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How to Use Color in Interior Design

How to Use Color in Interior Design

When it comes to color choice and interior design for your home, there are no hard and fast rules. It’s about your vision and what color palette makes you feel comfortable. There are three popular techniques when considering new color for your interior spaces:

Techniques for Considering Color in a New Home:

Colored Walls and White Woodwork

This tradition style of applying one color to the walls and a white gloss on the woodwork is a very clean look. To soften the contrast, choose a companion color for the ceiling.

Light Walls and Darker Woodwork

A way to create the illusion of a larger space and greater light is to use a light color on your walls and a darker tone on your woodwork. Using a neutral palette further emphasizes the simplicity of the space, creating a natural contemporary feel to your interior. A lighter color creates the illusion of being farther away, whereas a dark color on the walls will bring the wall toward you.

One Color for Walls and Woodwork

Both contemporary and traditional design styles can successfully use one color for both walls and woodwork. This application generates a sense of calm in the room, makes the space feel larger, and, creates a strong, clean outcome. The ceiling will appear taller when using the same color on walls and cornices and graduating to a slightly lighter tone for the ceiling. This creates a soft transition, blurring the lines from wall to ceiling.

Not only are these three techniques a smart way to approach changing your interior color palette, but choosing the right finish that fits your lifestyle is important as well. Choices from flat, eggshell, gloss each have their own unique attributes and applications.

One more thing, here are additional tips when creating your home’s interior color palette:

  • Hallways: For narrow hallways that feel “tunnel like,” paint the end wall a shade darker than the side walls. Alternatively, by selecting darker colors for a hallway, makes the rooms off the hallway larger and brighter.
  • Creating More Ceiling Height: One more way to create height is to paint the ceiling the same as the walls and woodwork.
  • Creating Flow Through Your Home: Select colors with the same tonal weight and choose your palette floor by floor. Look for sight lines when moving through your rooms and select colors that will compliment adjacent rooms and hallways.
    For a more dramatic feel, reverse wall and woodwork colors room by room. For example, switch the wall and color in the main area of your home to the woodwork in the other rooms. And switch the woodwork color in the main area to the wall color in the other rooms. The continuity of the color palette remains, but you increase the drama of your interior space.
  • Powder Bathrooms: Often more than not, powder baths do not have windows and natural light. Create the best outcome for this space by choosing darker colors, creating a dramatic, intimate atmosphere.
  • Choosing the Right White: Whites have different undertones. The undertones can be red, pink, gray, brown, blue, green, and yellow. It’s important to compliment your other colors in your palette with the best suited white to prevent clashing. The uniqueness of whites with undertones is an opportunity to use whites in their own right when pairing with a pure white that contains no pigment but white.

Be Inspired with Color!


Joanie has created beautiful interior & exterior designs in Scottsdale, Denver, and now Charlotte. She makes interior design fun for her clients by creating unique visions with their style. Joanie also incorporates green ideas & materials into all her projects.