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Paint 101: Choosing the Correct Interior Paint Color and Finish


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Creating inspired interiors for discerning clients since 2003. Accepting clients in DC, Virginia, Maryland, and select cities throughout the United States.

Paint 101: Choosing the Correct Interior Paint Color and Finish

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.”

~ Wassily Kandinsky, artist

One of my favorite components of design is the selection of and use of color. The use of interior paint color color in a home is a direct reflection of the homeowner’s personality. Room color can influence mood, thoughts, and outlook. Certain colors tend to get a similar reaction from most people; for example, the excitement of red and the calming sensation of blue. Variations in reaction come from the shade and tone used. Here are some things to consider when choosing interior paint colors to decorate your home:

Consider the lighting in the space.

We see color based on two factors; how the light source works and the amount of light an object absorbs. For example, natural light changes throughout the day and is impacted by a room’s location. A homeowner has more control over artificial lighting, including the type of bulb used.

Pick your colors based on permanent items.

Paint color is the backdrop to any room. When choosing colors, look first at the permanent fixtures in the room. For example, it is much easier to choose a complementary paint color to kitchen countertops than to replace the countertops. Family heirlooms, area rugs, and special pieces should be considered as well when choosing interior paint color.

Look to the opposite side of the color wheel.

If you would like to bring out a particular color in a room, chose a wall color with tones from the opposite side of the color wheel. For example, if the beautiful keepsake rug you would like to highlight in your living area is red and gold you should choose a warm, green-based cream color for the walls. This will bring out the red and gold tones in the rug and make those colors pop.

Paint finishes matter.

The type of paint finish (semi-gloss, flat, etc.) is dependent on the space and style of the home. For a traditional look, I like to use warm, Neutral tones for the walls in a matte finish. For the trim, my favorite color is Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (OC-17) in a semi-gloss finish. I like to finish the space off with a flat Decorator’s White on the ceiling. If chosen correctly, homeowners can expect to live with a room color can for up to a decade.

Are you considering a large-scale design project? Please contact me if you have any questions about your upcoming design project.