How to Choose Interior Paint Colors for Your Home

Tips for Choosing the Best Interior Paint Colors from Our San Antonio Interior Designers and Architects   

We said it before, and we’ll say it again—color selection ain’t for the faint of heart! In our last blog, we discussed how to choose exterior paint colors for your home. Now, we’re moving the color story inside. Once you cross the threshold, the color choices don’t get any easier. In fact, choosing interior paint colors for your home may be the most challenging part of the interior design process. Don’t worry! Our San Antonio interior designers and architects will teach you how to choose interior paint colors for your home. We reveal our number-one rule, interior color trends, paint finish options, and tips for picking the perfect hue. 

Amity Kett’s #1 Rule for Selecting Interior Paint Colors 

Our number-one rule for selecting interior paint colors is to choose a shade that will make you and your guests look good. While other designers may get caught up matching paint colors to fabrics, we believe the overall color scheme of the interior should place comfort first and focus on the users of the space. 1970s fashion and design icon Halston made it the norm to focus on the user advantage in regards to both clothing and interiors. His New York townhouse profiled in LIFE Magazine featured an intentional palette of neutral grays that wouldn’t compete with guests’ outfits. While we utilize many different hues, we always make sure to choose the shade that will make our clients and their guests look elegant and feel comfortable in the space.  

Halston Home 1970s
Halston Home—1970s: His New York townhouse profiled in LIFE Magazine featured an intentional palette of neutral grays that wouldn’t compete with guests’ outfits.

Interior Home Color Trends to Consider

One of the biggest new interior design trends for 2021 is embracing color throughout the interior. Here are five trending color options to consider when repainting your home. 

Dark and Moody Tones 

While the last decade has been all about crisp whites and light colors, the 2020s embrace dark and moody tones. Don’t be afraid to try out darker shades. In some cases, they can even make a small room feel bigger.  

Dark And Moody Colors Photo by Amity Worrel
The 2020s embrace dark and moody tones.
Photo by Amity Worrel

1930s and 40s Inspired Palettes 

What’s old is new again. Art Deco and Craftsman-inspired color palettes of the 1930s and 40s are trending for their preferences towards rich jewel tones and natural hues. These are the perfect palettes to bring elegance and indoor-outdoor connections into the home.  

1930s and 1940s Inspired Paint Colors by The Craftsman Blog
1930s and 1940s-inspired paint colors are the perfect palettes to bring elegance and indoor-outdoor connections into the home.
Photo by The Craftsman Blog

Colorful Trim Work 

When you think about painted trim work, your mind probably jumps to white baseboards, crown molding, and windowsills. Now, homeowners are experimenting with colors other than white. Consider a darker color or a bright accent to make your millwork a feature. 

Colorful Trim Photo by Amity Worrel
Colorful Trim
Photo by Amity Worrel

Same Color—Different Finish 

When color choices are too overwhelming, just pick one! While we joke, painting walls and trim work the same color but in different finishes has become a popular trend. A matt wall paint and a gloss trim paint reflect light differently, adding texture and definition while keeping a consistent color. 

Same Color Different Finishes Photo by Amity Worrel
Painting walls and trim work the same color but in different finishes has become a popular trend.
Photo by Amity Worrel

Two-tone Kitchens

Two-tone kitchens have been popular for a few years now, and the trend is only picking up steam. When painting a two-tone kitchen, use a dark or accent color for lower cabinets and the kitchen island and a lighter color for upper cabinets. Dark colors feel grounded, while light colors feel airy. It is better to echo the placement of the cabinets with color rather than compete.  

Two-tone Kitchen
Two-Toned Kitchen
Photo by Amity Worrel

3 Interior Paint Finishes and When to Use Them  

What is a paint finish? The paint finish or sheen refers to how much light reflects off a painted surface, resulting in a matt or glossy appearance. Choosing a paint finish can be difficult if you don’t know what each sheen is used for or how it will look. Here are the three most common paint finishes and their applications.  

Flat vs Satin vs Gloss Photo by Benjamin Moore
Flat vs Satin vs Gloss Finishes
Photo by Benjamin Moore

Flat

Flat paint has a low sheen and is used for painting walls and ceilings. Flat paint is typically more forgiving of imperfections but is less durable than higher gloss options. 

Satin 

Satin paint has a light sheen and is used for trim work and doors. It is more durable than flat paint and can withstand higher traffic areas, like stair railings. 

Gloss

Glossy paint has a high sheen, and it is used to highlight architectural elements and make a dramatic feature. High gloss paint is typically applied to trim, cabinets, and paneling to give them a luxe look. Higher gloss shows more imperfections, so careful craftsmanship and application are necessary.  

Open-concept vs. Closed-concept Paint Color Rules for Home Interiors

Can you paint every room in your home a different color? The answer is maybe. It truly depends on the architecture of your home and how the walls meet and interact between spaces. You need a clean stop marked by trim work or the end of a wall to start a new color. 

Open concept floor plans tend to limit the number of colors you can use throughout your interior. For example, an open-concept kitchen, living, and dining room may require that one color is used throughout all three spaces. Closed floor plans can incorporate more colors because there are more walls that define each room. When selecting a color for a room, consider how far it has to travel along the wall. Does the wall end at the door, or does it travel down the hall and up the stairwell? Analyze the relationships of your walls before breaking out the paintbrush. 

6 Designer Tips on How to Choose Interior Paint Colors

1. Pick a Mood and Find Colors That Match  

The first step to choosing interior paint colors is deciding on the mood you want your home to embody. Do you want it to feel calming, exciting, rejuvenating, energizing, casual, or luxurious? Color will be the primary emotional driver of each room. Consider your overall lifestyle and what function each room will serve. For example, a game room may dictate an energizing color, while a relaxing hue is more fitting for a bedroom. There are many ways to come up with a color scheme. Try looking to nature, through magazines, or online for inspiration.  

2. Keep an Open Mind

Keep an open mind through the interior color selection process and be receptive to veering off course from your original color scheme. Your favorite colors may not work in the space or create the mood you want. Consult with designers and experts at the paint store and be open to testing colors you would have never considered. They may surprise you!  

Yellow Bathroom
Yellow Bathroom
Photo by Amity Worrel

3. Test Every Paint Color in the Space

Test every color consideration in the space! This tip is one of the most important. Our team of San Antonio interior designers typically starts with dozens of color choices, which we narrow down for our clients. To do so, we bring color sample boards into every room to examine how they look in the lighting and next to other material selections.  

4. Don’t Forget to Coordinate Paint Colors, Materials, and Textiles 

The final paint color selections must coordinate with the flooring, counters, cabinets, and textiles going into the home. Gather all of your samples, even the soft finishes, and see how they interact in the room. What may have been a great pairing at the showroom may look completely different in your home’s interior. Also, make sure to consider the exterior and architectural style of your home when painting the interior. The whole property should feel cohesive. 

5. Hire a Good Painter

When it comes to painters, you get what you pay for! Sometimes, our interior design clients are surprised by painting costs. What may seem like a simple job on the surface actually requires quite a bit of skill. Don’t invest in custom woodwork and paneling to have the craftsmanship ruined by a sloppy paint job. Choose a quality painter. 

6. Remember That Color Can Be Emotional

If selecting paint colors seems like a long and arduous process, that’s because it is! Color is hard to get right, and choosing a shade can trigger unexpected emotions. We associate colors with memories and places, like vacation homes, grandma’s house, and our favorite hangout spots. Know that color selection ain’t for the faint of heart, but you are prepared to take it on with a bit of help. 

Need help selecting interior paint colors?   

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