Interior House Painting Tips

All rooms and houses are different. These interior house painting tips are about dealing with your specific room situation.

blue doors

Some questions to start with:

  • how much light do you have?
  • How big is your room?
  • Using the Panelling effect
  • Consider adding some wall decorations
  • Where to put darkness and light
  • Where are the windows?

These interior house painting tips were not meant as general guidelines - they’re meant for keeping bigger mistakes out the door. They’re not rules to be followed no matter what. Break them as soon as you find a good reason to. Here they are:

How much light do you have?

Rooms with less light can do with lighter colors, and lighter rooms can have stronger or darker colors. In the semi-dark, a light tone will already look dark. Hold a paint-sample directly on the wall itself (stick it on with some tape) and see what it does. If the color seems to ooze, you found the right shade. To see it well, cover the other parts of the paintsample with your hands, or cut the sample into pieces. Make sure you see only one color at a time.

If you'd like to get a realistic photograph of what your room will look like with different colors: check here for software on interior paint colors.

Look here for:

Don’t worry too much about loosing light by having colored walls. Lighting is done with lamps. Have at least three spots in the room, varying in lightness. Of course your room needs to have some light aspects too - click here for tonal range , but they don’t have to be the walls.

Small rooms

A very small room can be made to seem a little bigger by white, eventually combined with bright blue colors. If there is a big window, however, you can use other (light) colors as as well: offwhites, yellowish, green, pink, lilac. Don’t use too many different pastel colors in one scheme, it will look like candy.
If the small room is only used at nights, the colors can be a bit darker, but not too strongly colored (the walls are close enough already). Create the spaceous feeling you want by having good lighting. Keep the ceilling lighter than the walls, and eventually use a panelling effect.

Panelling effect for smaller rooms

Divide the wall in two horizontal layers of color. A little darker layer to the bottom, a light one to the top. It gives the mood of a landscape, and therefore a spacious feeling. The bottom layer (with the "horizon" on top) can be about 1 or 1.20 metres high (depending on your own length). Before you start, use ordered samples of wall paint, to make a scetch. Draw a scale version of your wall, and color them as you plan to paint them. In this way you can find out if the colors have a good balance.

Big rooms

In bigger rooms, you usually don’t have to worry about light. Even if the windows are blocked with housing or trees, you still have the space inside. Apart from that, you can creat your own lighting with lamps and spotlights.

white is not the only way to create light or space. If the walls are dark, they will ‘disappear’ as well, especially if the furniture is a lighter than the walls (for example, if you have lots of whitewood or light-brown bookshelves).
With good lighting, they will appear as bright elements, before a warm cosmic darkness. Good lighting then is the key to creating space. Cosyness and atmosphere is provided by the darker, warmer colors in the background. Be careful with toned down blues, they tend to look cold. But combined with warm colors, they revive because of the contrast. A bright Ultramarine blue can give a nice cosmic glow, but It’s a strong color, add it in the form of accessories (a vase, curtains).

If your bigger room has more than one function, you can create differently colored areas in one room. Eventually create “light” and “dark” places, based on the same color scheme. A place to relax on the couch may be nice in darker colors, while your working corner or dinnerset may look more attractive in the light. Or in other darker colors.

Where to put light and darkness

In general, you could say it's pleasant to have the ceiling light, and the floor dark. We expect light to come from above. But our ceilings are usually covered in shadow - most of the light from the windows falls on the floor. That's why white ceilings are often recommended. But lighter than the walls doesn't have to mean 'white' - offwhite or a ligter shade than the walls can be OK too. Usually, floors are recommended to be darker than the walls. It gives you a "grounded" feeling. But in situations with only very little daylight, a light floor can generate lots of light. If you have light furniture as well, it will look fine. Dark furniture on a white floor looks very heavy - as if it can sink any time. In Holland, there are lots of "brown cafe's": they have dark ceilings, and in artificial light that's really cosy. But in daylight, the room looks like it can't wake up, even if it's trying.

Where are the windows?

The position of your windows affects the color of your daylight. Light from the north is clear and cold, a little bluish. Light from the south is a little warmer, more orange. Click here for to adjust the paint colors of your choice to your available daylight.

Materials and preparations

Give the technical aspects of your painting job some attention: get the right materials, and do you preparations. Latex is best painted over with latex. Oil based paint has to be primed first, before you can paint on it with acrylic paint. If you paint the kitchen, take acrylics, then you can clean the walls. Abrase and degrease your woodwork thoroughly, then your paint will hold much longer. If you chose the right paint colors, that's just what you want.

And - warm paint colors look differently on underlying paint colors (let's say, white) than cold paint colors.

Related Pages:



Oil Painting Techniques

Acrylic Painting

Watercolor painting

Color Schemes

Interior Painting techniques

Interior Painting Ideas

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