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How to Choose the Right Interior Paint Color and Finish

How to Choose the Right Interior Paint Color and Finish

Painting your walls has a huge impact on the look and feel of your home. No doubt about it. But actually choosing the right paint color and finish can be intimidating.

What if you hate the color? What if you invest all that time and it doesn’t look right? What if…=

Don’t worry. We’ve been painting homes in Rhode Island for a long time and can share a few practical tips to get you pointed in the right direction.


Think about the function of the room

When you’re choosing an interior paint color, start broad: what are your goals, and what kind of vibe do you want? Different colors have different effects on mood and energy levels (color psychology is a real and powerful thing!).

For example, blue is calming and promotes relaxation, while yellow is energizing and promotes happiness. Here are some things to consider for each room:

  • Bedrooms: Calming and soothing colors like blue, green, and lavender are great for relaxation and restful sleep.

  • Kitchens: Bright and lively colors like yellow, green, and orange can increase your energy and even your appetite.

  • Living rooms: Neutral colors are super popular, like beige, gray, and white, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

So, in short, how do you want the room to feel? Once you have the answer to that question, hunt for paint colors that promote that feeling.

Keep the amount of natural light in mind when picking paint colors

Paint changes drastically (or appears to, at least) under different levels and types of lighting.

Our biggest tip here is to invest in actual color samples, not just swatches. See how it looks in soft, early morning light vs strong midday sun, then again in the bolder sunset hour. You’ll be amazed by how much it shifts and transforms.

4 practical tips for choosing interior paint colors

  • Check out what’s trending. Every year major manufacturers roll out their top picks, forecasting which will be the hottest options. Don’t feel confined by these heavy hitters, but rather use them as a springboard for your own color inspiration.

  • Get inspired by your decor. Look at the colors in your furniture, rugs, and artwork, and choose a paint color that complements those colors, or maybe even matches it. This will help create a cohesive look.

  • What’s your style? Your decorating style can also guide you in choosing the right interior paint color. If you have a modern and minimalist style, you may want to choose a neutral color such as white or gray. If you have a traditional style, you may want to choose a warmer color like beige or taupe.

  • Pull out your color wheel. Color theory is the study of color and its effects on the human psyche-pretty amazing stuff. For example, complementary colors (colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel) can create a sense of balance and harmony.

Okay, now let’s pick the best interior paint finish

Thought you were done? Not quite! It’s time to choose the finish, and the finish you choose is based on more than just aesthetic preference. You’ll see what we mean:

  • Satin: A satin finish has a slight sheen (shine) and is more durable than a matte finish. It is great for high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways.

  • Eggshell: An eggshell finish has a soft sheen and is easier to clean than a matte finish. It is great for bedrooms and living rooms.

  • Semi-gloss: A semi-gloss finish has a shiny appearance and is very durable. A solid choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Gloss: This is the highest level of sheen and is very durable, making it great for trim and doors.

Paint quality and durability have come a long way, so there are certainly products that can be used in high-traffic areas that are much lower on the sheen scale (have a flatter look). In fact, that’s the style right now. We still use higher-gloss finishes sometimes too, but they’re generally reserved for woodwork: doors, cabinets, trim, and molding. Occasionally a client will ask for a high gloss finish on a larger surface, but that’s typically for a very specific visual effect or style that they’d like to achieve.

Please keep in mind that if you DO like the look of higher-gloss paint, it requires a lot of prep work and expertise. Glossy paint is not forgiving at all and will make any surface imperfections stand out.

Lower-sheen paint, on the other hand, absorbs more light and has a smoother appearance. Prep is always important, but these paints definitely hide blemishes better too. And if you buy a good quality product, it’s plenty durable.

Have more questions about interior painting in Rhode Island?

There’s a lot to the process, but it’s exciting! Our team here at Dennis Moffitt Painting would love to help. Learn more about our residential painting services here, or contact us for a consultation.