Category Archives: Guide To Painting Your Home

All about the process of color selection, paint quality and finishes plus ideas for color options for trims, doors and ceilings you might not have thought of.

Painting Your Home #3: Which Color Goes Where?
This is from part of an article from a 1912 Ladies Home Journal article.

Proffering Opinions On Color Placement 

Is A Time Honored Pastime.

But not all trends and opinions pass

the test of time.


The right paint color is the cheapest and most effective design tool you have at your disposal. You would think that armed with a little guidance and knowledge, your choices will no doubt be perfect and perfectly beautiful.

Maybe…but, the right color in the wrong place will still look wrong.

 Where Does This Go? One method of establishing continuity is to limit your color palette overall and reference only one or two of the colors used in the fabrics and/or rugs. Use these same colors, or shades of these colors more than once by moving them around to different rooms. An example of this might be to use only four colors and a unifying trim/molding color through out a two bedroom, two bath residence.

Here are some other ideas:

  • The wall color of one room could be the ceiling color of another room.
  • The ceiling color could be a pale shade of the wall color in that room or the accent color. Be sure that the accent color is referenced in other rooms too.
  • While you might opt for different colors in several rooms, your hallways can tie the rooms together if you use the same neutral shade in each.
  • Another method is to use only one color family. Choose the lighter tones for the public spaces and the darker tones as you move back into the private areas. There is some wisdom in the notion of using light tones in light spaces and darker tones in dark rooms simply because you won’t be fighting with the existing natural lighting.
  • If you are painting the entire residence, choose a palette that works well with the trim color so the same color can be used throughout.

New rules for old assumptions: A white ceiling doesn’t make a room look taller as much as it draws attention to itself. It’s very stark. If nothing else, use a little of the wall color mixed into deep ivory to give it the same tone, or perhaps a light shade of café au lait.

This isn’t to say a white ceiling never has its place.

A white ceiling in a room with modern architecture, minimal moldings and clean line and angles has its advantages. If you want to use a strong wall color in this instance, a white ceiling with white door and window trims will be crisp and fresh, as well as play up the graphic lines of the architecture.

A great thing to do in a room without crown molding, is to paint the walls and ceiling the same color. Choose a pale to medium tone of a neutral or otherwise muted color for this purpose. Without the distraction of a color shift, the walls will seem higher. It’s a seamless room without borders.

Stop thinking a small room is a bad thing you have to disguise.

It’s a losing battle anyway. White paint will not make a room look bigger. It will just make it look brighter. Whereas a dark rich color could be the foundation for creating a fascinating “destination” within your home. Use a paint finish with sheen to keep the dark color from looking “murky”.

Moldings, Trims And Doors: As with ceilings, toss out the notion that trims, moldings and doors always have to be white. Granted, if you have great moldings and doors, a creamy white is often a wonderful choice. However, remember that white will draw attention in a graphic way. Don’t hesitate to paint the doors and wall trims the same color as the walls, if you don’t want the extra detail or the doors and trims aren’t great.  Use a satin finish for the trim, and washable matte for the walls.  Another good idea is to paint the trims and doors a few shades lighter or darker than your wall color. The effect is sophisticated, without being jarring

Wall color is a major player is creating the ambience through home design that you most want to live with. To that end, even choosing white must be a deliberate decision and is no longer the safe refuge of a default position.

Your color choices reflect your personal style and the impression your rooms will give. Which colors tell your story? Read about the special effects of your favorite colors here.

Related Posts

(Guide To Painting Your Home Four Part Series)

Painting Your Home #1: Color Confusion

Painting Your Home #2: Perfect Wall Color

Painting Your Home #4: Quality Paint & The Right Finish



The original version of this post was published It’s represented here as a foundation for further topic discussion.