Whether you’re moving into a new home or just want to mix up your space a bit, creating a beautiful and cohesive interior design can be challenging. You may feel like you need to be an expert at coordinating paint color palettes to make sure you’re using the best wall color for your artwork or black and white photos. Yet when it comes to the right wall color for hanging art, there’s no need to cover your furniture and get out the blue tape.
Instead of stressing over the “perfect” color for your walls, you can create a beautiful living space by choosing artwork that matches the color you’ve already got! All you have to do is follow a few of the basic design principles we’ve outlined in this step-by-step guide to matching paintings and wall color. Now break out the ol’ color wheel — we’ve got some decisions to make!
1. Look at the Big Picture
Before you hang any art on your walls, it’s a good idea to consider the overall direction of your design. How do you want the space to look and feel when you finish?
Are you aiming for a cozy, peaceful vibe? Something more functional, bright, and clean? Or maybe you’ve got a flair for the dramatic, and you want a space that’s elegant and striking?
Whichever direction you choose will help you determine the appropriate color palette to match your artwork and wall color. For example, a tranquil space might call for darker, cooler colors like blues, greens, and purples. A more bright and minimalistic design could use a mix of neutrals and lighter, softer tones. And if you want a bit of drama? Go for bolder, warmer colors like red or magenta.
2. Identify the Color and Undertone of Your Wall Paint
The color of your walls may seem obvious to you, but look a little closer. Unless your wall paint is pure white, there are likely some undertones present that will affect your overall color scheme. In fact, all paint colors have undertones — even neutral colors like whites, grays, and beiges. The trouble is that these “hidden” colors are hard to see without comparing your wall paint to another color.
That’s why it helps to have a paint color fan deck around for comparisons. If your wall paint is cream, eggshell, ivory, or any other kind of neutral white, use the purest white on the fan deck to spot the undertones in your wall color. Similarly, compare your wall to different types of beige, gray, blue (or whatever color your wall happens to be) to get an idea of the subtle undertones affecting the primary color.
If you don’t have a paint fan deck lying around, don’t sweat it. The fantastic thing about neutral wall colors is that they look great with just about any decor. Still, if you’re determined to figure out the undertone in your wall paint, keep this info in mind: most “white” walls tend to have undertones of pink, yellow, or blue. Beige walls usually have undertones of yellow, green, or pink. Gray paint typically has blue, green, or purple in it.
Coordinating the color palette of your artwork with your wall’s undertone will ensure nothing seems inexplicably “off” when everything comes together.
3. Decide on a Color Scheme
Here’s where some neat design principles come into play — and where you’ll need to break out your color wheel. You have a few options when it comes to the kind of color scheme that will tie your space together: analogous, complementary, or monochromatic. Let’s break down what each of these means.
Analogous colors are ones that are next to each other on the color wheel. Using shades of a similar hue will create a more relaxing and balanced look between your wall color and hanging art. Try to pick one dominant color and use the other two or three as accents.
If you have a neutral wall color, use the wall’s undertone as the place to start for your analogous color scheme. For example, if the undertone of your wall color is a light blue, your accent colors might be a navy blue and soft green.
Are you looking to make more of a statement with your art? Then a complementary color scheme is the one for you. Complementary colors appear opposite of each other on the color wheel, like orange and blue or purple and green. Combining complementary colors creates a bold contrast and adds excitement to the room.
Again, if your wall color is neutral, use the undertone to figure out the right complementary color to use. If your wall is already a distinct color, simply find its opposite on the color wheel!
Become one with your color scheme — literally. A monochromatic design brings a uniform, harmonious look to your space by making use of just one color in different shades.
Take your wall’s color (or undertone) and pick a few different shades, tones, or tints of the same color to feature in your artwork.
4. Choose Your Decor
While we’re a fan of the classics, there’s no need to get stuck trying to find Picassos and Monets for your decor. Try to find paintings you love that match your color scheme, no matter what’s on the canvas! You certainly can’t go wrong with an adorable portrait of your favorite furry friend. Keep in mind that not every color on a painting has to fit your color design perfectly — it’s the dominant color that matters most.
Want to mix things up with your decor? Black and white photography is a great way to add some class to your living space. When it comes to the best wall color for black and white photos, contrast is essential. A darker neutral wall color, like a deep gray or charcoal, will help the white in the photos stand out and complement the black. On the other hand, a boldly colored wall (like crimson, turquoise, or magenta) would also provide a nice contrast to the monochromatic black and white photos.
Looking for even more alternatives? There are a million ways to get creative with hanging art that isn’t a painting or photo. This list should give you some ideas:
- Illuminated signs
- Vertical gardens and hanging plants
- Funky clocks
- Decorative mirrors
- Electronic photo galleries
- Tapestries or other woven textiles
- Old, vintage signs
5. Make Your Own Matching Artwork
We love good artwork AND artwork made in good fun. That’s why sometimes the best thing to do is skip the galleries and make your own art! There’s no reason to stress about finding the perfect matching artwork when you can create your own during a Painting with a Twist Open Studio event.
At our Open Studio events, you get to choose a piece of artwork you love with the colors you want. Then, add your special touch during the event and voila! You’ve just created a colorful memory to tie any room together.
Ultimately, whether you’re collecting pieces or creating your own, decorating your home is about creating a space you love. Color schemes and decor create cohesion, but don’t get stressed out if you’re having a hard time. Go with art you’re attracted to, even if it doesn’t perfectly match the vase on your side table or the color on your wall. Now let’s grab that color wheel and have some fun!
Create a Colorful Memory to Hang On Your Wall
Can’t quite find artwork that matches the paint color on your walls? You might as well make it! Whether it’s one of our rustic wood painting events or a Paint Your Pet event, we’ll help you unleash your full creative energy so you can make the perfect art piece for any room in your home.