Here’s How the Experts Choose Paint Color

Should the ceiling be darker than the walls? What about window trim? These and other questions plague home decorators when it comes to choosing paint colors.

To help make this task easier, the good people at paint supplier Dunn-Edwards assembled a team of design experts, and put together some tips:

“Choose color based on desired mood of a room

From high-energy red to mellow blue, psychological responses to color inform effective and stimulating home design. Consider the ambience of the room before choosing a color – will it be a lively dining room, a peaceful study or a luxurious bedroom? Warm tones like red, orange and yellow evoke energy, playfulness and action – great for spaces for interaction like dining rooms or kitchens. Cool tones including green, blue, indigo and violet shades create tranquil and soothing environments. Try cool tones for places of relaxation and meditation, like the bedroom.

Use neutral colors as a base that can blend with other colors

Neutral colors pair well with many shades. White, the most neutral of colors, gets along with almost any other shade. Crisp and elegant, white opens up spaces and provides a clean, well-designed look. Brown keeps color schemes grounded with its earthy tones and works best with an accent color. Black adds drama and is often used as an accent to embolden other tones.

Consider how lighting changes the perception of color

Color looks different on a swatch in a store or on the wall at home at different times of day with different amounts of light. It’s imperative to test colors under the lighting conditions at home to see how the paint will truly appear.  If a room gets a lot of sun, a light, cool color may brighten up a room. If there is a lot of natural sunlight, consider painting a deeper, richer color for a serene look.

Pay attention to the details in a room

Permanent features like the flooring, architectural trim, moldings and columns will affect how color appears and blends with the rest of the room. For example, dark flooring will go well with lighter wall colors as opposition creates interest and visual excitement.  The design on a large piece of furniture may inform the color choice of the overall room.

Determine warm or cool tones based on climate and window orientation

Typically, warmer colors are more acceptable in cold climates and cooler colors in warmer regions. A south-facing window orientation suggests a cool to neutral color preference, while a north-facing window suggests the use of a warmer color.

Put colors to the test

Test how natural and artificial light will affect the color by painting a two by two-foot sample on different parts of the room that gets different amounts of light. Try sampling various shades of one color. Live with the colors for a few days and see which hue best expresses the original vision. Dunn-Edwards stores offer 8-oz. Perfect Palette Samplers – just the right amount of paint for a sample square.”

Hopefully this will take some of the guesswork out, and give you some ideas for achieving room-color perfection. Find out more at Dunn-Edwards.

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