We are sometimes asked which colors to use for interiors, and the answer is always… it depends. If painting your own living space for the purpose of living in it we would be cautious to offer advice. However, there is one cool trick that always works.
Choose a 'focus' piece of art or photography for the room then use some basic principles of color coordination. For example, if you are having the artwork framed you might decide to coordinate the colors of the frame and matte with the colors in the art. Why not do the same thing with the room itself?
There are some easy tools for extracting a color theme from any scene, including a painting or photograph. One of our favorites it the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer for iPhone. Once installed on your device, simply take a picture of the artwork you have in mind, and it will generate several color themes derived from the art, complete with Sherwin-Williams paint swatches. Pick one and proceed.
For this example we used our 'Thistle Flower' photograph in a black wood frame with white matte.
Artwork with bright colors can generate bright color themes, perhaps inappropriate for wall colors. No problem, just dial down the intensity or use one of the more neutral palettes that are offered. The Sherwin-Williams app first suggests a color palette directly related to the image. Since the predominant color is the parchment background, the app proposes SW6678 Sunflower for our walls.
We like it but it may be too strong a color for many people. With just a little bit of manipulation inside the app, we find a color that is more universal and coordinates well with our focus art.
Choosing colors for your rooms doesn't have to be agonizing, it can be fun if you pick the focus art first.