks with Color:
In a big room color on the ceiling brings in the ceiling.
In a small room a white ceiling helps the room seem loftier.
Here is a link to Maria Killam's Color Me Happy.
This post on her very informative blog is exactly how I chose my colors for my new addition.
Maria Killam teaches Colour Theory at Vancouver Community College and she is an excellent resource for choosing color.
I would recommend Pittsburgh Paints we used the Wall Hide Ceramic. It performed really well for us. We tinted the primer and applied it to new dry wall. We painted one more coat and we were done. The paint is seamless. We touch it up all the time and you can never tell.
Here is their website it has a lot of information and a virtual painter you can play with to change trim, wall, and ceiling paint.
One more quick word about trends. House Beautiful has a great slide show on their website that shows you what the paint experts say are the newest trends. Trends come and go in paint colors just like in fashion. The trends are that gray is the new chocolate brown, the grays are warm or they ride the fence and can be mixed with warm and cool tones. The other huge color is aqua to turquoise, it is cool and calming. The sky blue present in all the Swedish blogs is also ever present. Blogs are influencing design in a huge way, this may be the biggest trend.
I hope this article and the resources will help you if you need to pick out new colors. It should be a choice you are comfortable with and with the right resources you can make the choice easy.