8 Paint Color Palette Tools to Get the Perfect Scheme
Finding your perfect color palette might seem intimidating, but it’s easier than you might think. Even if you don’t know a ton about color theory, you can come up with something great. There are several online tools you can use to help you plan your color scheme and give you a little inspiration.
Find the Perfect Color Scheme
Before you get started, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to stick to any specific set of rules. The color wheel is a great tool to help you find colors that suit each other. However, it’s totally fine if the color palette you love doesn’t follow concepts in the color wheel or traditional design theory. Choose colors that you love and that will make you feel good when you’re in the space. Thinking outside the box and going with unexpected pairings can create some seriously cool looks, so don’t be afraid to take some chances.
To get started, you need to choose your first color. It's tempting to start by picking your wall color, but this will make things tricky in the long run. Keep in mind that paint colors are relatively inexpensive and easy to update, so you can change them fairly easily. Instead, you want your first color to be based on something more permanent in the room that can’t be changed, like a sofa, other large piece of furniture, or wallpaper. It makes sense to build the palette around these items since they’re likely going to be around for much longer than your wall color.
You can add in the rest of your colors from there. Try to create a good balance with one dark color, one light color, and one bright color; this keeps things from becoming too crazy and overwhelming. They don’t have to be extremes either—they could all be more muted, but with subtle differences to create dark, light, and bright.
You also want to consider other factors in the room like the amount of natural light and how it hits different parts of the room during the day, the existing flooring, or any other elements of the space that you need to incorporate into your design.
Online Interior Color Generators
If you’re a bit overwhelmed or confused about building your own color palette, there are several handy online tools you can use to help you out. They range from random generators that choose all the colors for you, to tools that let you start with one color and build around it. Here are a few that we’ve tested out. Get ready to have some fun!
Coolors + Skillshare is a free color generator that starts with a randomly created palette. You simply press the spacebar to create new randomly generated palettes. As you work through the process and see colors you love, you can adjust individual colors and lock them. You keep moving through the process until you have a full-color scheme that you love. You can then save and share your color scheme to use it for paint and fabric matching when you’re ready to put everything together.
Colormind is a color scheme generator that uses deep learning to generate its palettes. It can learn color styles from photographs, movies, and popular art. This one also starts with a randomly generated palette, and allows you to adjust and lock in colors you like. It then makes new suggestions for the remaining colors.
If you have a specific starting color in mind, you can pick that color first and lock it in, then let Colormind handle the rest. We’ve got a few tips for working with this one: if you have two complementary colors, try placing them at the opposite ends of the palette to let Colormind fill in the middle colors. For more variety, place contrasting colors close together on the scale, and it will then tend to create more complex color schemes from this arrangement.
You can also upload a photo or image and it will extract the palette from the image. This feature works well if you have a painting or photo you want to use as design inspiration.
Palleton uses an interactive color wheel to help you create your own palettes. You can adjust several factors on the wheel to change individual colors. As you change values of each color, the palette automatically adjusts. This tool allows you can create monochromatic looks, or add in complementary colors.
Adobe Color CC is a more comprehensive interactive color wheel often used by graphic and interior designers. It’s pretty easy to use; simply drag the color points around to adjust the colors. You can create a variety of color schemes using this wheel, including analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades, or custom palettes. It’s easy to adjust each individual color as you go.
You can also create palettes from images you upload, which makes it great for pulling colors from a favorite painting or photograph. You can save your palettes and also see the color codes, (HEX codes and RGB codes) which are useful for finding paint colors once you’re ready to get to work.
Colorsnap is a tool from paint company Sherwin-Williams that also generates color palettes based on images. It has a very user-friendly design— you can upload images from your computer, or you can also input a url; it pulls all the images from the sire and lets you select which image to use. It then analyses the image and generates a palette of Sherwin-Williams paint colors based on the colors in the image. This tool is super handy since it gives you the paint names right away, which lets you skip the step of having to match your colors to paint swatches.
Pictaculous also creates color palettes based on images you upload. You can use a photograph, image of a favorite piece of artwork, a logo, or pretty much any type of image to pull a color scheme. Once you have your palette, you can download the Adobe swatch file of your palette to use in photoshop, etc. It also gives you the HEX code values of your colors, so you can match them to paint colors later on.
Colorlovers is a little bit different than the other tools. It’s an online community for designers and color lovers, where people from around the world create and share palettes, colors, and patterns. It also has places for people to share and discuss design trends. It’s a great place to find color inspiration and lets you identify trends to work with.
Once you have your palette figured out, you’ll need to find the right paint colors to match your colors. You can always try to visually match each color, but it could take a while to find the exact right colors from each paint brand.
EasyRGB is a handy way to source your paint colors based on the RGB color codes from your palettes. It’s very easy to use—you simply input your RGB code for each color and it shows you a list of matching paints from a variety of brands. From there, you can note which one you like the best, and you’ll know exactly which color to ask for when you’re ready to buy paint.
Armed with these tools, you’ll be able to create a gorgeous color palette that is uniquely you. Plus, they’re all incredibly fun to use! Even if you’re not quite ready to take on a redesign of your space, you might just find yourself playing around with color palettes for hours!