When it comes to interior design, computers are not just for decorators. There are many online tools that can help amateur decorators choose colors, develop interior color schemes, and even design entire rooms.
Online tools that help you choose interior colors come from many different sources, but most can be grouped into two categories: color generators and color viewers or visualizer tools. Color generators are most helpful with identifying colors and color palettes, using your inputs and preferences.
Color viewers and visualizer tools may show you preselected color schemes or let you add color to an uploaded photo of your own interior. And the best thing about all online color tools? You don't have to mix any paint!
Many online color generators were originally developed to help website designers choose appealing color schemes for their pages, but these easy-to-use tools can work just as well for home decorators. Some let you choose colors from a color wheel. Others allow you to upload a photo or other image to develop your own color schemes. This is a really fun and cool feature that makes it easy to explore color schemes found in nature or to figure out what a designer used in any decorated room that you love.
This fun gadget was created by Sherwin-Williams and will allow you to build a palette for any photo. The color palette pulled from the photo you select also lists the coordinating Sherwin-Williams paint color, but you don't have to be bound by their paint to enjoy playing with this fun tool.
- Visualize Color
This user-friendly color tool is powered by Glidden paints. You can work with an uploaded photo of your own (or one that you find) or play around with one of the sample room photos provided by the tool. Select room colors from Glidden's library or search specific colors by name. You can also have the tool match colors from an existing photo.
- Color Scheme Designer
To develop a color scheme on this site, simply spin the color wheel. This site was developed to aid web designers. It lets you choose a one-color palette, and it will align complementary color combinations with a click of a button.
- CSS Drive
CSS Drive will quickly develop a vast color scheme from your uploaded photo, including a light, medium, and dark color palette. This is ideal for when you want to match your room’s color scheme with a piece of art or fabric.
Pictaculous works like CSS Drive and Glidden's Visualize Color in that you can upload a photo and it will generate a color scheme for you. Based on the photo, Pictaculous will also suggest alternative color scheme ideas from COLOURlovers (see below).
COLOURlovers offers tools for creating color palettes and patterns. It's also a huge online community for design lovers around the world, so it's a great place to explore color as a design element and to get hip to the latest color and design trends. Explore existing color schemes or develop your own under the “Tools” section of the site. You can even order your own creations in their store.
Interior Paint Color Viewers and Visualizers
These tools were developed to let you play with paint colors and visualize what a color scheme may look like in your room.
Depending upon your browser, some may work a little better than others. Have fun playing!
- Better Homes & Gardens Colorfinder
- Benjamin Moore’s Personal Color Viewer
- Valspar Paint’s Virtual Painter
- Glidden Color Visualizer
- Behr Colorsmart
- Sherwin Williams Paint Color Visualizer
Turning Your Scheme Into Reality
Color palettes and designer-crafted schemes are based on sound color theory and are an excellent starting point for choosing your interior colors, but the true test of colors happens on your walls. Color is, literally, a reflection of light, and it's impossible for any photo to replicate the natural and artificial light in your interior space.
So, buy some paint samples, paint them on the wall, and see how they look throughout the day and night. Don't just paint boards and hang them on the wall because boards don't have the same texture—another thing that reflects light.
Also, try to get samples in the same sheen (eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, etc.) that you'll use for the final painting, as sheen has a big impact on color quality.