Choosing paint color palettes is sometimes a task many homeowners struggle to solve. Erika Woelfel, Vice President of Color and Creative Services at Masco Coatings Group, the makers of KILZ® Complete Coat™ Paint, shares her solutions to a few common paint puzzles with Remodeling Magazine.

Q. How do you construct palettes made up of multiple colors?

When experimenting with multiple colors, pair colors that share a connection to each other. Opt for analogous colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel, are complementary, or have the same undertone. This will allow their natural harmonies to create smooth transitions between spaces. Another easy way of creating a palette that flows through a home room to room is by selecting various shades from the same color family. Lighter, darker, brighter or softer versions of the color can be layered in as accents for a cohesive look.

Q. What types of colors make interior spaces feel bigger?

Although color choice is mostly subjective, relating more to an individual’s memories and emotions, it is also universal evoking feelings and reactions that virtually everyone recognizes. Light, cool colors tend to create a distancing effect, stretching the perception proximity and expanding the feel of a room.

Q. What types of colors are associated with luxury?

In the US, the colors that make a space feel luxurious and sophisticated include black, white, gold, and deep, rich purple.

Q. What do you suggest for improving the life of the color?

Neutrals (grays, whites, tans, taupes) can significantly expand the life of a wall color. These tones support a wide variety of styles and are easily updated by changing out accent colors.

Q. How do you pair interior colors with exterior colors?

Exterior and interior trends evolve at their own paces. For exteriors, the color change is mainly determined by functional factors rather than fashion. In the case of interiors, it depends heavily on the mood and style of the room. To bridge the difference in varying trends, it is good practice to keep at least one color in common. Update all other accents as necessary to keep your spaces from feeling dated.

Q. How many colors do you suggest to create a cohesive complex aesthetic?

Three colors make a good group. A main, a trim and an accent. This is designer standard for color combinations.

Q. Is there a rule of thumb for choosing exterior colors v. choosing interior colors?

Due to the large surface areas in exterior applications, color presence comes across with greater intensity. For this reason, it’s advisable to select neutrals or neutralized colors. Bright colors are best reserved for use on smaller surface areas as accents. Very often people want to make a bold choice, paint a whole room with a vibrant color and it’s the first thing they end up doing over again.

Q. What finish should I select for an interior space?

Selecting the right interior sheen is largely dependent on the use and condition of the room. Matte sheens, such as Flat and Eggshell are great for use in low traffic areas, or when the walls have imperfections one would like to hide. Higher sheens, such as Satin, Semi-glosses provide greater durability and scrubbability, and are excellent sheens to use in high traffic areas. These sheens are un-ideal for use walls with uneven textures or blemished surfaces.

Q. How do you recommend selecting door colors?

Door colors can be conservative or expressive as desired. Black, brown, charcoal, beige and white are the classic door color choices for their neutrality and versatility. However, if you want to be a little more modern and aggressive, awe-inspiring door colors like red, coral, aqua, yellow or even bright green can make your front door stand out, or provide a fun punch of color, or several, throughout the interior of a home. After all, front doors are the first impression of the home, so why not make it a good one!

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