Painting tips for your home

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Couple painting wall

Choosing the right paint color can be a challenge. With all the choices, it's hard to even know where to start! We've gathered some of our best painting tips to help you make the right color choice for your home.

How paint colors affect your mood

Paint can with paint sampleAdd some drama

Want a look with a little more zing? Don't think you have to limit yourself to just one color -- or just one style of application. For a bold, classic look, for example, consider choosing two colors that complement each other and paint stripes!

Find out how to paint stripes on your wall >>

Jamie Hurd, Academic Department Director of Interior Design at The Art Institute of Portland in Oregon, suggests you consider adding visual interest with the background colors in the room. "Perhaps choose one wall to paint a different color than the rest, and embellish that wall with stencils and accents, or divide the walls from top to bottom, similar to a wainscot," she says. "This allows for more color in the room, as well as the opportunity for semi-gloss paints to be used [on the bottom portion] for easy cleanup."

5 Painting tips & tricks

Paint can do more than brighten your room -- and your mood. It can also make your living space seem bigger or smaller, depending on how you use your colors.

How to make the ceiling appear higher

Dark colors can make the ceiling seem lower, while lighter shades reflect more and will make the room feel more spacious. Often, decorators choose to paint the ceiling with a slightly lighter tint than the color on the walls to subtly trick the eye.

paint samplesHow to make the room seem wider

If you have a long, narrow room, consider a drama wall, painting the wall at the far end a darker shade than the longer walls. Darker colors generally appear to recede, creating an illusion of width, while lighter colors will seem to be closer.

How to make the room appear larger

To make a small room look larger, choose a light-colored paint and select furnishings in the same color family. (Or, paint some of the furniture to match the walls!) Along with some judicious rearranging of furniture and other elements, using lighter colors can create the illusion of roominess when actual space is limited.

How to use lighting to enhance your space

Light can dramatically affect how a color appears. The same wall can look different morning, noon and night -- depending on the lighting. Different types of bulbs or natural light sources like windows and skylights can change how your color looks.

How to make a space feel cozier

Color can also be used to make a large space seem cozier and less... imposing . Using darker colors in a large bedroom can make it more intimate and romantic. Try deep reds or get bold with some black paint. Just make sure you're prepared to use more subtle furniture to compliment the eye-catching wall colors.


Be bold with your paint colors. When choosing your palette, don't feel limited to whites and beiges throughout. Have some fun, and remember that color is a powerful and inexpensive decorating tool -- and one that can make a real statement. Figuring out just what you want that statement to be is up to you!

Watch: How to make your own chalkboard paint

Learn how to make your own chalkboard paint.

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Comments on "Painting tips for your home"

Tina March 16, 2013 | 3:36 PM

Paint is def one of the simplest and most effecitive 'quick fixes' to change the look of your place. Tedioius but worth it!!

Gena February 16, 2013 | 5:56 PM

I really like using neutral, desert tones to add tranquility and coziness to my homestead. Plus, if you ever sell your home you won't have to repaint if your colors stay fairly nuetral.

Jamie January 02, 2013 | 5:07 PM

My husband and I recently painted our master bedroom and bath and blueish grey. It's amazing how much more modern and tranquil the space feels now with the simple addiction of some color! Can't wait to repaint the rest of our house :)

Tina September 18, 2012 | 11:18 AM

I love this list! Colors are so fun and add so much value to your home. I think peach could be a great way to go for an office or loft type area. It's subtle but sophisticated.

Adrienne September 16, 2012 | 2:24 PM

I like the idea of a dark reddish brown for an office or library. It sets a very calm mood and would be a great place to study or work. Light some candles to add some calm vibes. Thanks for all the tips, this was a very interesting read.

Katie September 16, 2012 | 1:57 PM

These are great tips on how to use the psychology of colors to create rooms that evoke moods and feelings. I would tend to go with more calming and cozy colors like green, blue and black because I like to unwind and feel relaxed when I’m at home. I also like the idea of painting a room in a few different colors so you’re not just stuck with one color. Moods tend to vary based on different factors (like the seasons, for instance) so this is why I think it’s important to mix things up.

Lacy September 16, 2012 | 1:04 PM

I love blues and grays. My husband and I just painted our bathroom gray and our bedroom blue. I didn't know blue supressed your appetite - that's definitely an added bonus for us dieters out there!

Barbara June 29, 2012 | 10:04 AM

I would paint the walls a medium gray with the ceiling being one shade lighter, using black accents (and a little red) around the room. If you are going to have hardwood floors, I would pick up something around the maple cabinets color, maybe just a tad darker. This, to me, would be a very sophicated look. Good luck!

Erica June 06, 2012 | 1:08 PM

Whites are a gorgeous neutral. Usually slightly off-whites can be accessorized with any other color or pattern. It doesn't really require matching furniture or accessories because it goes with everything!

Lori December 06, 2010 | 8:35 AM

I have a large red couch in a 21 x 21 room and 15ft ceilings. I love the couch and so does my husband. The Kitchen connects to the living room. Black, gray and light blue granite counter tops and maple cabinets and stainless steel appliances. What colors should I make the walls and floors. Very tall windows from floor to ceilings. Please help.

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