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You don't have to be a designer to choose the right paint for your home. All it takes is a little planning and knowledge. From light sources to paint finishes, we will show you how to choose the perfect type and shade of paint to help set the perfect mood in any room of your home.

Color Ideas

Rough cost estimate: $90
Rough time estimate: 1 hour (not including drying time)



Pick colors that YOU like.


Selecting paint color is entirely subjective and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Everybody's style is different.

Use nature as inspiration. Observe color combinations in your backyard or a flower garden.

Lowe's has thousands of color cards to help you spark your imagination. If you're only painting your walls, consider choosing colors that complement your home's woodwork, furniture or curtains.

You may want to keep colors similar between rooms to maintain continuity and flow throughout the house.

If you don't want to commit to one color scheme, paint the walls in your home neutral or lighter colors.

Neutrals are shades of white, gray and brown.

Accent the neutral walls with saturated, bold-colored accessories.

When you're ready for a change, simply mix and match the accessories throughout the house.


Color Schemes

Color wheelUse A Color  Wheel
A color wheel is a great tool for mapping color schemes.

Warm Colors

  • Warm colors range from red to yellow-green.
  • They convey strength and passion. They can really add an energetic mood to a room.
  • You might consider using these colors in your kitchen.

Cool Colors

  • Cool colors range from green to red-violet.
  • These colors convey a feeling of peacefulness.
  •  For example, light blue makes a room appear refreshing


Types of Color Schemes


Complementary colors Complementary Color Scheme

  • Use colors that are located opposite from each other on the color wheel.
  • Complementary colors bring out the richness in each other.

Tip:  When using a complementary color scheme, choose one color a softer tone than its primary form. This will decrease the contrasting effect of the two complementary colors.

Split complementary colors Split Complementary Color Scheme

  • Choose a main color, then locate its complement on the wheel. The colors next to the complement are split complementary colors.


Related or Analogous Color Scheme Related or Analogous Color Scheme

  • This scheme involves colors that are side by side on the color wheel.
  • Related colors have a less contrasting effect on each other.


Monochromatic Monochromatic Color Scheme

  • Use different tones and values of one color.

Testing Color Schemes


Create a sample board of different color combinations.

  • Paint a few areas of a 1-foot x 1-foot board with the colors you're considering for the room.
  • Then hold the board against different pieces of furniture in the room to see the color combinations.


Testing Another very useful tip for testing color is to buy a small amount of paint, rather than a whole gallon, and paint a 2-foot x 2-foot test area.

  • Lowe's can mix small samples for you at the store, in any brand, any color.
  • After you paint the test area, look at the color at different times of the day for about a week.
  • Take note of how the color works with its surroundings, and how the color changes in different lighting.

Room Considerations

Working with Light

Working with Light

Our perception of paint color changes between natural light and artificial light.

So think about when you will be in the room and what type of lighting is most often used.

If you take advantage of a lot of natural light, think about how intense the light is in the room at different times during the day. Bright colors may not work well in a room with a lot of direct sunlight.

If you prefer artificial light, the type of light bulbs in the room can change the color as well.

Incandescent bulbs give off a warmer glow compared to fluorescents. So a room with orange walls may appear even warmer with incandescent bulbs. Take note of these situations when selecting colors.

If you visit your Lowe's Paint Department you can actually test colors under different types of lighting.


The ceiling color can affect the room's appearance.


For instance, a white ceiling makes rooms look bigger. Even a light blue on the ceiling can give the appearance of a sky.

The general rule is to paint the ceiling a lighter color than the walls, and the room will appear larger.

The room size is also a key factor in color selection. 


Lighter colors can make a room appear larger. Dark colors on walls can visually scale down a room. But that doesn't mean you should never use a dark color on the walls–because they can also make a room feel warm and cozy.


Buying Paint

Types of Paint


  • Latex-based paint -- Commonly used by do-it-yourselfers, rather than oil-based paint. Latex dries quicker and cleans up with soap and water.


    TIP: Do NOT paint latex over oil paint without preparing the surface.

  • Oil-based paint -- More appropriate for outdoor rather than indoor projects. Cleans up with mineral spirits.


    TIP: Do NOT dispose of oil-based paint or mineral spirits in the sink or sewer drain.Call your local recycling center for proper disposal.


    Sheen -- Sheen is the glossiness of the finish. There are a few degrees of sheen. Gloss is the easiest to clean, which is why it is mostly used on trimwork, kitchens and bathrooms. The drawback is that it shows imperfections in the walls and prep-work, plus it's difficult to touch up.

    • Semi-gloss has less shine than gloss, but it cleans and resists stains just as well.
    • Satin has a moderate sheen.
    • Eggshell has a smooth, low sheen. It's very popular in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and dens. It can hide imperfections and resist stains to a certain degree.
    • Flat is non-reflective.It's widely used on ceilings and large walls, and it hides imperfections well. However, it is difficult to clean compared to satin or gloss.


    How Much Will You Need?


    Use the square footage of the room: multiply the length x width.

    Or simply use the Paint Calculator.

    Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please read our terms of use.