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An Art Lesson for Choosing Contrasting Interior Paint Colors

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Contrasting colors are the colors that are lined up directly opposite from each other on the color wheel.

Did you know that the works of some of the most famous artists display an amazing talent for painting with contrasting colors?  Some examples are Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, and Andy Warhol, to name a few.  Contrasting colors can also have a powerful effect in your home’s interior, no matter whose paintings you put on the wall.  Choosing the shades of interior paint colors which work best for creating contrast is not as difficult as it may seem, and yet some would say there is an art to it.

Perhaps the quickest way to gain an understanding about how to choose contrasting interior paint colors is to learn about the color wheel as originally designed by Sir Isaac Newton.  The primary colors in the color wheel are red, yellow, and blue.  Secondary colors are green, orange and purple; and they are formed when you mix primary colors.  Finally, there are tertiary colors in the wheel, which are created when a primary and a secondary color are mixed.  The tertiary colors are: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green.

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Andy Warhol is well-known for his high contrast artwork.

The most significant aspect of the color wheel is that contrasting colors can easily be identified.  The shades which are opposites on the color wheel are contrasting colors which intensify one another.

Same as with a great painting, a room can have heightened interest when contrasting colors are used properly.  If you’re hoping to add balance and energy to a boring room, painting the room with the correct contrasting colors can turn your hopes into reality.

Once you’ve figured out the contrasting shades on the color wheel that you want to work with, how do you know what wall or cabinet to paint which shade?

The following are some ideas and tips for working with contrasting colors in interior home design:

•    In larger rooms, paint walls the darker shade and paint trim the lighter contrasting shade; this will create a more intimate effect.  For smaller rooms, use the opposite approach; paint the walls with the lighter shade and use the dark color on the trim.  This will help open up the room and make it look and feel like a larger space.

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You can use nature, stained glass windows, or tile work as inspiration for contrasting colors to choose.

•    Choose a focal point which you want to accentuate in a room, such as an arched window or crown molding.  Compared to the dominant wall color in the room, paint the focal point the lighter or darker contrasting color.

•    Another way to create a dramatic effect with contrasting shades is by using a primary color as a dominant shade throughout most of a particular room.  The wall color should also appear, for example, on a sofa, in a rug, or in a painting.  Then sparsely add touches of a contrasting color.

•    A different approach to impacting the spatial perception of a room is by painting the ceiling in a color which contrasts with the walls.  Keep in mind that a dark color on the ceiling lowers it and creates the effect of a smaller, cozier room.  A lighter color on the ceiling has the opposite effect, causing the room to appear more spacious.

Contact our CT professional interior painters for help choosing artistic, contrasting interior paint colors for your home.

Franklin Painting LLC – Call us Toll Free at 877-646-7774
or at our main office number 860-678-7701
2 Eastview Drive, Farmington, CT 06032

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