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Not Funny: 7 Wall Color Mistakes To Avoid

7 Wall Color Mistakes To AvoidBeautiful rooms with pleasant wall colors make people swoon. A lovely interior is enhanced with the right colors, but the most beautiful components of a room can be ruined with the wrong wall color. This is why we’ve created a list of seven common wall color mistakes to help keep you out of trouble. All the photos are real and while they may seem funny, unfortunately they come from homes currently offered for sale, yikes!

#1 Colorful walls and white ceilingsWe’ll call this color blocking gone bad, the most egregious and common mistakes. This is physically unsettling, though people do it all the time. Had this ceiling been wrapped in a purple, this room could feel cozy and intimate. This ceiling should never be white, the eye just goes up, up, up, yuck!

A glaring white ceiling can cause a person’s eye to bounce up, regardless of where they try to keep their focus in the room. Many have a REALLY difficult time understanding anything but a white ceiling, it is what they are used to. Though rarely for the right reasons.

WHITE CEILING WARNING: White ceilings exist, especially in new construction, because builders don’t always paint the ceiling at all, instead choosing the popcorn/stucco treatment, avoiding paint “incase they need to make a repair.” This is a lazy bullshit answer, don’t accept it. What is easy for the builder doesn’t mean it is right for the home owner. Remember, a ceiling should never look like the forgotten surface in the room – it must be addressed.

Tint light ceiling paint with the wall color, use a shade or two lighter than the wall or, use the same color on the ceiling.

If a room really needs a light or white ceiling, pick a different wall color not a bold one. Color needs to wrap a room, picture it like a great big hug; after all this is what one wants a room to feel like.

#2 No wall color = wimpySquint, all you see it a bunch of dots.  There is nothing cohesive or comfortable about this interior. Unless one has very colorful and appropriately sized artwork, white walls can feel like a decorating miss. White walls work in contemporary locations with artwork or very architecturally significant interiors, otherwise they are too glaring and enhance nothing. All white in the wrong location can result in a room which feels like storeroom of stuff, not a home.

Wall color should make a room comfortable and enhance the objects in it.  #3 Wall color coordinates with nothingI should make a bumper sicker: Wall color should never be chosen first! The wall color must coordinate with other items in a room or the room will feel disjointed. Select a key fabric, artwork, or rug for the room and pull your wall color from this. If the first thing one see’s upon entering a room is the wall color and nothing else, this is wall color failure.

#4 Stopping or starting color at the wrong locationUnfortunately this is the same home as above, OMG what were they thinking? Wall color needs to stop and start at logical locations and in most cases always carries on throughout the same plane. It is fairly safe to say two big colors should never abut. If the goal is a feature wall, this has it’s own set of rules.

#5 All molding should not be white, light, or wood stainedMolding is used as a coordinating element, not the great divider of space. Here the molding goes with nothing, enhances nothing and looks out of date. The wrong color molding can look like little silly sticks all over the room and one begins to pay more attention to the molding than the room. One of our most popular posts is on how to handle crown molding.

#6 Color has no connection to adjoining roomsRooms which can be viewed from other rooms need to coordinate with one another. The blue in this hallway, doesn’t show up anywhere in the adjoining rooms. Public spaces should flow in and out of one another, this is achieved with color. The effect of having a red dining room, yellow kitchen, green living room, blue den and orange powder room begins to feel cartoonish. Color has to flow and make sense.

#7 Not enough paint was used

This is a hard element to photograph to illustrate the difference. When using dark, deep, bold and highly saturated colors remember two things:

  • Use tinted primer
  • Rarely are two finish coats of paint enough

Richly colored walls become truly beautiful though depth, unfortunately this equates to a few coats of paint. Ignore those claims for covers in one coat, more is better.

We want our homes to feel good and be welcoming to all who enter, getting the wall color right plays an important role. Getting the wall color wrong is not only expensive to fix but can keep a home from feeling comfortable and happy.  Avoid these seven mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to a wonderful interior.


Photos: #1 & #6 Pricey Pads, #2-5 Realtor.com

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