Selecting the Perfect Paint Color

Selecting a color is one of the biggest decorating dilemmas. You want a color that is right for your space and personality.

Color is the single most important factor in creating the mood of a room. It is the element that everyone understands and has been proven to be a psychological stimulus. It can unify furnishings that otherwise seem unrelated. Color can minimize architectural faults such as cracked walls or poorly placed windows. It can also make a small room seem larger or large rooms seem smaller.

Color Temperature

Research suggests that colors have “temperature”; they are either warm or cool.

Cool Colors

On one side of side of the color wheel, cool colors are considered to be purple, violet, blue, blue-green and green. More soothing and restful than warm colors, they can be used in rooms with Southern and Eastern exposure to create a calm ambiance. People who prefer cool colors are usually reserved and introspective.
Warm colors

On the other of the color wheel, warm colors are considered to be yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange and red. They are cheerful and powerful. Warm colors can be used in rooms with Northern exposure. They can also be used to put life into activity rooms. Children love warm colors best. Adults who like these colors tend to be outgoing and active.

Color Balance

Colors are used in different proportions throughout a room.

Dominant – The color you see the most of in a room
Secondary Color – The color you see the next in terms of amount
Accent Color – The color you see the least, but is placed throughout to add pizazz

Colors and Their Meanings


This color causes the most diverse reaction of all the colors. Evokes physiological response in increased heart rate and rapid breathing. Red Signals excitement, dynamism, danger and sex. Causes sense of smell improvement & increase in appetite. It Speeds up the perception of time. Interiors done in red will be dramatic and provocative

Shades & Tints

Bright Red – Exciting, energizing, sexy, hot, dynamic, stimulating, provocative, dramatic, aggressive, powerful
Bright Pink – Exciting, happy, hot, attention-getting, energetic, youthful, spirited, fun, trendy, wild
Light Pink – Romantic, soft, sweet, tender, cute, babies, delicate
Dusty Pink – Cozy, soft, subtle, dusky
Mauve – Soft, subdued, quiet, sentimental
Burgundy – Rich, elegant, refined, tasty, expensive, mature
Fuchsia – Bright, exciting, fun, hot, high energy, sensual
Brick Red – Earthy, strong, warm, country
Terracotta – Earthy, warm, wholesome, country, welcoming


Appeals to a great number of people causing it to be “declassifying”. Denotes affordability and has seasonal connotations. Orange is thought to be an appetite stimulant. It Combines the heat from red and yellow to make it the hottest color. Interiors will be glowing, vital and energizing

Shades & Tints

Orange – Fun, whimsical, childlike, happy, glowing, vital, sunset, harvest, juicy, tangy, energizing, gregarious, friendly, loud
Peach – Nurturing, soft, fuzzy, delicious, fruity, sweet, inviting


Is the best color to draw attention. Thought as being joyful, outgoing and friendly. It is the ideal color for dark or dreary rooms. Yellow does not darken with saturation, but becomes brighter. The fastest color the eye sees is yellow. It is thought of as being cheerful. Interiors will be luminous, glistening & joyful

Shades & Tints

Light Yellow – Cheerful, happy, soft, sunny, warm, sweet
Bright Yellow – Enlightening, sunshine, cheerful, friendly, hot, luminous, energy
Greenish Yellow – Lemony, tart, fruity, acidic
Golden Yellow – Autumn, flowers, harvest, rich, sun, warm, wheat, comforting, sun-baked, buttery
Gold – Warm, opulent, expensive, radiant, valuable, prestigious


Is the color of consistency and truth It slows the perception of time. Blue creates a calming effect and cools the body temperature. Navy is a great color to use in business. Blue is distant and receding. Interiors done in blue will be pleasing and tranquil.

Shades & Tints

Bright Blue – Electric, energetic, vibrant, flags, stirring, happy, dramatic
Navy – Credible, authoritative, basic, classic, conservative, strong, dependable, traditional, uniforms, service, nautical, confident, professional, serene, quiet
Turquoise – Ocean, tropical, jewelry
Aqua – Cool, fresh, liquid, ocean, refreshing, healing
Light Blue – Calm, quiet, peaceful, cool, water, clean
Sky Blue – Calming, cool, heavenly, constant, faithful, true, dependable, happy, restful, tranquil
Teal Blue – Pleasing, rich, classy, expensive, unique


Has enormous range with many connotations. It can be a “harmonizer” as it is in the middle of the spectrum Green is the most restful color to the eye and induces a state of tranquility. It makes people feel tended to and secure. Interiors will be traditional, stately and restful

Shades & Tints

Light Green – Calm, quiet, soothing, neutral
Dark Green – Nature, trustworthy, refreshing, cool, restful, stately, forest, quiet, woodsy, traditional, money
Olive Green – Military, camouflage, safari, classic, drab
Bright Green- Fresh, grass, Irish, lively, spring, foliage, outdoorsy
Bright Yellow Green – Artsy, sharp, bold, gaudy, trendy, tacky, slimy, sickening
Lime – Tart, acidic, refreshing, fruity, lively


The color of hearth and home. Brown is ever present in earth. It is easy to live with and viewed as protective. Beige and taupe are considered the most classic color. It is rich and timeless and not effected by fads. Interiors will be masculine, wholesome and grounded

Shades & Tints

Cream – Smooth, rich, warm, neutral, soft, classic, delicious
Beige – Classic, sandy, earthy, neutral soft, warm, bland
Earth Brown – Rooted, wholesome, sheltering, masculine, woodsy, warm, durable, secure, rustic, earth, dirt
Coffee or Chocolate – Rich, delicious


The rainbow’s most complex color. Purple combines the excitement of red and the tranquility of blue. It is a distinctive color that demands special attention Purple has regal connotations. Interiors will be mystical, exotic and magical

Shades & Tints

Blue Purple – Mystical, spiritual, futuristic, fantasy, meditative
Orchid – Exotic, flowers, fragrant, tropical
Red Purple – Excited, sensual, flamboyant, creative, unique
Deep Plum – Expensive, regal, classic, powerful, elegant
Lavender – Nostalgic, delicate, sweet scented, floral, sweet taste
Grape – Sophisticated, sweet taste, subtle


Represents solid strength and longevity. Brown is the color for creativity. Nature’s most perfect neutral, the eye sees no after image. A color of intellect, maturity and wisdom. A serious color that can become gloomy. Interiors will be classic, sophisticated and practical

Shades & Tints

Charcoal Gray – Professional, classic, expensive, sophisticated, solid, enduring, mature
Neutral Gray – Classic, cool, sober, corporate, practical, timeless, quality, quiet


The color of great diversity. The ultimate power color. A symbolic color for dignity and sophistication. Black is viewed by women as sexy, but not by most men. Too much black is depressing. It is highly preferred by people living in big cities. Interiors will be dramatic, bold and classic


A color with many positive responses. White indicates delicacy, refinement and sophistication. It can be used with any other color and look good. All-white work environment encourages precision. It reflects light and can cause squinting. White is a status color. Interiors will be clean, airy and bright

Color Schemes

Determining which colors will coordinate with each other is a big challenge for many people. Knowing a few popular color schemes will give you the confidence to experiment with multiple colors.

Monochromatic – One color throughout the room, can include all tints or shades and neutrals. This scheme creates dimension

Complementary – Two colors opposite each other on the color wheel.

  • red and green
  • blue and orange
  • yellow and lilac
  • teal and peach

Analogous – Three to five colors closely related on the color wheel.

Triadic – Three colors spaced equally apart on the color wheel

  • red, blue, yellow
  • green, lilac, peach

Neutral – Use of neutral colors by themselves in varying shades

  • Black
  • Brown
  • White
  • Grey

Color Selection

Select colors in natural light. Florescent lighting is cool and gives everything a bluish cast. Incandescent bulbs tend to accentuate warm yellows.

The exposure of the sun can also affect the colors you select:

  • Eastern exposure is yellow-tinged
  • Western exposure is orange-tinged
  • Northern exposure is blue-tinged
  • Southern exposure is even-tinged When selecting colors for a room, consider some of these factors:
  • What colors will create the desired feeling?
  • Is there a need to use cool or warm colors?
  • How will the introduction of new colors affect the color scheme?
  • What values and intensities of color should be used?
  • How can we create color balance in the room?

Do not let “fashion” dictate your color choices. This can leave your color schemes outdated in a short period of time. Look at wardrobes, lifestyle preferences, ages or locations for ideas.
Think of your favorite vacation destination for your inspiration of color schemes.


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