Whether undertaking a full-scale remodel or simply freshening up one room’s paint, color is exceptionally important to crafting a great space. But where to start?

Choosing colors can be an overwhelming process, but there’s a few things you can keep in mind when picking your paint that can lead to a new space you can enjoy for years to come.

Find Your Inspiration and Vibe

How do you want to feel when you walk into the room? Deciding what feel you want to evoke can narrow down your color choices dramatically.

Brighter, warmer colors will lend a space an inviting and friendly; cooler, darker colors lend themselves to calmer, peaceful rooms.

For inspiration, look to a significant accent piece—such as a favorite throw pillow fabric or a patterned rug—and pull your primary accent color from there. Or, consider a significant place or memory and base your colors on that.

Example of chair matching interior wall color

 Example of chairs matching interior wall color

Keep a Neutral Backdrop…

Unless you’re making an intentionally bold statement, keeping your walls a neutral color can add significant life and versatility to your paint job.

A neutral wall will hold up against a wider array of decor and styles you may cycle through over the years, meaning one paint job will last far longer than a color specific to your current palette.

…But Watch Out for the Undertones

Though neutrals blend well with more color schemes, pay attention to the undertones of a color. They’re hard to spot in the can, but can wreak havoc on the walls.

A beige with a red undertone may skew pink once applied to the space, and your cool blue accents suddenly clash.

Paying attention to your undertones, especially with neutral shades, can save you a headache later.

Consider the Lighting

Does the space get a lot of natural light? The answer to this question can affect how you proceed with the paint choices.

An area that’s consistently in natural light natural light on interior home paintwill automatically feel brighter, but the time of day can affect how your paint color appears. Conversely, areas that don’t get a lot of light tend to be naturally darker, so stick to brighter shades and avoid dark accents.

Stick to the 60–30–10 Rule

Consolidating your palette to three main colors—a primary, secondary, and an accent—is a good rule to follow so your colors don’t feel scattered and disjointed.

Your primary color, usually the neutral shade, should account for approximately 60% of the space, whether that’s wall paint, furniture color, or textiles.

Your secondary color should take up approximately 30%, and your accent color should stay around 10%. Using these percentages ensure a well-balanced space.

Repeat Colors Around the Space

For consistency and continuity throughout the whole space, strategically use colors in more than one place.

A primary color that took up a whole wall in one room can become the accent color in another. Try to use each color in your palette at least twice around the whole space to make each color choice feel more intentional.

Color is the simplest way to add significant character and personality to your new space—keeping these points in mind while browsing swatches will ensure an outcome that you’ll be happy to live with for years to come, and create a space you’ll continue to enjoy for a long time.