Paint Color Basics
We all have our preferences in regards to warm and cool colors, especially when it comes to which shades of paint to use in our homes. What you may not know, however, is how these decisions can affect your space and how important it can be…
These are the kinds of color questions that have come up and continue to come up with clients of mine (both online and in person). I literally wrote an eBook entitled, “How to Select Paint Colors for Your Home,” addressing topics like warm and cool colors (and tons more!).
I wanted to do a quick blog segment on one of the basics of “Color Theory” that I cover in my eBook to give you a starting place if you are not sure which direction to go in when it comes to picking paint colors for your space.
What is Color Temperature?
Ever pick a random paint color out thinking that it will be perfect for your space, only to paint a whole wall (or a whole room…eek!) and realize too late that it turned the room into a cave? Enter, color temperature. Color temperature, so to speak, can be best described as the way that a color feels in a room.
Cooler colors are my personal fav. They are my bent when choosing colors of any kind for any situation (not just paint for my walls). Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know what the cool colors are. I’ll give you a big hint: greens, blues and violets and all of their different shades (light and dark.) Cooler colors are receding hues, meaning when used on your walls, they can make spaces appear larger or more spacious. They are perfect for tiny apartments, dorm rooms or homes with lower ceilings.
A perfect example of this is my home. When we moved in, the previous owner painted the whole house in a warm beige color. Not totally terrible (she was trying to appeal to the masses for the sale of the home), but we have a smaller home with lower ceilings. I wanted to create the illusion of spaciousness without tearing the roof off and making higher ceilings (ha!). I decided to paint our home a cooler gray with a blue undertone. Bingo. Instant square footage! The cooler color transformed our home into a place of openness without major reconstruction. You can read all about how we picked our wall color in this post.
I also just did a review on one of my favorite cool colors of all time, Sea Salt. The vignettes in the video will show you what I’m talking about in regards to how cool colors can open up spaces and create a sense of spaciousness. Not to mention, there are some neat paint color ideas and schemes!
The opposite is true with warm colors on the spectrum. Although warmer colors are not my natural first choice, they are gorgeous when used in the right space. Reds, oranges and yellows/golds (along with their light and dark shades) are the warm colors. These colors are advancing hues and they create a sense of coziness or “snugness”.
If you have super tall ceilings for instance, you may want to consider using a color that has a warmer hue or “temperature.” There may even be some rooms in your home that you just prefer and desire to have the “cozy” feeling. An example of this can be (but is not limited to) a media room in which you will be mainly watching movies or TV. When I was selecting colors for model homes, I painted almost all of the media rooms a warmer color (e.g., warm darker brown) to cozy up the room for entertainment purposes. In this sense, the cave-like feel is welcomed.
If you are now wondering where to start, look around and have eyes to see what you are working with. If you have a room or area in your home that has super tall ceilings and you want to warm up or “cozy up,” the space consider using warmer colors or warmer tones to create the desired effect. If you have a space where you want to create the sense of spaciousness and openness, then consider using cooler colors to free up some visual space.
I tell clients all the time how much they will be surprised at the effects that paint color can have on their home. I’ve seen it over and over. People completely disgruntled with their home until they paint. Paint has the ability to open up spaces and create a totally different feel (if you pick the right one!).
If you are still really stuck on where to start and what color(s) to use, take advantage of the Color Selector by Rugh Design, a tool that I created to help get the ball rolling on what a main color and color scheme for your space could be. The Color Selector is actually totally free to those who purchase my eBook!!
Or, contact me personally for a Color Consultation. I love meeting new people and helping in the design process of picking the perfect paint color!