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All the pretty colors....

So does anyone have any suggestions on how to figure out color schemes for a house?

I'm officially tired of white walls and the new house has a few.... ummm... interesting wall colors aside from white that I'd like to get rid of (a pink room is tops of that list ;). I'm going for a look along the lines of classical and refined meets spooky and quirky. I want it to look normal-ish (but stylish) at first glance but with lots of potentially odd/unsettling details thrown into the mix.

Unfortunately most of the home improvement places have fairly generic "pastel", "country", "french", etc... type colors and decors and none of them really do anything for me. Modern sometimes looks interesting, but it's often lacking in a style that I like. I've got a few color ideas, but I was hoping to find someplace(s) that had interesting color schemes etc... that I could crib off of. I'm not so sure that I'm ready to dive into the wonderful world of paint chips just yet :).

Suggestions and comments will be quite welcome...


The best idea I have is to look through design magazines and books about painting and colors for houses and pick out rooms that you like. Then you can go get paint chips that look like the colors in the picture. Some of the "how to paint cool stuff on your walls" books, if you flip through in bookstores, have some cool schemes that aren't boring ol' vanilla. Also, some mags lik Victorian Home have cool darker colors to model off of.

And I highly recommend the buy a quart first theory. Buy a quart of the paint you think you like, paint a big piece of plywood or something and leave it up against the wall for a few days. Look at it in the morning and the evening and in different light. You can also paint a big splotch on the wall, but some don't like that. :) But that way if you don't like the color, you've only wasted a little bit of money and a little bit of time.
Stumbled across this some time ago:

Pretty basic info, but may help you get started...


Wow, that was a very cool page.

I'm definitely going to print that out and keep it in mind as I continue the search for color.
Here's a bit hint. If it says Martha Stewart on it? RUN!

I've always loved bold colors and lighter woods... greens, deep blues, etc.

My one hint? Don't get one of the 6 shades of glaring white for the ceilings. A tint of the room color (ie, the room is navy, get a shot of blue added to it) will really help get rid of that HELLO CEILING look.

I'll second that whole buy a quart thing. I buy the smallest i can, paint a wall... and wait. see how it dries, see how it is at night, etc. I often love a color in the day light, and then at night, decide that I hate it.

Gonna paint the bedroom red?
Interesting point. I hadn't really thought about the ceilings too much.

The house has pretty high ceilings so they end up somewhat out of the way/sight. Still though, I should think about what I want to do with them at some point. Well besides ripping off the acoustical crap (a/k/a cottage cheese) on some of them.

Funny you should mention MS, but while her style may be horrible, I've actually seen a couple shows (late at night while I was searching for info-mercials ;-p) that had some useful technical tips. One that stuck out was using old wire spools for wrapping up x-mas lights. It's basically copying what electricians tend to do when they do a big wiring job, but so far that's the only place that I've seen that suggestion made. Definitely not going to go with any MS-approved style though. That would just be too scary
murals! and more murals!
not necessarily pictures, but having a wall or two with a paintjob that's not just flat color is cool.

great minds...

Funny you should mention that. I had just recently dug up this which I had originally thought of using as a mural in SH. I think this would look spiffy in the basement game/tv/pool room.

Whenever you do make it out here, I think I'll draft you into helping me with murals :)
look at lots of pictures of castles. mmmm, castles.

or classic automobiles.


Mmmmm chrome.... That's definitely one of the "colors" of things in my house. I hadn't thought of castles though. I feel a google search coming on. Although I could even be silly and paint big "bricks" in the basement and make it look dark and castle/dungeony as a contrast to the techno-toys (i.e. arcade machines, big TV, stereo equipment).

Hmmm... you know with a few cool murals worked in, that might be a very cool look for a basement rec-room....
I got hold of the Benjamin Moore color deck (good paint- not random shit, and NOT martha or ralph lauren).

I like dark, bold colors, but 1) we couldn't go so dark everywhere, and 2) we have a chair rail.

I ended up picking all the best really awesome jewel tones from the bottom (dark) row of the color deck, and finding a nice cream color strong enough to stand up to them two down from the top in the yellows/oranges section. I'm using the cream above the chair rail throughout the house, and putting the jewel tones on the bottom. So far it looks positively tasteful, and yet really Victorian. The chair rail is currently getting painted one color lighter than the cream from the same chip, meaning that it looks white, but isn't really. I'm really pleased with this approach, and would highly recommend it if you're having to think too hard.
And the nice cream color above the rail is great for showing off the Aht I've been collecting, and would make a kick-ass background for a good mural. When I'm done painting over the nasty white walls (should take a year or two) I may get on to making them more interesting...

That's actually one of the things I'm wondering about. What color(s) are useful as replacements for white and how do I coordinate them with darker colors? Right now, I'm leaning towards doing some fairly dark colors in the bedrooms and the basement but leaving most of the first floor and the upstairs hall area lighter so that I can hang "aht" on it (someday when I actually have "aht"). I'm definitely going to do a mural or two, but I'm not sure where yet.
Somebody just posted this on a board I'm on. Pantone's listing of the up-and-coming color schemes for homes http://www.pantone.com/products/products.asp?idArticle=149&idArea=16

Thanks :)


All the suggestions have been very useful.

It's odd, this is the first time ever that I am 100% free to paint with whatever colors I want and it's somewhat daunting. Soooo many choices and it's all up to me. The worst that can happen is that I have to live with a crappy color for a week or two until I repaint it, but still...

So many paint chips, so little clue :)
i know wallpaper isn't what you'd want to put up, but the colors are pretty cool... search under "MENSWEAR" the colors are pretty cool