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How to pick the best (and complimentary) interior paint colours for your home

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


October 17, 2019 - Karl Yeh

Updating the interior paint colour of your home? Choosing a colour for a brand new home? How do you choose the colour that will complement the rest of the home? In this episode, we discuss how to make this decision based on the type of room and complementary elements like flooring and countertops. We also explore which colours to choose to improve your home's resale value. 

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What we discussed:

Hi everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Home Buyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from experts to help you with your home buying journey. Now remember, if this is your first time on [00:00:30] this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below, hit the little notification bell so you don't miss anything.

Karl Yeh:          

So today I'm joined by Mackenzie Schurer, interior designer with Brookfield Residential. And the topic we're going to talk about today is:

How to pick a colour for the interior of your house when painting

So Mackenzie, I guess the first question is, because I have no clue in terms of the kind of colours you should paint inside your house,

Should it all be one colour?

Mackenzie Schurer:      

[00:01:00] There are a couple of ways to go about it.

We generally encourage most of the home to be in one colour. Just so that for continuity, a lot of the home designs right now are an open concept and so it doesn't give you really logical places to stop and start a colour.

Having said that, if you want to change the colours of bedrooms, bathrooms, I think that's an easy place to transition.    

The smaller the home, typically the fewer colours I would suggest.

So to keep the flow throughout the space, [00:01:30] I would probably steer towards something similar instead of chopping it up.

But in general, separate rooms you can switch.

And then if you want to do a feature while here and there intentionally, some people still choose to do that as well.

How about rooms with windows?

Karl Yeh:          

Does it matter in terms of, if a room has a lot of windows versus not a lot of windows, the type of color?

Because I would imagine you probably want a brighter colour in those rooms?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

It just depends on how much colour you really want to see on the wall.

So obviously whatever colour you choose in a bright space like that is going to read [00:02:00] lighter.

In general, any colour we choose is going to read a shade or two lighter on the wall just once you have light reflecting in the space and the natural light coming in, so that's something to consider as well.

Karl Yeh:          

Is there a kind of a neutral paint that if you don't really want your house to really be bright, neon, whatever, right?

Mackenzie Schurer:       

Yeah, I generally lean towards something a little bit more neutral only because repainting. Although it's not an expensive process, it's a very time-intensive process-

Karl Yeh:           Yes, yes, yes.

Mackenzie Schurer:      

... especially with [00:02:30] the open concept homes.

Finding something neutral really depends on the rest of the finishes. So for example, we have two neutrals here, but they're very different.

One is cool and one is warm in terms of the undertones, so making sure you're coordinating your paint with the rest of your finishes is really important.

Karl Yeh:          

I know we talked about earlier about countertops, bathrooms or a kitchen. You can see those videos here, and I'll leave in the description below.

Complementing interior design with interior paint

But how does that play into [00:03:00] the type of paint you choose, how you've set up your countertops or vice versa I guess?

Mackenzie Schurer:       

In general, you'll find that a well sort of designed home has either a warm or a cool thread running through it.

So tying those together, you're not very often going to see the paint right on the countertop like this, but it's important to make sure that everything works together.

This is a warmer undertone with a warmer quartz. This is a cooler undertone with the cooler quartz.

And if they're mix-matched, you [00:03:30] would really notice that one really looks off. 

Anytime you go opposite ends of the colour wheel, for example red and green, those two colours are going to make each other look even more different.

So if you're going to go with a warm and a cool next to each other, just know that they are going to make each other look warmer and cooler. So trying to tie in the undertones is an important piece of the puzzle.

Mackenzie Schurer:       

We also find that in North America specifically, and especially in Calgary, our light tends to be more blue, [00:04:00] the exterior light, so the natural light.

So going with something a shade or two warmer is going to prevent your house from having that kind of blue undertone, especially in the winter when the light's reflecting off of the snow.

Just something to consider versus if you're living in Southern California.

Karl Yeh:          

What would, in terms of interior paint be, would that be more contrast or more, I guess, analogous, right?

Mackenzie Schurer:     


I think you just want to go more complimentary. You want to go sort of on the same spectrum.

Unless you want [00:04:30] a lot of drama, you can definitely play with paint.

We tend to choose it sort of last in the selections process because there are so many options.

So you can really do whatever you want with it, but I find that keeping that general undertone, the thread of that through your home is important.

You'll also find that a more grayed-out colour, so sort of on this half of the colour palette versus a pure colour is going to give you more flexibility.

So the gray just provides more depth. It provides more [00:05:00] flexibility with the rest of your finishes too.

Karl Yeh:          

Although what you do find is that, when you're trying to visit some homes, it kind of starts looking the same, right? It's just a lot of grayish-type, bright colours.

Because I know people don't really want to go beyond, but sometimes it's kind of neat to be a little bit different too, right?

Mackenzie Schurer:     


And you can do that with level of colour too.

You can stay in the gray palette, but maybe you'd go with charcoal instead of going red or green, right?

  So you can add contrast without adding [00:05:30] new colour and that will help keep everything cohesive.

Choosing interior paint colours to increase resale value

Karl Yeh:          

And how about for resale? If you wanted for resale, what would be a better colour type? Would be the grayish would probably be better?

Mackenzie Schurer:      Neutral.

Karl Yeh:           Neutral, okay.

Mackenzie Schurer:      I think neutral and something that really works with the rest of the palette because you don't want that to stand out.

If the paint stands out then it's just one more piece of the puzzle that maybe just doesn't feel quite right.

Karl Yeh:          


And so what are some of the colour trends for, well, I guess, 2019, 2020? Is it kind of still that grayish [00:06:00] look or a little bit different?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

What I've noticed when working with homeowners is we're trending back from those cool grays into a little bit more of a warmer colour palette.

We're sort of steering away from the very blue gray and things are just warming up a little bit. And that's just a reflection of where we were, and people just want something different.

And it also speaks to trends in cabinets and flooring as well.

Karl Yeh:          

And so when you say warmer, I always think of getting reddish. I don't think that's probably... Is that [00:06:30] what you're referring to? Say, it's not going be on this side.

Mackenzie Schurer:     

No, but like this warmer. It's pearly white. This would be a yellow or red undertone.

Karl Yeh:           Oh, okay.

Mackenzie Schurer:      

This one in particular, probably more of a yellow. That's the base of the paint itself. Whereas this one, the base is more of a blue.

Mackenzie Schurer:           

Sometimes paint kind of dulls over time. How often do you need to repaint your house to get that fresh kind of look?

Mackenzie Schurer:       

Mostly it's just wear and tear.

The paint surface itself shouldn't disintegrate or get a lesser quality.

It's more about [00:07:00] touching up any nicks or dents, baseboards, that's an important spot to do that. Also the paint sheen that you use is important.

So going with something that is more of a semi-gloss or a little bit more scrubbable on the baseboard will prevent you from having to repaint quite as quickly.

And then going with something like an eggshell or a satin on the wall kind of gives you that happy medium.

Karl Yeh:          

And if you were to have different colours in different rooms, do they need to be specifically [00:07:30] complimentary for resale or is it more of like kind of your style?


No. I think it's personal preference.

The one thing to consider, especially with kids' rooms or really bright colours. If you're going into this sort of more pure color realm, doing a bright pink in a bedroom, those colours tend to reflect very easily.

So looking down a corridor, if you have a pink room and a blue room, you will sort of see those colours reverberate into the hallway; so it's just something to consider.

Often we encourage people to [00:08:00] go with more of a gray-hued version of that and it will just not be quite as drastic a difference.

Karl Yeh:          

I know we talked about countertops, but is that also match in terms of your flooring as well, right?

Mackenzie Schurer:       


I'd say flooring and wall colour are the two that probably have to coordinate the most and then cabinet colour will play into that as well.

Your countertop doesn't typically butt up enough with the paint for it to be a huge issue, but just as something to consider because usually the countertop is reflective of [00:08:30] the cabinets and the floors.

Karl Yeh:          

Do you have anything else to add in terms of picking paint colours for the interior of your house?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

I think when you're given the opportunity, if you can do a test swatch on the wall, it's really helpful.

If you don't have that opportunity, looking at a paint on the plane that you're going to see it. So holding it up flat as opposed to always looking at it down like this is going to give you a more realistic version of what that paint does in different lights.

It's also a really nice tool if you can pin it up or do a test swatch in [00:09:00] your home and watch it throughout the day, maybe over a couple of days.

You'll see how that colour transforms. It's going to change. But as long as it coordinates each time, then you've got a good pick.

Karl Yeh:           Perfect.

Mackenzie:       Yeah.

Question of the Day

Karl Yeh:          

So the question of the day I have for you is:

When was the last time you painted the interior of your house and what colour did you use and why?

Let us know in the comment section below.

If you want to know more about the interior design of your home, check out these playlists here and I'll catch you in our next video.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home design or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

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