Interior wall colors will have the most influence on the character of your room.

Because walls usually provide the most surface area in a room, they are one of the most important features.

But they must not be looked at in isolation. It's no use rushing ahead and just using a favorite color, then hoping that everything else will just fall into place. Interior wall colors must be part of an overall plan.

Effects of color

Because interior wall colors have such an important effect, here are some suggestions.

Warm colors

Rooms using deep, warm colors such as rust-red will always seem cozy and comfortable.

They are particularly useful in situations where long, dark winter months can get a bit depressing. Just be aware that stronger colors tend to make rooms look smaller.

When using strong colors, take account of any paintings or other pictures you may have; you don't want the wall color to clash or detract from your favorite painting.

Hot climate

If you live in a hot climate, then a room with interior wall colors such as white, pale green, yellow or blue will appear airy and cool. Keep the walls light, and use deeper versions of the colors in furniture, rugs and upholstery.


wall color to match chairs

The soft blue gray of these walls blends with the chair fabric, and is also used on the ceiling.

Many people avoid any shade of blue under the mistaken impression that all blues are cold colors.

There are many variation of blue, and it can be used very successfully.


Hints and tips

When you use deep colors on your walls and want to brighten the room, do it with accents of more intense color using pillows, picture frames or table lamps.

Warm, dark colors have the effect of making your room look distinguished. This is particularly useful if you're decorating a room for use as a library or home office. Deep reds, blues and greens are often used in these situations.

For small, light rooms, your interior wall colors can also be light. This will make the room appear larger than it really is.

Don't make the mistake or using white or very light colors to cheer up a dark room. The effect is often to make it gloomy and depressing. Use rich, warm colors, and think about putting in extra lighting such as a couple of table lamps using energy efficient light sources.


neutral walls

By keeping the color of the walls the same as the area rug, the room has a quiet feel to it.

The white seating and accent colors in the pillows and lamp base contrast with this serene background.


How much wall is visible?

Remember that if you have lots of pictures, paintings and mirrors, or items of furniture which are situated against your walls, you won't actually see as much of them as you might imagine. Add in a large fire surround, a couple of doors and large windows, and sometimes interior wall colors aren't quite so dominant.

Following on from the last point, the style of your room can have an effect on your walls. A contemporary room where nearly all the walls are seen will be quite different from a Victorian style room with a multitude of pictures, draperies and furniture concealing most of the wall space.


How many colors can you use together?

You may worry about whether you are using too many or too few colors in your room.

A safe way is to use no more than three colors for major areas, such as walls, floors or window treatments. But you can use any number for accent colors - pillows, cushions, accessories, etc.


green interior walls

Natural wood floor, soft green walls and white ceiling - these are the main colors in this room.

Interest is introduced by the rug under the table, which contains the colors used in the room.


Use a color board

One way to see if your choice of interior wall colors will give you the effect you want is to use a color board.

Take a piece of paper or card of a reasonable size (at least Letter size or A4) and divide it into three sections.

  • Approximately one quarter at the bottom is for the floor color.
  • Use the half in the center for the walls.
  • The top quarter is for the ceiling.

Now paint these sections in the color scheme of your choice.

Cut out rectangular pieces of card and color them for other items in the room such as furniture. They don't have to be the shape of the item, all you're trying to do is represent the colors in the right proportions. So a small item of a bright color will be represented by a small piece of card of that color.

Now stand back and examine the color board. (Some people find it helpful to squint so the colors blend together.)

You'll get an impression of how your colors blend and whether or not you need to change them to get a balanced effect.




Make the most of other peoples' experience with color. Paint Color Cheat Sheets will give you an insight into which colors work best in your home. (Only for residents of the USA and Canada.)

The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets


(If you want to learn more on the theory of color, then take a look at the color schemes page. From there you can select whichever section interests you.)


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