How To Choose The Perfect Paint Colour For Furniture Upcycling

beginner's guide colour choice furniture painting May 28, 2023
Furniture Paint Colour Selection

Unleash Your Colour Creativity

Upcycling furniture with paint has become a popular trend in recent years, and for good reason. It is an easy way to breathe new life into old pieces, to add a unique touch to your home décor, whilst doing something positive for the environment. But with so many paint colours to choose from, how do you pick the perfect one?

In this blog, we will guide you through the process of selecting the right paint colour for your furniture upcycling project. We will cover why it is important to pick the right colour, popular trends in furniture painting, things to consider when selecting a paint colour, how to pick colours that match your existing décor and steps to selecting the perfect paint colour for upcycled furniture.

We will also offer tips on choosing a contrasting or complementary colour palette that will make your piece stand out. So, if you've finally decided to tackle that long-ignored furniture restoration project let's get started on transforming it into something beautiful and unique!

Why is it important to pick the right paint colour?
Choosing the right paint colour is crucial as it can improve the furniture's overall design and aesthetic, complement or make a statement within the room décor. Conversely, selecting the wrong colour may create a jarring look that clashes with the surroundings. A well-chosen hue can also help a furniture piece sell.

Popular trends in upcycling furniture with paint colours
Just like in fashion, colour trends play a significant role in interior design. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends, but remember, don't follow them blindly. Your personal taste should always take centre stage.
Using neutral tones is an excellent idea if you're looking for a timeless and classic look. On the other hand, using bright and bold colours can add personality to furniture pieces and make a statement.

Pastel shades are ideal for creating soft and delicate feels for any furniture upcycling project. If you want to add glamour, consider using metallic finishes on your piece.

Using earthy tones brings warmth and nature-inspired vibes into your living space effortlessly. There is so much visual inspiration available now, from magazines to social apps and you will start to see trends emerging, which will continuously evolve.

Things to consider when selecting a paint colour
When selecting paint colours for your furniture project, consider the style you're going for and what kind of finish you’d like. For instance, do you prefer a smooth finish or are you looking for a distressed look?

Think ahead to how your piece will fit in with your existing accessories and décor. Remember that testing out different types of paint (like chalk vs mineral vs milk paint) can also be helpful. Once you’ve found one you think will give the style and finish you want, see what colours are in the range. You may need to mix paint colours to achieve the correct colour, but do ensure you don’t mix paint types. Stick to mixing colours from the same brand and product line so that you do not alter the paint performance.

How to pick colours that match your existing décor?
When choosing colours that will work with your existing décor, draw inspiration from the patterns, textures, and hues in your wall coverings, soft furnishings and accessories. Use colour theory to select complementary shades, or analogous hues for a harmonious effect. Think about the ambiance you want to achieve with the furniture piece and test paint samples on a small area first to ensure satisfaction.

If you don’t feel confident about putting different colours together, a colour wheel will really help, giving you colours that look good together and are pleasing to the eye, blue and yellow/orange for example.

Tips for choosing a contrasting or complementary colour palette:-

1. Think outside the box – don’t just rely on a colour wheel, take inspiration from nature, art, or fashion and use online tools like Pinterest to find unexpected yet stunning combinations that make you feel something.

2. Make a statement vs keep it neutral (sometimes you can achieve both with a calm neutral on the exterior, concealing a pop of colour in the interior).

Neutrals don’t need to be boring, they can create a calm, sophisticated look for your furniture. Explore the vast world of whites, beiges, greys, greiges and blacks, and you might find them more exciting than you think.

On the other hand, don't be afraid to go bold. Vibrant colours can make your furniture pieces the stars of the show. From sizzling red to cool turquoise, being brave with colour pays off if you’re ready to make a statement.

3. Coordinate with an accent colour in the room (soft furnishings / wallpaper / artwork). Take a look at a colour wheel – complementary colours (those directly opposite each other on the wheel) create dynamic contrast, while analogous colours (those next to each other) exude harmony. Use this handy tool to create the vibe you want.

4. Consider the rest of the project and any features you want to enhance, for example beautiful handles and hardware will stand out more when contrasted. Metallics pop against dark tones whilst attention can be brought to dark handles using a neutral backdrop. If leaving areas of natural wood exposed, think how they will play with the colour you choose for thee painted sections.

5. Think about colour psychology. Different colours evoke different feelings. Bright reds can stimulate and excite, while soothing blues can create a peaceful ambiance. Consider how you want your revamped furniture to make you feel, and let your chosen colours do the talking.

White – fresh, tranquil and harmonious
Black – simple and sophisticated
Red – excitement and vigour
Yellow – light and uplifting
Green – calm, relaxing, fresh
Blue – calm and tranquil (dark – elegant and luxurious)
Purple – elegant and regal
Pink – romantic and comforting
Orange – happy and energetic

6. Don’t underestimate the power of lighting. The natural and artificial lighting in a room can dramatically change the appearance of your paint colour. A lovely soft peach might turn a startling shade of tangerine under bright lights. Always test your paint samples in different lighting conditions to avoid nasty surprises.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular paint colour for furniture?
The most popular paint colour for furniture changes with trends and preference. Timeless, versatile neutral colours such as white, cream and grey suit any style. Bold colours like black, navy blue, dark green, or mustard yellow can add personality. Consider the furniture style and room décor when choosing a colour.

Should furniture be the same colour as the wall?
It's not necessary for furniture to match the wall colour. Instead, consider the room's overall colour scheme and style when selecting furniture colours. Contrasting hues can add visual interest and depth to the space and even influence how much wow factor your furniture piece delivers on first sight. Ultimately, choose a colour that you love and that blends or contrasts well with your décor.

Should I paint the interior of wooden furniture?
Painting the interior of wooden furniture is optional and depends on personal preference. If the interior is visible, painting it can provide a cohesive look, but leaving it unpainted can be the most practical option if it’s clean and in good condition. The decision should be based on the intended style of the furniture, but is also influenced by the condition of the interior. If it’s seen better days, consider waxing, painting or lining with paper to freshen it up.

Don’t overthink it!
Remember, though, not to tie yourself in knots and prevaricate too much. Your gut feel is often right and you need to run with a choice that truly reflects your unique style and taste. And let’s face it, if you change your mind in the future, you can reach for your trusty paintbrushes and ring the changes again!

Want to learn more?  Sign-up to our Furniture Painting Masterclass.