Share This:

Color Tips

Rules to Live By

A little tip can go a long way in making a space more than just painted walls. The tips here require very little, if any, extra work, but the payoff is a more designed, more beautiful, more personalized space!

Tip #1: Ceilings need love too

There’s no law that says ceilings have to be white. In fact, your ceiling is just as integral to the overall look and feel of your room as the walls and trim. So why treat it as an afterthought?

Instead, consider the possibilities to echo or accent your room’s color scheme. If you’re using a light color on your walls, use the same color for the ceiling…or a paint that’s just a shade or two brighter. Or, use a complementary color to add dimension and depth.

Or, if you have a dramatic light treatment, or an alcoved or textured ceiling, don’t be afraid to showcase it with a bold color choice that draws eyes…and raves.

Tip #2: When it comes to white, don't think "bright", think "right"

“White” isn’t just one color – it’s a whole spectrum of subtle tones and textures. So if white is the best choice to frame your fabrics and furnishings, don’t reach for an off-the-shelf bright or flat white. Choose the white that’s just right.

There are modern whites, formal whites, off-whites, antique whites and whites with just a whisper of color. Warm or creamy whites can make your room more inviting, while white mixed with a hint of tint creates a soft, subdued echo of your room’s dominant color.

Take your time. Test different tones on small areas of wall before you commit. When the white is right, your room will tell you.

TIP #3: Choose, use, repeat

Every room has a theme, and color is what ties that theme together. That’s why you should choose colors you can use more than once – in wall paint, fabric patterns, furniture and decorating accents.

Colors that echo help unify your room’s design, and create a sense of harmony that makes everything – and everyone – in it feel “right at home.”

TIP #4: Wood trim - use it or lose it

Wood moldings and trim can be an asset or a liability, but smart paint choices can help you make the most of them, either way.

If you have attractive new trim or older fixtures with character and charm, accentuate them by using a contrast color that’s lighter or darker than the walls.

Or, for trim that’s plain – or just plain unattractive – simply paint it the same color as the wall…and watch it disappear “into the woodwork.”

TIP #5: Never paint an empty room

Painting a room before you know what you’re going to put in it is like backing your car through the car wash. That’s why choosing a paint palette is the last choice you should make when planning your room design.

Remember, it’s easier to match paint to fabrics, tile, window, treatments or bedding you’ve already picked out than it is to buy furnishings to match the paint. Plus, paint is the simplest thing to change when it’s time to update the look of your room.

TIP #6: Chasing rainbows: How not to use a color swatch

It may sound crazy, but nothing tells you less about how your finished room will look than holding your color swatches up to the walls you’re about to paint. In fact, looking at a paint swatch against the existing wall color can actually fool your eyes into seeing the swatch color as warmer or cooler than it really is.

Instead, test your swatches against the actual fabrics and furnishings you plan to use. You’ll get a much clearer sense of which paint colors work best, and you’ll spend a lot less time deciding on the right palette for your room.

TIP #7: Accent walls

The best way to introduce color onto your walls without committing to all 4 walls, is to paint 1 wall a different color. You can choose your accent wall by seeing which wall is most noticeable in the room – it is usually the wall with a fireplace or a set of beautiful windows or the wall that your bed is up against. These are walls that you look at first when entering a room.

Paint the other walls a neutral, but then find a great color from the fabrics in the room, carpet, artwork, and use that color as your accent wall color. Accent walls add interest and a designer look to the space.

TIP #8: Small rooms – Accentuate its coziness

Don’t always assume that a small room should be painted a light color. True, it can make the room seem a little bigger, but small rooms exude coziness, and if you choose a warmer shade, a creamier white or a darker color, it accentuates its coziness. These rooms, like powder rooms, can take on big color and make a statement and give it personality.

TIP #9: Powder rooms – Make a statement

It’s a room where you can really have fun with wall color and accessories. Find a rich, dark color – any one that you like, and then accent it sparkling silver, pretty towels and artwork. Don’t forget the ceiling too – either choose a couple shades lighter on the color stripe card, or if the walls are not too dark, use the same color for an enveloping look.

TIP #10: Front doors – The first place that says, welcome!

No need to make the front door match the shutters. Choose another complimentary color to really make your front door noticeable. A spring green (PPG Guacamole), charcoal gray (PPG Knight’s Armor), a patriotic red (PPG Red Gumball), true black (PPG Black Magic), or happy yellow (PPG Butterfly Bush) all give personality and curb appeal to your home.

TIP #11: Man caves need color too!

The garage is another place for fun, noticeable color. Don’t always revert to off-white – give it some personality. And remember, color unifies clutter, so if you have a somewhat messy garage, put a great color on the wall behind it and you will notice the color and not the clutter!

TIP #12: Hallways – Make them seem wider!

If you paint one side of the hallway a different, darker color than the other side, it makes the hallway appear wider. Then, accent that wall by hanging pictures.

Another great tip is to paint the far end of the hallway a different color than the hallway color. It adds interest and makes you want to go down that hallway to see what’s next!

TIP #13: Other fun places for color

The hallway to the basement – find some fun colors to paint these walls so that it’s not always off-white and less interesting. Color has the ability to entertain the eye, take attention off of less flattering design pieces or old staircase.

Another great place for color is the backs of shelves – it helps to showcase what you have on the shelf. Even closets can become happier with a bigger color inside.