10 Things to Consider When Choosing Paint Colors for Your Interiors

By Guest Blogger

By Judy Dinkle, Interior Designer and Color Consultant

Interior Designer Judy Dinkle is one of Arana's go-to color consultants for our clients. As part of the service we provide, we include a free one-hour paint color consultation for whole-house interior or whole-house exterior contracts. We asked Judy to give us some pointers that we could pass along to our community; things to keep in mind when selecting paint colors for your home.

Judy says:

  1. Choose right the first time. Paint may not be that expensive, but labor costs can add up. Choosing colors carefully at the start of a project will save you time, and money, later on.
  2. Follow the “Rule of Three.” To give your room a sense of depth and a feeling of being thoughtfully designed, choose three colors that work well together for your wall color, accent color, and secondary accent color.
  3. Be bold. Often, I find that homeowners are afraid of being too bold, or of choosing colors that are too personal. I recommend choosing colors you will love living in. Your spaces will be more welcoming and authentic as a result. If your favorite color is red, paint a room red! Or choose an accent area to paint red, and add red pillows. The truth is, any color can look good if it is properly integrated into the palette of the home.
  4. Look in your closet for inspiration. When I ask my clients, “What would you like?” and they just don’t know — I ask them to show me their closet. The colors that are in your closet tend to be what you naturally gravitate towards and look good in. The spaces in your home should feel good and flatter you in the same way. 
  5. Pick a color from your favorite BIG things. Another way to get your color cues is to look to the strongest and largest pattern in a room. Begin with a beloved piece of furniture or a rug, a stone countertop, carpeting or wood floors, one visually striking item that is very large in the space. Pick a color from that piece or pattern and start from there. That might be your wall color, or you might choose a more neutral wall color that compliments it, for example, a shade of white or ecru.Dinkle After 2
  6. Pair colors to enhance the energy of the space. In general, pairing colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel enhances the mood they project. Pairing cool colors such as blue and green in a room will lead to a more casual or relaxing feel that will work best in your informal and private spaces, like the bedroom. Reds and oranges together are warm and energizing — good for places where you want a lift such as a laundry area, entry, mudroom, or a home office or workout space.
  7. Skip the beige, or give it life. People tend to like beige because it’s safe. But it’s also pretty blah. If you want to do neutral well, the trick is to contrast cool and warm tones. For example, a warm beige-y-wheat paired with a cool gray can create a little tension that is more interesting to look at than if you chose all shades of the same neutral tone. 
  8. Create a color strategy for the whole house. We don’t want every room to be the same color, but we do want all of the colors throughout the house to have flow. A red sofa in the living room might be echoed by a burgundy accent color in a bedroom. You might take a bright cabinet color like sea green in the kitchen and repeat it in the palette of an adjacent great room or dining room, in painted accents or in the pattern of the pillows or curtains, so that those spaces talk to each other.
  9. Go BIG in small spaces or places. Small spaces, like powder rooms, for example, can be a fun place to apply your boldest, brightest, deepest colors on the walls. While in general, painting a room white will make a tiny space look bigger, I like to give more power to a space by using bold color. Let your big rooms expand with the lighter tones and have the small spaces be more cocooned and impactful. 
  10. Choose the right finishes. A good rule of thumb is to always do painted-wood trim in a furniture finish, like satin, rather than a semi-gloss; it looks richer. Sometimes I break this rule and choose to paint a door, wall panel, or divider screen in a high-gloss for drama and shine, however, the surface needs to be nearly flawless to begin with and the preparation of that surface also has to be perfect because high-gloss shows every imperfection. So choose wisely, (and hire a good painting contractor, of course).

Click here to read Part 2 of this 2-part series detailing Judy's advice on selecting colors for your home.

Credits for images in this post:

PHOTO CREDIT: Garett Wisesan

PROJECT CREDITS: Painting Contractor: Arana Craftsman Painters; Color Consultant and Interior Designer: Judy Dinkle

judy headshot 2

Judy Dinkle of JD Designs is an award-winning interior designer located in the Bay Area. You are welcome to contact her directly about her color consulting and design services at or 925-330-6774. Learn more about her work at

Tags: Arana Craftsman Painters, Oakland House Painting, quality painters, Interior design tips

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