Interior paint ideas can help you make the most of a very versatile medium.

Paint is easy to apply, it comes in a multitude of colors and finishes, it isn't that expensive, and you can use it in so many ways!

Because of all these characteristics of paint, you'll probably find you use it more than anything else when you do your own home decorating.

There are a few basic factors to know about, such as using base coats (undercoats) for oil based paints, but you'll find instructions and recommendations printed on the sides of paint cans.

So here are some interior paint ideas to help you.


Selecting your paint color

Go for a color on a paint chart which looks slightly lighter than the color you are aiming for. Once you have decorated the major area of your room, the color reflects on itself which makes it look deeper.

The same paint will look different on different surfaces. Some surfaces are more porus than others (they soak up more of the paint). This can make a difference to how the color looks.

Which is why it's important to...

Use samples

Many paint manufacturers supply sample tins of paint. Use these to check that the color turns out as you had planned.

Paint always look a bit darker when it dries, so don't be put off when you first apply it. Of all interior paint ideas, this one probably saves more mistakes being made than any other.


blue paints and samples

Use other parts of your decorating scheme such as tiles and fabrics to help you select the color for your paint.

Try and get large samples of fabrics and tiles, this makes it easier to judge their suitability .



Test different areas of your walls

When you use samples, paint small areas in different parts of the room, and on adjacent walls. Light reflects around your room, and will also vary depending on the time of day, and whether it's daylight or artificial. So always check how different parts of your room look at different times of the day.

Always try out your interior paint ideas on small sections of your walls. If the painted section looks a bit 'blotchy' then try adding another coat of paint. Some paints need to be applied using more than one coat to get a satisfactory finish.

White paint and old buildings

If you use brilliant white paint in older houses it can look too clean and clinical. Use an off-white shade - it will give the effect of ageing. You can buy many off-white shades, or mix your own.


green walls

Don't be afraid to use strong colors if it suits the situation.

These dark green walls are ideal for a study or room where you want a bit of solitude. Because dark colors tend to 'advance' it makes room seem more intimate and cozy.


Exact matching

If you want your paint to exactly match something in your room - a carpet color or upholstery fabric - some specialist paint stores can mix a color for you. You'll need to take a sample of the fabric to give them something to match the color to.

Adjust the color (if you make a mistake...!)

Suppose you paint your room, and when it's dried you decide it's too dark (or light, or too bright). First, don't panic, there's ways round it.

If it's too light, sponge over the wall with the original color to which a touch of black has been added. (If it's too dark, then add a little white to the original color). This is using the ragging technique to get your walls back to the color your want, and gives them an interesting texture effect at the same time.


peach interior walls

When you come to select the paint color for your walls, don't just pick a color at random, and then try to plan your room around it.

You may know you want a green or beige room, but do a bit more research.

Get the whole scheme together first - the fabrics you plan to use, furniture finishes, carpets and so on. If you do have an idea of what color you'd like the room to be, having all the materials together will let you focus on the exact color you need.

In this photo, once the fabric had been selected, it was an easy decision when it came to choosing the exact tint of peach to use for the walls.


Tint your own paint

This interior paint idea needs some confidence to make it work, but can also enable you to get the exact color you want.

If the color you want isn't readily available, buy the nearest one (or white), and add small quantities of stronger colored paint until you get the color your want.

As you can imagine, if you don't know much about color, this could take forever! So if you're not too sure, take a look at the color schemes section to learn how color works.


blue walls

You don't have to paint all the walls the same color.

The illustration above shows the facing wall painted in a soft blue-gray, which adds interest to the room.


Paint Color Cheat Sheets shows you shortcuts to finding colors which work for your rooms. (Only for residents of the USA and Canada.)

The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets


Tricks with color

Finally, here are some interesting things you can do with color to help you with your interior paint ideas.



  • If you have a 'confused' section of a room - lots of pipes, cables, or other eyesores - paint that part of the room a dark color so that everything fuses together. (You may have seen this done in modern stores with hanging ceilings and lots of pipework and air conditioning ducts.)
  • Make a long corridor seem shorter by painting one end wall in a warmer color than the other walls.
  • Strong, warm colors such as rust red will make a room appear smaller.
  • Cool colors have the opposite effect, and will seem to push out the walls.
  • A small room will appear larger if all the surfaces are painted the same light color, and plenty of light (daylight or artificial) is allowed to play on the surfaces.
  • If your ceiling is higher than you'd like, paint it a dark color than the walls, and it will appear to be lower. Conversely, a low ceiling painted lighter than the walls will seem higher.


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