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How To Choose Interior Wall Paint Colours

Painting your walls is something most of us don't do too often. That's why choosing an interior wall colour can feel almost impossible! This is a choice that you are going to need to live with (and live in) for years to come, and many find the decision a difficult one. While you can always paint over the colour if you truly hate it, repainting a room you've just finished painting is a task most of us would rather avoid. In this article we are going to share some tips for choosing your interior wall paint so that hopefully repainting won't be necessary!

The Walls Can Wait

When renovating your space, you might feel excited about picking out your wall paint. And we don't blame you! Repainting your walls isn't something you do every day, and it can make such a huge difference to your space that most of us just want to dive right into it. And if you're moving into a new home, it can really make the space feel like your own!

However (and especially if you're moving into a new place), most interior designers would advise you to hold off a bit on picking out your wall paint. There are a myriad of colours to choose from, and most wall paints can be tinted into any colour you want. The best way to decorate a new space is to choose your furniture and soft furnishings first. If you are getting new furniture, these should be the first thing you pick out. Far too many people paint their walls before they even know what's going into their room, and this can easily end badly.

Is it the end of the world if your wall doesn't perfectly match your new couch? Of course not! But do you really want to put in all that work, only for it not to turn out how you wanted? To make sure that you're happy with the end result, we suggest you pick out your furnishings first before moving on to the next step.

Paint Samples Are Your Friend

You may look at the small paint swatches you see at the paint store and feel confident about the colours you've chosen. You may think you have an excellent imagination and are able to fully envision how it'll look like in your home. But none of us can completely account for all the factors that affect how a paint looks like in our space. The lighting in the store is not the same as your lighting at home, and even looking at it outside won't give you an accurate idea.

How a particular colour looks can be affected by which direction your windows are facing, the colours of your furniture and decor, and the time of day. That's why it's so important to get a sample of the colour you want to use and painting a test patch. Make sure the test patch is a good size, so that you can really get the best idea. If you don't want to paint on your wall you can get a large piece of cardboard and move it around against your wall to see how it looks in different lighting!

Make sure you observe how the colour looks during different times of the day, how it works with your furniture and any potential artwork or decor you know you will be using in this space. It can help to have a couple of swatches, so you can get a comparison.

If you are painting multiple colour swatches, make sure you don't put them right next to each other. Have you seen those optical illusions where the same colour can look different depending on what colour is right next to it? The same thing can happen here! If the colour samples are painted side by side they can affect the appearance of each other and confuse the eye.

Make It Flow

Every room in your home does not need to be painted in the same colour, but if you want want to infuse some interior design polish into your space you should choose one flow-through colour. The flow-through colour should be the same in the connecting rooms of your home - entryway, hallways, and main living areas. As open concept living has become popular, it's much more common for the different spaces in your house to open into each other. Using the same wall paint for these rooms makes the most of the open concept, creating a seamless flow throughout your home and making the space look bigger and more put together. We recommend choosing a neutral flow-through colour, to brighten up and really make the most of your open spaces.

Design by Vanessa Stone, Styled Spaces Interior Design, Victoria, BC. Photos by Melanie Orr.

Make It Make Sense

It might seem like fun to make every room a different colour, and there's no reason you can't if that's the look you really want. But if you are looking for a house that looks thought out and well designed, you should consider an overarching colour palette for your home before you start picking out your wall colours. This doesn't mean you can't add in different colours in different rooms, but if you create a master colour palette for your home you can ensure that the basic colours coordinate with each other and create a home that looks cohesive throughout. What you want to try to avoid is for every room to look like it belongs in a different house. We would suggest using colours that coordinate with each other for your walls, with a similar hue and undertone. For your accent colours (whether this is in the form of decor or furniture), you can build some cohesiveness by carrying these colours through your home and adding in pieces from the colour palette in more than one room throughout your house.

Notice in these photos how the basic palette stays the same, and the accent colour is repeated throughout the various rooms in different ways.

If you really want to go bold with a colour choice, but aren't sure you want to commit to it for a larger area - choose a room that is closed off and away from the sightline of your other rooms. You can choose some of your accent colours and bring them out in a bolder way, or have fun with wallpaper!

Choosing the colour for your walls is one of the biggest decisions you'll make when designing your home. While it's a fun and exciting decision, it can also seem daunting, since most of us will be be living with these colours for years to come. We hope some of these tips and tricks have been helpful to you! There are lots of things to consider when making the choice, but if you put some thought and work into it, you can have a home that looks like it belongs in an interior design magazine.


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