Matching Paint Colors to a Favorite Painting

Designing the color scheme for any room in the home can be intimidating. Whether incorporating colors that will match existing decor, or selecting colors from scratch, the pressure to create a cohesive look and feel to the room can be overwhelming.

One of the best places to start to look when seeking inspiration for colors, is to look to a favorite piece of wall art. If you will be hanging a painting that is particularly cherished in the room, use the colors in it to create a palette for the room’s decor.

Main Walls

The first thing to think about after you have decided on the inspiration painting, is what color to paint the walls. A neutral color, such as white, cream or tan, often works well for most paintings. If, however, the painting is elaborate or the frame is extremely decorative, a plain, neutral wall may seem highly out of place. In those cases, a striking red wall or vibrant blue may be more appropriate.

Pull colors that are subtle in the painting and use those in the rest of the room’s paint scheme. Instead of focusing on the large expanse of green in a painting of a field, pick out the bright, vibrant red of the poppies that dot the far pasture and use that color in the room’s decor. Look to the style and theme of the painting, as well, to determine what the best background and accent colors should be.


The paint finishes on furniture will also be influenced by the colors of the painting. If there are light and airy colors, like in a ballerina painting by Degas, heavy, dark wooden furniture will seem highly out of place. Instead, light and airy creams and whites for the coffee table, end tables and chair legs will be much more appropriate. In contrast, a very Italian style painting with a large gilded frame would look highly unusual in a lightly decorated room. Take cues from the colors in the painting to make the room’s furnishings match the feel of the room.

Accessories and Fabrics

Fabrics play a huge part in the designing of a room. Thick, heavy fabrics are great for more ornamental pictures and decors. Light, airy fabrics are ideal for pictures that are whimsical and bright. Use the color that you have chosen for the walls in the fabrics and accessories, as well. By pulling together all of the colors, from the walls and the painting, into the fabric and accent pieces in the room, the space will look cohesive and well put together.

The key to being pleased with the color choices for the room is to pick a painting that is truly appreciated for its style, beauty and grace. By pulling colors from such an inspiring wall decoration, it provides an anchor for the rest of the room’s decor. Choose the painting’s soft colors for the larger aspects of the room, such as the walls, and the brighter, more vibrant accent colors for the room’s fabrics and accent pieces.

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