The Right Wall Color Can Enhance Your Art Collection
So you have just started your art collection and now your wondering what the best the wall colours are to display it on? Or maybe you are a little more experienced in the art world and would like to know how to get the most out of your colour wheel?
Throughout this article, I will explain why we use certain colours to complement each piece of artwork and create maximum impact.
How To Choose Interior Wall Colours For Your Home
Have you ever picked out a paint color, put it on the wall, and then hated it later? Let me show you how to choose wall colours, so you are always happy with the results.
One of the first things that we are encouraged to do when we move into a new home is to paint the walls. Using the psychology of colour in interior design can make a new space more cheerful and add a sense of personality.
And Then There Was Light
Before choosing paint for your wall colours, the first thing to consider is the level of light available in a room. Lighting from windows and electrical fixtures creates ambient, reflected illumination as it bounces off surrounding surfaces.
Many artists encounter the problem of distinguishing light and shadows, as an image can be perceived as less realistic. Ambient light can make it difficult to differentiate between the colours in an object, due to their reflective nature.
However, in a home environment, you need a reasonable good level of light with some consideration given to the temperature of the light bulbs.
Choosing Interior Wall Colours
It is never a wise decision to select a paint colour in a store before you have seen a test sample. First, get a couple of tester/sample pots and paint the largest test swatch possible at home with accurate lighting.
Next, take a few steps back to evaluate the wall colours. You should take photos and note your impressions as you stand back so that you can compare them when you go shopping for paint.
You should be aware that the lighting in paint stores may differ quite significantly from what you’re used to at home. It’s important to take this into account when choosing samples.
Type – Paint Characteristics / Sheens
Matt is great but can tent to show up greasy finger marks. The finish of matt emulsion is smooth and velvety, concealing imperfections on less-than-perfect walls.
Paint with a flat, matte finish is perfect for areas that you want to be softer and not be too reflective. Since matte surfaces do not reflect light, all wall colours will appear as similar under different lighting conditions. Remember, flat matt is very effective on deeper shades.
Silk and Satin
Silk and Satin have a ‘mid-sheen’ finish, which means they reflect some light and look like polished surfaces. Walls are typically finished in silk, while woodwork is finished in satin.
Silk wall finishes can be cleaned very easily, making them a very practical finish. However, if your walls are not perfectly smooth, any lumps and bumps will be evident more. Adding a satin finish to woodwork can make it look like it’s flawless and soften the look of colours.
Eggshell In comparison to silk or satin, eggshell has a less glossy appearance. This finish sits somewhere between a matt finish and a silk finish. It is a beautiful choice for woodwork and for wall colours when you want a heritage style finish that is also tough.
For interior wall painting, I wouldn’t recommend a gloss finish. However, when it’s done right, the glass-like sheen will reflect light better and offer unparalleled durability.
Typically, gloss paint is applied to wood fittings and trim. Although you can use it in areas that experience high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens. Depending on the humidity, these environments may require extra coats of paint.
If your prep work isn’t flawless, gloss paint will reveal imperfections. If possible, my recommendation is to apply with a spray gun and in light coats.
Why Pick One Paint Colour, When You Can Pick Two?
What some people forget to consider, is that many colours are able to do the same thing. A space painted in shades of one or two colours will create a fascinating space. A dual wall colour combination can work when it is done right.
Style 0f Your Space
It is also important to consider the style of your living space, are you modern or retro and which wall colours will reflect your style the best? If you are living in a traditional home, then the furniture will need to be more classic and traditional to suit that style. The last thing to consider is the space, do you have enough room for your new piece of artwork?
And In This Room….
You might want to consider the room in which you intend to hang your art. This is due to the fact that wall colours can affect your mood. For example, yellow, blue, green and lilac bedroom wall colour schemes are said to invoke happiness and joy.
When you consider all of these factors, you will begin to develop a genuine emotional connection with your home.
So What Colours Are Art Gallery Walls?
There are many ways to display colour in art, but generally high street art gallery walls tend to be white, as this provides flexibility in displaying different pieces.
This will influence how you can see what they are displaying. If you’re looking for maximum illumination, consider painting the walls and ceiling a light value, such as off-white.
For this reason, traditional painters paint their art studio walls a middle value, with an off-white ceiling. The colour shouldn’t be too strong, because intense chroma can throw unexpected colour onto your display, and influence how you see the artwork.
Museums consider the background wall colours carefully to complement a collection of paintings that are on permanent display.
21 Best Wall Colours for Your Art Collection
What are the best wall colours for an art collection? Here we explore 21 wall colour ideas that will boost the power of your art collection with paint that brings out its colour and detail.
1. Classic Blue
There is something soothing and relaxing about classic blue, especially when it is a lighter shade. Try painting one or two walls a dark colour, and paint the remaining wall colours brighter, such as crisp white.
The cobalt blue hue is said to be associated with communication, introspection and clarity. Other benefits of the hue include aiding concentration and helping to re-centre thoughts.
Hex Code #1A4E8A
RGB Values (26, 78, 138)
CMYK Values (98%, 67%, 0%, 13%)
Hex Code #13265C
RGB Values (19, 38, 92)
CMYK Values (79%, 59%, 0%, 64%)
2. Dark Blue
You can challenge the norm and make a statement by painting your living room walls blue. You should, take into account your living room’s natural and artificial lighting.
Consider introducing accessories in bold colours to balance out the scheme. A colour scheme featuring yellow, orange, and red complements dark blues well.
The painting in this room was a private commission.
3. Ocean Blue
Blue living room walls are as flexible as they are chic and stylish. Ocean blue walls for your living room provide you with a perfect backdrop for stronger hues such as turquoise or green. Walls in this colour complement wooden floors perfectly.
Hex Code #005477
RGB Values (0, 84, 119)
CMYK Values (100%, 30%, 0%, 53%)
Hex Code #B4D9EF
RGB Values (180, 217, 239)
CMYK Values (25%, 9%, 0%, 6%)
4. Pastel Blue
Having different shades of blue on your living room walls is said to evoke feelings of clarity, intuition, and pureness. Incorporate two or more blue pastels and turn your bland living room into a warm and inviting space.
Light blue walls can provide an excellent contrast to mostly-white art pieces. Both the art and wall colour will have a calming, ethereal aesthetic, which gives a tranquil atmosphere to any room.
Considered an exotic colour, turquoise is quite an easy colour to style. Depending on your aesthetic, it can be soft and subdued, rich and bold or bright and playful.
The choice is yours, but turquoise and brown can work well together. You might consider adding some gold items to accompany the colour scheme.
Hex Code #00A49A
RGB Values (0, 164, 154)
CMYK Values (100%, 0%, 6%, 36%)
Factor in Nature and Nurture – Go for Green!
6. Lime Green
A green interior contributes to a sense of tranquillity and peace due to its strong association with nature. Combine your bold and dramatic lime green walls with grey tones.
Hex Code #32CD32
RGB Values (50, 205, 50)
CMYK Values (76%, 0%, 76%, 20%)
7. Mint Green
A popular colour among interior decorators is mint green. You can use it to make your living room more interesting by adding some personality and as a charming substitution for white.
Natural light reflects perfectly off mint green and helps in creating an earthy atmosphere.
Hex Code #C2E5D3
RGB Values (194, 229, 211)
CMYK Values (15%, 0%, 8%, 10%)
Hex Code #568203
RGB Values (86, 130, 3)
CMYK Values (34%, 0%, 98%, 49%)
8. Avocado Green
Avocado Green is wonderful complement to retro-style interiors from the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s.
In interior design, the colour avocado green is a variation of avocado that is lightened. It is similar to the traditional avocado in saturation and hue but is less yellowish. The first recorded use of “avocado” as a colour name in English was in 1925.
The painting in this room was a private commission.
9. Sage Green
In addition to being easy on the eyes, sage green is calm and relaxing. If keeping things simple is of great importance to you, the earthy and classical hue of this colour will allow you to achieve that.
Hex Code #B2AC88
RGB Values (178, 172, 136)
CMYK Values (0%, 3%, 24%, 30%)
Hex Code #098577
RGB Values (9, 133, 119)
CMYK Values (93%, 0%, 11%, 48%)
The colour teal is a combination of cyan and green. Named after a bird with a similar coloured stripe on its head – the Eurasian teal. It is commonly used colloquially to describe the colour cyan in general.
The colour teal will provide depth, intrigue, and mystery to your living room. You can create it by mixing cyan into a green base, or you can deepen it with black or grey. Depending on the season, this will warm it up or cool it down. If you prefer furniture with lighter shades, choose a darker shade of teal and vice versa.
The addition of some houseplants to your space will add a layer of natural green. Many studies have proven the benefits of having indoor plants. Plants will help you feel happier, healthier, and are both physically and psychologically beneficial.
Coral, named after the marine invertebrates that make up the floors of the oceans. Fresh, invigorating, and feminine, this pink-orange colour is a perfect choice.
Coastal homes or tropical homes are frequently decorated in gorgeous, delightful, beautifully colour. Coral on your living room walls gives your living room a relaxed coastal ambience.
Hex Code #F96648
RGB Values (249, 102, 72)
CMYK Values (0%, 59%, 71%, 2%)
Hex Code #828382
RGB Values (130, 131, 130)
CMYK Values (1%, 0%, 1%, 49%)
Choosing grey as the colour for your walls gives your room an edgy and contemporary look while maintaining a classic and timeless atmosphere.
It can be adapted to the mood and style of any setting. It serves as an excellent background for your furniture, accessories, and artwork.
13. Light Peach
With light peach on your living room walls, you can create a look of warmth and cheeriness that is not overwhelming. Peach is often associated with spring, but it is a colour that works all year round.
To create a sense of balance, accent your room with dove grey or charcoal walls, furniture, or pillows.
Hex Code #FBEFE4
RGB Values (251, 239, 228)
CMYK Values (0%, 5%, 9%, 2%)
Hex Code #DFCCE4
RGB Values (223, 204, 228)
CMYK Values (10%, 20%, 0%, 0%)
The colour lilac is a light shade of purple. A living room that is painted with this colour helps to create a restful environment. Rustic spaces and simple décor are perfectly complemented by lilac.
Beige’s versatility will enable you to create a monochromatic interior by using two or more tones.
A chic and modern look can be created with beige walls and brown or bronze furniture.
The painting in this room was a private commission.
Hex Code #CCB083
RGB Values (204, 176, 131)
CMYK Values (0%, 14%, 36%, 20%)
The colour taupe has properties of brown and grey and is available in a wide range of undertones.
Originally, the word came from the French noun taupe, meaning mole. Taupe referred to the average colour of a French mole. However, by the 1940s it had come to mean a broader range of colours.
Hex Code #75655A
RGB Values (117, 101, 90)
CMYK Values (0%, 14%, 23%, 54%)
It’s easy to decorate living rooms with taupe paint because this colour can go with just about anything. It is, in my opinion, a very underestimated colour. Now I think of it, I own a pair of taupe boots that look good with any type of jeans or trousers.
Hex Code #F8F0E3
RGB Values (248, 240, 227)
CMYK Values (0%, 3%, 9%, 3%)
Incorporating off-white walls is an easy yet effective way of making a small room appear large and airy.
Off-whites leave a lot of room for creativity, you can switch your furniture or décor without having to repaint the walls.
You can learn more about the painting in this room here.
18. Pastel Pink
Only a true colour enthusiast could argue that pink isn’t neutral. But it can be combined with other colours in a way that allows you to change the look of your furniture and decor.
Incorporating different shades of pink on your living room walls can help you achieve varied themes and styles.
Hex Code #F0B6D5
RGB Values (240, 182, 213)
CMYK Values (0%, 24%, 11%, 6%)
Hex Code #E30B5C
RGB Values (227, 11, 92)
CMYK Values (0%, 95%, 60%, 11%)
Raspberry is a vibrant colour that will complement most other colour choices in your living room.
This rich pink is bound to create a punchy and energetic atmosphere. Pair it with contrasting hues such as browns or chartreuse green.
When it comes to brightening up a living room, most people will probably go with white on white. You can make your living space feel bright and sunny by choosing yellow. This works well if you don’t have much natural light.
Adding dramatic artwork or dark furniture to your space will neutralize yellow wall colours.
Hex Code #FFE81C
RGB Values (255, 232, 28)
CMYK Values (0%, 9%, 89%, 0%)
Hex Code #F79433
RGB Values (247, 148, 51)
CMYK Values (0%, 50%, 90%, 0%)
Tangerine is not only eye-catching, but it adds warmth and brightness to a living room that can’t be achieved with neutral wall colours.
Consider toning it down with black, khaki, or brown colours.
Blend In With Frames
If you want your frames to blend seamlessly with your wall colours, choose a shade that can camouflage them. By using a pale periwinkle colour, you can make a silver frame blend right in, leaving the emphasis on the individual blocks of colour.
You don’t need to paint your walls in the same bright colour as your artwork if it is vivid. I strongly recommend using softer, muted tones for your work of art so that it will stand out more when displayed.
An artwork that features subdued colours might look better displayed on a vibrant shade of coral for the background. In a room, contrasting wall colours and tones can create interest and balance.
A unique colour choice may be necessary if you plan on displaying photographs in a room that has a lot of white accents. A room that is white will benefit from a yellow accent colour to make art and furnishings stand out without overwhelming the area.
Dark wall colours are the perfect backdrop for black-and-white pictures just like this one. If this is the case, you might consider using black, white, grey and terracotta to enhance the entire colour scheme of the space.
Online Colour Resource Tools
Choosing the right wall colours or scheme for any room can be challenging, rest assured sometimes I even struggle. With so many resources and tutorials available online, it is easy to get overwhelmed by so many choices.
I hope the following resources will help you when it comes to selecting your wall colours or preferred scheme. It might help you learn more about colour trends, if this is something you are interested in.
- Adobe Capture
- PPG Virtually paint your room in the colours of your choice
- Check Fashion Trends & New Car Colours
Ultimately, it’s up to you, but be patient, and you might discover a colour combination you hadn’t considered previously.
If you think a friend, family member, or business associate might be interested in this article, please feel free to share and subscribe.
Thank you for reading.
Thrall to the Algorithm
Adrian Reynolds is a Dublin based abstract artist. His paintings are a response to the world that surrounds us. A world that is changing faster than ever before. His work is an exploration of colour, form and texture, placing his work at the intersection between abstraction and representation. His work has been featured in Ireland, the UK and the US.