Paint Color Chart | Discover Color Meanings, Color Theory & Much More!

There are many ways to choose colors for your home. You can select them based on their meaning, to match your color personality or how they work together as a color scheme. Learn more about each method to decide which colors to bring into your home.


Photo Credit: Pixies and Pixels on Flickr

Color Meanings

There are many theories regarding what colors mean, and even a few myths. For example, red can represent anger, passionate love or danger. It signifies good luck in Asia. And if you have heard that red makes a poor color choice for certain health reasons because it raises your blood pressure and therefore your heart rate, not to worry: Even if that happens, the effects prove temporary.

Yellow, on the other hand, has a more universal meaning of happiness and optimism. It can also signify caution, hence its use in stoplights. Blue denotes trust, dependability and authority in deeper shades, while lighter shades represent peace and serenity. Whether it brings about those feelings, though, is still up for debate.

Your Color Personality

Better Homes & Gardens offers a fun quiz online that determines your color personality. It ask questions such as "What time of year am I most happy?" and "Where would you like to go on a fabulous girls’ trip?" to gauge your overall mood, as well as seemingly less relevant queries such as "Which of these guilty pleasures is most my style?," with "Real Housewives" as an answer option.

Paint Color Theory

Color Chart Wheel - Color Theory

Photo Credit: Robson# on Flickr

While considering meanings and your personality traits when choosing colors may be fun, most homeowners eventually fall back on tried-and-true color theory. It utilizes a logic-based color wheel as well as the concepts of color harmony.

A 12-part color wheel presents:

Primary Colors-Red, yellow and blue. They are designated as such because you cannot mix other colors to create them.

Secondary Colors-Green, orange and purple. Mixing the primary colors gets these.

Tertiary Colors-Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green. Mixing a primary and secondary color gets one of these.

You use a color wheel to determine color harmony, when colors have a logical sense of order and offer visual interest. Theories based on color harmony, which help you choose colors schemes, include:

Analogous Colors-These colors sit side by side on the wheel and can work together visually because they share a common hue. Examples: red, orange and yellow; yellow-green, yellow and yellow-orange.

Monochromatic Colors-These are the same color, just with variations in lightness and saturation to create a soothing effect. They are represented from the edge of the color wheel to the center within one color.

Complementary Colors-These colors are opposite of each other on the wheel. They make each other appear brighter when used together. Examples: blue and orange, purple and yellow.

Triadic Colors-These are three colors that sit an equal distance apart on the wheel. Examples: red, yellow and blue; yellow-green, blue-violet and red-orange.

Leading paint manufacturers Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams present their colors in chart form, allowing you to search by color families as well as by their color collections. Use a color wheel alongside these tools to choose the best schemes for your home.

Your professional painters can also help you with color selection. They create color schemes on a daily basis for homeowners, factoring in a home’s overall design and décor, personal tastes, and current color trends. While you want the color schemes you choose to be ones you like, it makes sense to keep your home and trends in mind if you plan to resell your home within the lifetime of the paint job. Colors too personal to you, especially bold schemes, can put off potential home buyers.

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