Interior Painting Design

Making an interior painting design is like engineering, or creating a menu. First you follow your nose, but a good recipe can help. There's also a certain natural procedure. The designing process is a creative process, a matter of taste, but the process can be helped with some knowledge about colors and materials. It's like a tool-box, to check and adjust your personal choices.

interior design

First a little checklist:

What do you want to paint, and why? (styling, create light or cosyness, home improvement)

  • If you plan to sell your house within a year, whites and offwhites are a good idea - styling can be done by plants, textiles and paintings too. Removable wallpaper might be an idea (for classy wallpapers, check here).
  • If you're a tenant, check your contract about the conditions in which you have to deliver the apartment when you leave.
  • If cluttering is an issue, take care of that first - then you can see the basis of your interior painting design.

Make a beforehand estimate of the costs of your interior painting design well - take an educated guess at the square meters you want to cover, and calculate the paint costs. Don't forget to count in brushes, fillers, sanding paper, protective foil etc.

interior painting design

Desinging tools

There are some tools on the market that can help you choose paint colors. One of them is house painting software, that enables you to see how different paint colors will look in your own rooms. If you're not too keen on computer work, then consider using the Paint Color Cheat Sheets. This method was developed by Yelena Kublitzky, a color consultant. It's based on years of real-life experience (she owns a painting company, together with her spouse). If it turns out that making a painting design is somehow not your favorite thing to do, just take this shortcut. It might save you a lot of time (and money).

A designing proces takes time

It’s good to start thinking about colors right away, but completing your interior painting design by choosing paint colors is the last stage of your designing process. It’s much easier to adjust paint colors to your furniture than the other way around.

Making an interior painting design is meant to take some time. If you just moved in, you need to get accustomed to the rooms, and feel their atmosphere. A professional designer can quickly see what will look nice. And you can do it too, if you apply some general rules, and take your time to let your decisions ripen out.

Here's a seven-step-process for creating your interior painting design

  • Create a moodboard
  • Add the colors of your furniture to your moodboard
  • Visualize your look-and-feel to a central theme
  • Make a floor-plan
  • Create a color scheme
  • Order sample jars and try them out
  • Calculate the size of your painting surface and order paint

If, during this process, it becomes clear that you need to more than painting, and redecorate floors and furniture as well: think of designing software. Start designing today with 3D Home and Landscape Design Suite. You can design your dream home yourself - it's fast and easy detailed.

Create a moodboard

Create a moodboard for the specific room you want to paint in your house. Collect colors that you like, textile, materials, phrases, magazine-pics, anything. Hang up a piece of paper on the wall, or create some room for it on a shelve.

As your moodboard grows, inventorize your starting situation

Look at furniture and flooring, and the structure of your walls. How do they fit into your moodboard? What are their colors? How do they fit in? Most furniture can be put to work in several styling situations. If you change the color by painting it, or change the fabric, that old chair you wanted to throw out might very well make a great new appearence. Or that IKEA-closet might get a new surprising look by painting it. Click here for faux painting furniture. Click here for more on painting over wallpaper.

You might consider using house paint software, to visualize the effect of different paint colors in an actual room (or even, your own room). There's a free trial version, play a bit with it to try out what it's like to change paint colors.

Also collect paintsample strips, from the paintstore (lots, I mean). Include those paint samples that represent colors of the elements that will stay the same (furniture, flooring). Try to find precisely those colors. Use them for your designing process. While you grow a mood, include those colors and elements in your planning.

Styling questions

What colors are good for your interior painting design, depends on your interior's personal style. In a modern style, colors have a different function than in a shabby-chic or country style home.

  • Country style: colors need to look natural, and good with wood. They can be fairly strong, but not too many of them in one room. Different rooms can have different colors
  • Modern: Colors are more abstract here. Use either neutrals, or fresh signal colors like apple green or orange. Important: do very thorough preparations, to create a razor sharp 'new' look. Here it's more likely you'll want to do the whole house in the same color scheme.
  • Shabby chic: Everything's allowed, but make very conscious decisions about what you like and don't like. Then your deliberate personal taste will shine through and that will create a unique unity. A bit messy underground or paint layer is OK (but prepsa are better). After defining your likes, check your design with the laws of color scheming, and eventually use them to refine your design.

If you're not sure about your designing style, I can very much recommend these ebooks: Awaken your interior designer. They guide you through a personal creative process - step by step, towards creating your own stylish home.

Some general ideas on room functions

Formulate a central theme

Once you have some idea about a mood for your interior painting design, try to formulate this mood in a visual idea or a phrase. What elements do you need to visualize the idea? think of colors, patterns, materials, pictures. Countries, clothing styles, sentences, scents. These are your main ingredients. Keep things practical, and take elements that you can have, find or buy (even if it’s in the form of a picture or a poster).

Also decide, if you want to put the emphasis on colors or texture (materials, patterns). You can have both, for example in faux finishing walls. If you already have lots of other visual elements, put the emphasis either on color or on texture, unless you like a very full and rich design. It will be easier if you keep your interior painting design relatively simple.

Make a floor plan

Draw your room on a rastered paper, indicate the windows and doors (measure it up), and plan the eventual new positions of your furniture. This will help you concretize your plans, and it'll show your the visual amounts your walls will make.

create a Color Scheme

Make a color scheme for the paint colors. Get lots of paint samples (if you don't have them already), and complete the colors of your existing elements towards your theme. Click here for more on room color schemes.

Follow your nose... Taste and smell, as if you’re cooking. See your main elements als the main ingredients, and add ‘condiments’ to flavor them.
When all the color samples are put together (both your furniture-color samples as the paint-color-samples you are considering to buy), it should look somehow interesting, balanced and pleasing. Colors should be in the right tonal value towards one another. Puzzle it until you have something that pleases your eye. Use the following "laws" to check your interior painting design - but use it only as an afterwards check.

  • Every room looks nice when it has a tonal range: some light, medium and darker colors
  • check your paint samples directly to the place where you'll paint them - stick them on with tape
  • See how your paint colors match, compared to general laws of color
  • Remember that a wall makes a bigger visual surface than a sidetable
  • Taste, smell and follow your nose. In preparing food, you want to create something that's both tasty and healthy - the same goes for your interior design.

Tips on choosing paint colors

Good art has colors that are in balance - you might say, it already contains a color scheme. Take an artwork of your liking, and pick colors from it. It can be a rug or an oldfashioned painting. You can put the artwork in the room, but you don't have to: its atmosphere will be there if you use its colors. Check here for rugs: – Buy Two Get the third at 40% OFF

A story on picking colors: one of my art teachers did a 4-season series. He painted in the forest four times, with lapses of 3 months. He only picked and mixed the colors he saw, and put them on abstract and randomly. Still, the four works he created were actually communicating the feeling of the four seasons.

Tonal Range - Light and Darkness

Make sure you have light, medium and darker colors in you design. Look at the available light. A big or bright room can have a lager medium or dark colored surface, a smaller or darker room needs more light colored surface. Click here for more on big or small, light or dark rooms. In light rooms, the light colors take most of the space (let’s say, the walls), and dark colors are added as details. In darker rooms, light colors can be highlighting details. -It will matter a lot WHERE you put the colors. In normal lighting situations: have darker colors on the floor and on the lower horizontal meter of the walls. Keep the ceiling relatively light. click here for more on this kind of effects In a room with hardly any daylight, a light floor can generate much light. Only: better not have dark furniture then (paint them light too)

Check the colors by holding the paint samples directly to the walls or framing you plan to paint them on. Stick them on and see them in different lighting situations. See if the color oozes, or seems to 'come out' (if it does, it has the optimal tonal value for that color in that specific lighting situation)

If different colors are equally dark of tone, they might compete or make strong contrast. If you don’t like that, tone one of them lighter or darker. Click here for more info on color effects in creating a color scheme

If you like the colors, but they still don't look optimal somehow in your daylight: try adjusting them to the color of your daylight. That could be the finishing touch of your interior paintin gdesign. You'll have to do it manually - try it out when you order paint sample jars.

Think about your eventual colors in matte, halfshine and high-gloss. Matte gives soft, pure color, highgloss adds depth and highlighting effects. Wall-colors are usually matte or halfshine latex, for furniture and woodwork high-gloss paint is strongest, but it only looks good only on a flawless surface (you might have to do some preparations).

After completing your interior painting design, you can give your colors an extra boost by adjusting them to your available light It's a trick old paintmakers used to do. They adjusted their clients color by adding a little color to balance out the daylight, which depends on the position of the windows. This hardly effects the paint color, but it does give the color an extra pleasing 'ooze'.

Have fun while doing your paintjob! After having prepared your choices and design, you can hardly go wrong.

Other resources

Still not sure? Then look into the interior design theme first. Check this website, They have ebooks on making an interior design - with lots of pics and more step-by-step tutorials. And another fresh and creative website on interior decorating: Here you'll find tips on different interior designing styles (country, city, tuscan etc), along with lots of links and pictures.

Order sample jars

Order some sample jars of colors you consider to choose. Before you order, check what kinds of paint you need. Make a rough scetch of your interior painting design. It can be done on normal a4 printing paper. Use the sample jars to fill in the colors of your interior painting design. Imagine your furniture in it, and see if the visual amounts are pleasing together. Adjust your colors or your design if they don’t. Eventually, consider a check up using house paint software, or have me do that for you (contact me on that)

Make paint samples - if you’re confident enough, dot it directly on the wall, especially if your walls are not white. Then you can see what it does on the underground color. If you don’t like it, but you do like the color on white, you need to do a white priming layer first.

Time to do the job!

Now you can realise you interior painting design. Calculate the square metres you’ll paint of every color and order your paint. Don’t forget the materials you need to prepare your paintjob. Eventually, also order sample jars of the colors you need to adjusting your colors to the available light

If you are happy with your new interior painting design: let me know! I love to get mails like that. Want some advice? Contact me. Send me your question along with some detailed info, and a picture, and I'll send a reply a.s.a.p.

Related Pages:

Oil Painting Techniques

Acrylic Painting

Watercolor painting

Color Schemes

Interior Painting techniques

Interior Painting Ideas


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