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A Touch of Color

If you feel completely lost when it comes to choosing colors for your home renovation, you've come to the right place. This blog post is dedicated to explaining the basics that will ease you into picking the perfect color scheme for your home.

Color Theory 101

To start off we need to explain a little bit about color theory. Did you know there are actually 3 different types of colors? Well yes, there's primary, secondary, and tertiary. The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. Secondary colors are green, orange, and purple. Tertiary colors (the six shades mixing primary and secondary): yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green. You can check these 12 colors on a traditional color wheel like the one below.

The most common color combinations used by interior designers are complementary, split complementary, and analogous colors. Complementary Colors are 2 colors that are opposite each other on the color chart. Ex. red and green or blue and orange. Analogous Colors are 3 colors that are next to each other on the color chart, creating a monochromatic color combination. Ex. yellow, orange, and orange/yellow. Split Complementary Colors are basically the combination of the previous examples. Take 2 analogous colors and their complement to create this color combination. Ex. blue, green, and orange. I bet you are already thinking of some color combinations you can pull off in your own house, it's always a good start to know the basics.

I always say that the one thing you should always have in mind before choosing a paint color is the purpose and common use of each room. Colors that you might use in your bathroom might not the same ones you use in your kitchen. For example, if you are renovating an additional room in your house as a home office you should look for colors that are not too dark and not too bright, you may want a color that helps you with productivity, focus, and that brings a calming effect into your environment. Choosing the wrong color can affect the mood and feel of the space. For example, cool colors can have a calming and soothing effect whereas warm colors that are more vivid can evoke feelings of happiness, optimism, and energy. There are happy colors, sad colors, calming colors, and even energizing colors. By considering the use of each space you can have an idea of which feeling you want to evoke with the color of your choosing.

Science of painting (The 60-30-10 Rule)

Some say there's an unspoken rule based on the percentages 60, 30, and 10 that can be used to create a color palette (We'll talk more about color palettes below). The rule indicates 60% of the space should have a dominant color (walls), 30% should have a secondary color or texture (upholstery), and finally, 10% should be an accent color (accessories). Imagine walking into a room, you almost always initially see the wall colors, that's why it holds such a big percentage (60%). You might even remember a room based on the color of its walls. Now, the next thing you see is usually the furniture. This one is supposed to support the main color but be different enough to grab your attention. Finally, the 10% is where everyone likes to have fun. The accent color can be subtle or bold, whichever fits most your style. Now, you can use this as a guideline if this is your first time renovating an interior space, but if you think you have a clear idea of what you want don't let this rule change your plans or your style. After all, it's your house and it should feel like YOU.

How to choose interior paint colors:

Create a Color Scheme (Color Palette)

Now that we've covered our bases of color theory and how to use your colors for interior design, we can finally talk about the right colors for you. Creating your home color palette might seem like a strenuous task. Don't worry, we are going to help you out. Being able to create a color scheme or color palette beforehand will ensure you a better-planned selection of colors, fewer mess-ups, and more fun.

For a second just forget all the trends, styles, and themes you've been researching and think of the colors you feel most comfortable with and write them down. We don't want you choosing a color based on a trend that you will quickly come to hate because it doesn't speak to you and your lifestyle. Start with your favorite colors and what colors you've always wanted to have according to the uses of each space. Maybe you’ve seen blue kitchens or green bedrooms and have always wanted to try it in yours, but think of it as a whole. Would you be comfortable with those colors in your day-to-day environment? How do those colors make you feel?. Give it some thought and pick at least 2 of the ones you feel most comfortable in. Now analyze those selected colors and how they make you feel versus how you want to feel. For example, maybe you like vibrant blues, you can use that color in open spaces that receive a lot of light, but a more toned-down blue can have the calming effect you need in your bedroom to get a good night's sleep. Think of those little details that you need in each room as well as the space you currently have. This simple thinking and meditating step will give you a head start to creating a color palette with the tones and shades that will go along best in your home.

Now that you've selected your first colors, try to pair them up with other colors based on the color combination you like the best for your space. If you have existing furniture and decor, think of colors that can enhance them. If you still haven’t bought furniture, try defining the style of furniture you want before choosing the colors. It's easier to change wall paint than to return big pieces of furniture after hours of instructions and manual labor.

Lighter or Darker Shades

Now that you have a basic idea of the colors, furniture, and feel you want for each room, we can choose the shades. Think of the existing lighting situation each room has, how much natural light vs. artificial light it has. The more natural light there is the better it is for our wellbeing. But what about for our wall paint? Like I mentioned before a darker or lighter shade can change the feel of the room and taking into consideration the amount of lighting the room has can you help you choose a shade quicker. I recommend going to your nearest hardware store and picking a few of the paper samples in a ton of different shades of your chosen color. Take them home and visualize them in each room. A shade darker or lighter can change the whole environment in the blink of an eye.

Story time! We recently decided to paint one of our bedroom walls green. After some back and forth of trying samples and thinking about it we decided on a shade of green that looked beautiful, but after painting the entire wall I wasn’t fully convinced. Don't get me wrong, the color and shade are beautiful, but sometimes change is difficult. Now, we've had people over and acknowledge how pretty the wall looks and the beautiful color shade, but I still haven’t come to terms with it. Since we are selling our old furniture and buying new pieces I think we can definitely spruce up our room and give it the feel I was looking for with that calming and deep shade of green. So if you are feeling frustrated, don't, we all go through it, and it may take a few tries (or samples) to get the right one for you and your home.

Whites and Neutrals

Another great option to avoid the color ordeal is hopping into the whites and neutrals train. Mixing boho and contemporary or modern has become very popular in the past couple of years. If it's done properly, it can give a very sophisticated aura to your living space.

There are ways to create an elegant space with just whites and neutrals. Just Like there are hundreds of shades of green, there are hundreds of shaded of whites and beige. Creating an analogous color combination with neutrals is a fun and elegant way to create depth and interesting space without having to add an actual color. Don't stick with the plain glossy or matte white your house came in with, look for beige or white with a special finish.


Now there are various types of paint finishes. There is Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Pearl, Satin, Semi-Gloss, and High Gloss. Our favorite is Satin, which is the right combination of shiny but without having that extra hard gloss effect that can look tacky sometimes. Eggshell is another fan favorite. The shade you should choose depends on the space and the light intensity available in that room. Well-lit open spaces can pull off matte or eggshell, but small spaces with very little light can benefit from a bit of gloss that can help bounce off the light available in the room. Have in mind that finishes closest to flat are more forgiving to imperfections but finishes closest to gloss tend to resist more damages like scrapes and last longer.

Benjamin Moore has a guide to their tones. You can access it here.

Match or Contrast the spaces near

When choosing paint colors try to match with other room colors or contrast with them. No matter which way you go, your living spaces should speak to each other cohesively. We don't recommend repeating the same wall color all throughout the entire house but adding pieces of the same color, either in accessories or furniture, can bring together the decor and paint throughout the entire property more cohesively.

Accent walls and Furniture

If you like to have an accent wall in your common space, there are various options out there for you. Accent walls can be created with just paint and a creative pattern but other options would be ceramic tiles, 3D plastic tiles, wood paneling, mosaic, wallpaper, etc. You can make this wall in a darker shade with contemporary colors to the ones near to make the space feel cozier, but if you want to open up a space consider lighter tones and shades.

Another effective way to create an accent in a room is with the furniture. If you have chosen neutral colors for your walls a splash of color in your sofa, cushions, rug or even home accessories can be a great personal touch to the space. Remember to use the color wheel as a guide if you can't seem to decide what color combination you would like to play around with.


Always remember some hardware stores offer color samples for less than $5. This is a fun and smart way to test your colors without breaking the bank. Don't forget to evaluate the color at different times of the day.

Now we hope this blog post has helped you out or at least clarified some doubts you had regarding adding a touch of color to your living space.

You can learn more about these tips in our future blog posts.

Stuck with ideas? Line.Studio can help you design and decorate your residential or commercial property. Just leave us a message or call us and we'll be happy to help.

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