As an Interior Designer, I’ve heard tons of color myths over the years. I’m sure you’ve heard some of these myths, too. But, as you learn and explore more about the world of interior design colors, you’ll find that your own interior paint ideas may fly in the face of the color dogma you’ve heard over the years.

Hold your ground! You’re learning interior design color principles and your eye will tell you when your paint colors work. Let’s take a look at some of the most common interior design color myths, why you should ignore them, and some alternative interior paint ideas that really work!

Myth #1: Color on the Walls Will Make My Small Room Look Even Smaller

As far as perception of size goes, color isn’t going to make a big difference. If some of you have had interior paint ideas that included deep saturated colors for smaller rooms, go for it!

I recently read about a color design study done with two identical rooms that were mirror images of each other. One was painted off-white, the other a pretty sage green. A number of people passed through both rooms and were then asked for their opinions. The overwhelming majority didn’t notice the smallness of the room at all, but almost all preferred the green room to the cold, naked off-white room. So, why sacrifice style?

Designer Tip: An interior paint idea that will make a small room feel larger is to paint adjacent rooms the same color. The effect is a spacious feeling as the borders between rooms disappear.

Myth #2: There Isn’t Enough Natural Light for Color on My Walls.

If you have small windows and think that you don’t get enough natural light to have color on your walls, think again. The little bit of light you’re getting from your small windows isn’t going to make a big impact even if your walls are white. I like to celebrate small rooms with deep color. Color emphasizes the intimate values of a small space and makes a personal statement about you.

Myth #3: My Furniture Is so Dark, I Need White to Lighten the Room.

Surrounding dark or large, bulky wood furniture with white, off-white or pale pastels is the worst thing you can do. Why? Because the extreme contrast between light walls and dark furnishings makes the furnishings stand out and feel out of character to the rest of the space. Again, deep, saturated color will tend to diffuse the contrast and make the darker colors make more sense.

Myth #4: My Room Faces West. Won’t Warm Colors Make the Room Feel Hot?

Or vice versa, if my room faces east, won’t cool colors make the room feel cold? The truth is there are so many influences on a room’s “mood” that you shouldn’t base your interior paint choices on only one lighting or environmental element. The emotional warmth of a west facing room with a warm color palette celebrates the realities of the space.

Remember: Context is everything. Pay attention to environmental influences. Light filtered through the trees brings green. Likewise, light bouncing off bricks also shifts the mood and look of interior paint colors. Finally, evaluate the color where it will be used. Don’t choose interior paint colors for your vacation house in New Mexico while back home in Montreal. However brilliant you feel your interior paint ideas are, never forget the big influence light and location play on the perception of color. Always bring home small tester pots of paint colors. Paint it on all the walls and examine the colors at different times of the day. Then, trust your instincts.

I hope the interior paint ideas on this page have empowered you. Keep learning as much as you can about interior design colors and you’ll feel your confidence grow. As always, contact us with any interior paint or design questions you may have.