How To Select The Proper Painting Colours For Your Walls

Welcome back to My Tasteful Space!

As we get busy focusing on our new year’s resolutions, we often don’t consider the importance of our surroundings and how they affect our state of mind.

A properly tidied-up, decorated and painted room can have a huge impact on our senses and how we feel, helping us support the achievement of our goals and resolutions.

Researchers have concluded that approximately “80% of human experiences are filtered through the eyes”. Can you imagine the effect colours have in our lives?

For this reason, I would like to talk about the importance of colour and its use in our surroundings.

Our home and office walls make a huge difference in how we perceive the space.

We paint walls of different colours for different reasons; We choose some colours to identify a space with a specific function or a specific state of mind we want to achieve, and, (I can’t believe I am saying this), there is no bad or good colour; there is a proper application for every colour. The trick is being able to identify the user’s needs for the space and associate the right colour to it.

Once the colour is selected, it’s critical to determine the suitable sheen of paint for the walls. Sheens are mostly selected based on their use, (whether we are painting a wall, a door, a trim or a ceiling). However, sheens are often selected for practical reasons, like their scrub-ability and cleanability based on the painting particular location, (a busy restaurant walkway, a home main entrance, a humid bathroom and kitchen, etc.). It’s also wise to determine which sheen is most suitable for the tone of colour we selected, based on the effect we want to achieve in one particular space.

Let’s get into the details!!


Paint Colour Selection

Every year at this time of year, I am pretty stunned with the selection of “Colour of the Year”. These colours are generally very different from what I would personally choose for my home. However, as mentioned before, there is an application for every colour…

The 2019 colour of the year is Pantone “Living Coral”, described by the Pantone Institute as an “animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge”.

When I picked up a sample at the store I thought I would never find an application for it as I am a pure white walls gal…Then I got home and I realized our living room rug and cushions are the same colour…I was so ahead of the game 5 years ago!!!!

Anyway, how do you select the right colour for your walls? I can’t recommend you go with the trends as they are exactly what they are; trends. Trendy colours will be gone within two to three years, so you should stay away from them unless you don’t mind re-painting your walls every few years. I even listened to a podcast the other day saying that grey is dead and white is an absolute no-no. I tend to disagree with this as I find both colours being so beautiful, neutral and timeless in many of their tones.

In my opinion, the most important elements to consider when you are selecting colours for your walls are:

  • Do I want the whole house consistently painted with the same colour throughout or do I want every room of a different colour? This will help you determine how many colours you need to select. One colour plus accents, or several different colours?
  • Who is using the room that is going to be painted? This will help you determine the personality of the room and support you in choosing the right colour.
  • What is the function of the room? This will help you determine the state of mind for the room and the practicality of the room.
  • Is your room colour more important to you than your possessions colours, materials and patterns? This will determine if you are choosing a colour to go with your possessions, (i.e. a particular family painting, a heavily textured couch or an antique vase, or a deep blue bowl you bought at a market on your trip to Turkey), or if your possessions can be distributed elsewhere throughout the house because the colour you want to paint your walls is more important to the mood and feel of the room.

      For example; Let’s pretend you are married and have two young children. You have three bedrooms, (your master suite, and the children’s rooms), and a home office on the main living area, (let’s keep the basement and its spare room for another time).

      You determine you want your house painted with one main colour and that some selected rooms will have a different colour to define the space differently.

      Let’s say, you want your whole house walls to be off-white, and the bedrooms and home office rooms to be different.

      The first course of action is to choose your main colour. There are a million of off-whites on the market; do you want a colder or warmer tone of off-white? That depends on your personality, taste and especially on the flooring you have!!

      Warm off-whites have tones of yellow or pink, while cold off-white have tones of green or blue. I recommend the warmer tones as the new energy efficient light bulbs tend to have a cold white tone to it, (you can select warm white tones too, but that’s an entire different conversation). A cold off-white may also be exaggerated by your geographical environment, if you leave in a place with a lot of clouds and snow. A cold off-white can also reflect light differently depending if the room you are painting is facing North or South. On a North room walls, the cold off-white becomes even colder, giving you an 80s dentist office effect, and who wants that???
      A warm off-white has a more welcoming and soothing effect on the users.

      Once you’ve chosen your main colour, you are ready to choose your bedrooms and home office colours. While these are different rooms, it is still important that colours selected for these rooms blend well with your main colour!

      The bedrooms rule of thumb is to pick calming colors as these are quiet, and soothing rooms where you decompress before going to sleep!

      However, if you have kids and they are at an age they want to choose their own colours, they may go for something completely bold to personalize their space, and that’s ok! It’s a good way for you to experiment with colours in a confined room and it’s a good way for your kids to feel proud of their choice!

      Your home office walls colour should reflect the personality and the needs of the person using it. In this space colours can be both vibrant and energetic as well as calming and soothing. It really depends on how the user works. Some people need vibrant and energetic stimulation to work and want to surround themselves with bright and bold colours, others prefer the neutral zone…

      You know how you work and what allows you to focus the most.

      However, if your home office does not have a window, or only has a small window, then your choice of colour needs to be more selective. Avoid dark colours at any cost!! The darker the colour, the darker the room. The darker the colour, the smaller the room. Then you have to deal with more artificial light that can cause headaches and eyes fatigue…


      Paint Finish Selection

      Now that we have covered colour selection, we need to talk about sheen or finish selection, which is as equally as important as colour selection. Selecting the proper sheen is critical for the look of your walls, light reflection and walls maintenance.

      Generally, these paint sheens rules apply:

      Ceilings, (unless they are stippled): Flat

      Walls: Eggshell or Satin

      Doors and Trims in residential application: Silk or Pearl

      Doors and Trims in commercial applications: Semi-gloss

      However, I strongly recommend you increase the sheen for your walls to a Velvet finish. It is slightly shinier than Eggshell but it allows for brighter walls as it reflects more light.

      Another plus is its maintenance. A velvet sheen is hardier than eggshell and easier to wipe clean without scuffing the walls, which, with young children is critical!

      Picture orange Cheetos little fingers all over your walls at the birthday party you are hosting at your house for your 2 years old…You either ban the Cheetos from your pantry and just serve veggie straws or you paint your walls pure white in a Velvet sheen and buy the Costco size Magic Eraser box…

      Warning: only use Magic Eraser on pure white walls, or it will take your colour off the wall!!!


      I hope you find this article helpful and feel free to ask me any question you should have. I’ll be glad to get back to you as soon as possible!


      Have a great week!




      • Great article! Thank you for all the information. But now I have more questions! We are a family with small children and need to decide on paint finishes. Traditionally we would have gone with matte ceilings, eggshell walls and semi-gloss doors and trims. The BM paint we are using is only available in matte, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss. Where would “velvet” fit in there? Is it satin? And if we do walls in satin, is the difference between satin and semi-gloss for trim sufficient when using only one warm white colour?

      • Great article Cecilia. Thank you

        Ann Reichert

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