Choosing Color for Your Home Interior
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

Spring is here and it is time to think about sprucing up the house. Time has come to make a priority list of things needing to be done around the house, such as, the painting job put off last year.

As you consider these changes in your home, think about the importance of color and the part it plays in the home. Color in the home portrays personality, influences mood, defines space and suggests function and temperature. Whether you are choosing colors for the first time or changing the decor of home there are many factors to consider in choosing colors for the home. These are room size, shape, orientation, use, personal preference and lighting.

To make color planning easier:

  1. Consider the people who use the home.

  2. Decide on the effect you are trying to create, such as formal or casual, warm or cool.

  3. Evaluate existing furnishings.

  4. Break the home into categories, such as large and small rooms, north or south orientation, or different levels of use.

  5. Subdivide the rooms and furnishings into main areas (floor, walls, ceiling), secondary areas (window treatments, large furnishings) and accents areas. The room scheme is primarily determined by main and secondary areas.

  6. Plan purchases for the future. Samples or swatches of existing color should be kept handy for reference when shopping.

When choosing paint for a small room, consider painting all the walls the same color. Using a flat paint in a light color, the walls will appear to recede. For an oversized room, consider trimming window frames and moldings in a contrasting or complementary color to the wall. Use a darker or muted paint color to visually decrease the room size. If the room is long and narrow, paint the end wall a darker or contrasting color. This will visually square-off the room. For rooms with poor lighting, use pale colors to reflect more light than darker colors. Glossy paint finishes reflect more light.

Bring paint chip samples home to test in day and night light. Colors often appear darker or more vibrant when painted on a large wall.

Colors in the home need to reflect your likes and fit in with your lifestyle. Color trends change quite often so consider your budget and how long you will need to keep the new look before changing color schemes.

(This resource was added March 26, 2006 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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