Interior Paint Colors

Choosing interior paint colors can be difficult because there are so many of them. Even when you get paint sample strips and stick them on the place where you want to paint them, it might be difficult to get an idea of how that color might look when it's as big as a whole wall. You need a good imagination - or some house paint software.

Interior paint colors

Judging paint colors

Judging paint colors can be done the best, after deciding on your styling. A lavender blue wall works differently in country style room, than it does in modern design. It's also vital to try them out, before painting large surfaces. It helps a lot when you pick colors with the help of house painting software - colors chosen in this way never can be far off. Still, it's good to first put a color on the spot, then you'll see if it really works as great as you'd expect, in your specific daylight (which always has a specific color). If the color still needs optimizing: do some extra manual toning - that's adding little bits of color, to only change the 'feel' of the color.

  • Don't rely on screen or printer colors: order paint samples and try them out
  • If you have two paint colors that don't match: add bits of one color to the other, and vice versa. They'll look great together.
  • Think of adjusting your paint colors to your available light - northern daylight has a different hue than light from windows on the south, which effects the look of your paint colors.
  • Check the info on paint sheen - it influences your paint colors.
  • Scroll down for more on paint color adjustment.

It's good to study color a little. It helps a lot if you can see what the main hue is. Check out about:

Interior paint colors

Choosing interior paint colors

There are about three steps in getting the right interior paint colors:

  • Think about about your styling, and about the function of color in your designing style. Will the colors be on the wall, or added as rugs, furniture etc.?
  • First decide on elements like furniture, flooring etc. It's much easier to adjust paint colors to your floor, than the other way around.
  • Then, choose paint colors - choose or make a color scheme that matches your personal taste, and your furniture, drapes etc.

Eventually, you can adjust yor paint colors manually, to really look good in the light of your room. This manual adjusting can be necessary in two cases: if the paint color you bought doesn't look good with other colors, or if somehow the paint color looks different, or too warm or pale on your wall (or wood trim etc), due to the available light. When there's disharmony with other colors: add the "wrong" other color to the one you want to paint, and they'll look good together.

If you want to avoid surprises and not spend much time, consider using the Paint Color Cheat Sheets (click here for a review). This is basically a list of safe paint colors, along with info on the lighting and primer it needs. It's developed by a color consultant, who has years of experience in choosing paint colors with her husband's clients (a painting contractor).

Procedure for choosing paint colors

  • Don't decide too fast, first decide on furniture, drapes and flooring. Finish that bouquet with paint colors
  • Get some paper paint sample chips and stick them to the walls - live with the idea for a few days
  • order sample jars to try the colors out.

Check here for more on:

Colored primers

Some primers can be ordered in the same color as your top coat, which saves you one or more paint layers. Check here for more on primer paints.

Toning interior paint colors

In getting the right interior paint colors, not only the hue (the color) and tonal value (its light-or darkness) is important. Also important is, the livelyness of the color. In nature, colors always have upper- and undertones - just like natural sounds. Like spices, they define the character of a color. More and more, interior paint colors are made of chemical manufactured pigments, which tend to be very onesided in their toning. The result can be: artificial, too-strong colors that very easily make a disharmonic impression. Here you'll find some tips on mending these effects.

  • For "breaking" a color that's too strong, add its contrasting color (its opposite in the color wheel)
  • For matching an interior paint color to other colors or wooden furniture: take some paint in the disharmonying color, and add it to the color you're going to paint. Suddenly they'll understand each other, and look much more harmonious.
  • If your windows are on one side of the house, your daylight will be slightly colored (north: blueish light - south: orangish light). You can anticipate this effect by adding a bit of the opposite color of this light (click here for painting tips on that). I've seen it work in a friends interior - it gives the color an extra pleasing 'ooze'..
  • White only makes a color lighter, not more subtle. For making colors more subtle, it's better to add different colors.
  • Be careful: if you only want to change the 'feel' of a color, and not the color itself, add only very small amounts of other colors.

To pick the right colors for toning, go about it as if you're cooking: 'taste' the color with your eyes, then you'll sense what's missing.

Examples of toning interior paint colors

If a yellow is too stingy, you can give it some body with carmine (it will gain on warmth). For a more cool result, you can add a greenish brown, and make it more of an mustard-like earthy, cool yellow. Be careful: yellow is a very light color and easily goes dirty. But, when a dirty yellow is put in the right setting (around greens), that can look good too.

Magenta interior paint colors can make a very strong and chemical impression, they sometimes really need some toning. Magenta responds well to that, it can handle lots of other colors without losing its magenta character. For "breaking", add green. For a warm glow, add yellow and for a more sedated skin-tone, add brown and a little green. Blue will take magenta towards violet.

Blue paint colors can look great in their chemical onesidedness. Their tonal value (darkness) is important -they can look dead when they're too dark, which can be mended by adding white. Blues also look good painted light over dark - so you can mend a too dark blue paint coat, by painting it over with the same blue, mixed with some white. Blue paint colors also do good, when put next to warm earth colors (browns).

Picturing your results with painting software

Recently I found some very nice painting software. With this program, you can upload you own pictures, and color them with thousands of hues of official paint colors (RAL-colors, Benjamin Moore, and several other brands). It gives a realisitic look of the results. You can save your color schemes and try as many of them as you like. There are two ways in which you can use this option:

The costs for both items are about the same. Doing photo-uploader and sending the picture to me saves you time. Byt when you order your own program, you can make as many schemes for as many different photo's as you wish.

The painting software gives really nice and realistic pictures: adjusted tot the light, and even to the color of the light (which influences the paint color). This program remembers the paint color names, and you can also calculate square meters with it, to see how much paint you need. After picking the paint colors, you can order them by number at

There's a free trial version available, that gives you a good idea of what you can do with this program.
Click here to download a free trial version of Color Style Studio. Here you can read some more about this painting software,, along with a link where you can order it.

Related pages:

Oil Painting Techniques

Acrylic Painting

Watercolor painting

Color Schemes

Interior Painting techniques

Interior Painting Ideas


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