Home Improvement

How to Choose the Right Paint Colours for Your Home

Painting a room is one of the most fun aspects of redecorating, wouldn’t you agree? It’s the easiest type of wall covering to DIY. You get to throw on your overalls and go crazy! And once you’re done, you can take a step back and enjoy the great work you did.

While the process of painting is good fun, one of the most important things is choosing the right paint colour for the room. Your inner interior designer might get excited about this, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you get to the paint aisle and see all the possibilities! And then you end up wondering whether to choose Cerulean or Sapphire for the bedroom. Yikes.

Don’t get discouraged – we’re here to help! This guide will teach you how to choose the perfect paint colours for your home!

Table of Contents:

So, if you:

  • Are planning to repaint your home;
  • Want to know how to choose the right paint colour;
  • Are wondering which colours work best in each room,

Then read on – this post is all you need!

Start by looking for inspiration

Let’s start with the basics – finding inspiration!

There are tonnes of design ideas floating around the web, where you can find inspiration for any style under the sun, be it for your living room, kitchen, or any other room in your home. From Pinterest to interior design blogs and magazines, there’s no shortage of great ideas out there. So, if you’re not sure where to start, this is a good place.

After you’ve got a general idea of what you’d like your home to look like, it’s time to get to the hard part – choosing the right paint colour. Well, OK, it’s not rocket science, but some people can have a hard time with it.

So, without further ado, here is…

What you need to consider when choosing paint colours

When choosing paint colours, you might think that all you need to do is go to the store, look at some swatches and find one you like. While that would be the case in a perfect world, there are actually lots of aspects to consider that can affect the paint’s look and, by extension, the room.

Luckily, we’re here to go over them all. First and foremost…

Imagine what atmosphere you want to create in the room

Don’t worry – this isn’t going to be a whole lecture on the psychology of colour. However, it helps to know the effect different tones have on people and their mood when choosing paint colours. Of course, people’s responses to the same colour can differ, as it’s often based on personal experience. Regardless, there are some universal rules you can follow.

Keeping in mind the kind of atmosphere you want to create in the room you’re painting and knowing how colour can help you achieve that is a great first step. Here’s a brief summary of the effects different colours have:

  • Warm colours
    This refers to tones on the colour spectrum’s red end (yellow, orange, red). These are considered more “lively” colours, often associated with feelings of comfort, cheer, and warmth. However, some can also boost anger and aggression.
  • Cool colours
    These tones are at the opposite end of the spectrum, the blue one (blue, green, purple). They are generally considered relaxing, but can sometimes lead to feelings of apathy or sadness.

Or, in other words, different colours can work better in different rooms (more on that below), depending on the purpose of that room and your personal preferences. When choosing paint colours, think about how that tone can make you feel and whether that’s the result you want.

Consider the effect of lighting

Another factor that we often overlook is how colours look under different lighting. We guarantee that the paint swatch you loved in the store will not look the same when you bring it home. Lighting affects the way we see colour, and since a room rarely gets the same kind of light 24/7, it’s essential to know how that colour will change.

First off, think about the time of day when you spend the most time in this room. Is it during the day or in the evening? If it’s the former, you’ll want to consider the natural light the room gets. The latter means artificial lighting is more important. Let’s take a look at them both:

Natural light

While bulbs keep the light in the room pretty much consistent, natural light changes throughout the day. Depending on the direction the room faces, paint will look different in the morning and the afternoon.

  • North-facing rooms
    A North-facing room will get the least amount of light, and the light itself will be cooler. This means cool colours generally won’t appear very vibrant, mostly looking flat and even cooler. To counter this, warm, bright colours are good choices and can provide a pop of colour to an otherwise dull room. Think pink, orange, and yellow tones. If you’re looking for a more neutral look, you can get a neutral-coloured paint with warm undertones.
  • South-facing rooms
    These rooms get the most light throughout the whole day. The light is warm and can make colours look more yellow than they are, so choosing cool tones can balance this out. If you want a super cosy, sunny room, warm colours are the way to go.
  • East and West-facing rooms
    When choosing paint colours for these rooms, the idea is the same, as they receive the same amount of light. The difference is that East-facing rooms get lots of warm sunshine in the morning and it gets darker and cooler later on. West-facing rooms are the opposite – they start with a low, cool light that gets warmer and brighter in the afternoon. For these rooms, go for blue and green shades, or a neutral colour with blue/green undertones. Bright colours can look fantastic in the morning or afternoon, depending on which direction the room faces.

So, that’s what you need to consider in terms of natural light. Let’s move on to…

Artificial light

If you tend to spend your evenings in this room, think about artificial lighting. The concept is the same as natural light; however, the artificial kind is more consistent, and you can choose between warm and cool light.

LED lightbulbs nowadays display the type of light on the box. As we mentioned in the section above, cool light makes colours look colour, and warm light makes them appear warmer. Generally, if you want to show off your walls’ colour, a neutral or slightly warm lightbulb is best.

Artificial light is also crucial if you’re painting a room that receives no natural light, such as a hallway with no windows.

Room size is important

As we said in the beginning, knowing how to choose the right paint colour means knowing its effect. This doesn’t only apply to your mood, though. Colours can also significantly affect the way their surroundings look, more specifically, the room’s size.

If you’re painting a huge room and want a more cosy, intimate atmosphere, warm colours can work in your favour since they look like they’re closer. Dark colours can also have this effect if used properly.

On the other hand, cool tones appear further away, so they’re a great choice if you want to make a small room look bigger with colour. The same goes for whites and other lighter colours, as they can give a small space an airy, open feel.

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Note which room you’re painting

Remember what we said about the psychological effect colours have? Choosing the right paint colour depends greatly on the purpose of the room you’ll be painting. Let’s go into a little more detail and talk about different rooms:

  • Bedroom
    Usually, you’d want your bedroom to be a calm, relaxing place. Cool tones like blue and green are the way to go here. While pale colours are generally considered more relaxing, a deep, dark blue can make for a dramatic, intimate atmosphere in the bedroom.
  • Living room
    Choosing a paint colour for the living room is easier, as you have a bit more freedom. It depends entirely on the feeling and style you want to create. Neutral colours are a great universal choice, especially if you want your furniture and decor to be the focus of attention. Warm, sunny tones like yellow, orange, or peach are a fantastic way to brighten a family sitting room and create a fun atmosphere. Blue tones can work wonders if you’d like a more relaxing space, and if you’re a fan of bold, sophisticated styles, dark colours like black, charcoal, and other deep tones will surely make a statement.
  • Kitchen
    Since kitchens are often among the smallest and more cramped rooms in the house, matching the walls to the furniture (cabinets and such) and going for a crisp white can give a clean, airy look. The downside is that white paint gets dirty pretty easily and, let’s face it, the kitchen is a great place to make a mess. For a cosy kitchen or dining room that is sure to increase your appetite, opt for warm colours like yellow or orange.
  • Bathroom
    This is the room where you can go absolutely crazy! The chance that your sink, toilet, etc. are white is very, very big. This means that your options are pretty much unlimited. Choose white for an open, uniform look. Bring in the feel of the ocean by painting the walls blue. Want a fresh look? Go green! The only limit is your imagination.

Consider your furniture and decor

Now, choosing paint colours that you love is great, but then there’s this question – does the colour match your furniture? You really need to keep your furnishings and decor in mind when browsing the paint aisle.

You can play around with different ideas, though. Keeping your walls and furniture in the same colour family is an excellent tactic to make a room look uniform and make it appear larger. If you want to create a focal point and keep all eyes on your furniture and decor, choose a contrasting paint colour.

It’s super easy to do this if you’re starting from scratch – blank walls and no decor. However, if you already have your furniture, you’ll have to choose paint colours that match.

Make sure to test the paint

We said it once and we’ll say it again – paint looks different on a swatch in the store than it does on your walls! So before you commit and buy tonnes of it, get some samples to check what the paint will actually look like in the room.

You’ll want to see how the paint looks in different lighting, next to your furniture, next to other colours in the room, etc. So, grab a sample of your favourite paint colour and test it on a small section of your wall. While you’re at it, get samples of some other paint variations, too.

You might decide to go for a cooler or warmer shade, so instead of running back to the store for a different sample every day, just test them all at once! That way, you can compare and make the best decision. Just make sure to leave the paint on the wall for at least a few days, so that you can see what it looks like under different lighting.

Be sure to read up on how to professionally paint a room, if you’ve never done it before. The paint colour and quality means nothing when it’s not applied properly.

Does this sound like too much work?

If choosing the right paint colour is too overwhelming, you don’t have to do it yourself – the experts are at your disposal! At Fantastic Services, we work with professional painters and decorators with years of experience in the field, who can help you make the best decision. And if you don’t fancy spending your free time in overalls, they can paint the room for you and ensure fantastic results!

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  • First, look for inspiration and keep in mind what kind of atmosphere you want to create in the room.
  • Paint will look different under different lighting, both natural and artificial.
  • Paint can make your room look smaller or bigger, so consider the size of the room.
  • Different colours work better in different rooms, depending on their purpose.
  • Keep in mind the colour of your furniture and decor when choosing paint colours.
  • Always get a sample and test the paint before painting the whole room.

So, you’ve chosen the perfect paint colour. You’ve even picked a great paint finish! Now it’s time for the hard work! In this helpful post, we teach you all you need to know to paint a room like a pro!


Did you find this guide helpful? What colours did you end up choosing for your walls? Let us know down in the comments!

Image source: Shutterstock / Comaniciu Dan

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