How to Choose Paint Colours for Contrast and Safety

Accent Walls

Usually paint colours are selected on the basis of personal choice along with how they interact with other elements in the home. Does the paint work well with the flooring, the tiles in the bathroom, or the furniture? Some of our clients here in Toronto also attach a mood to their paint colours. Is the paint colour vibrant and exciting? Will the new colour in the kitchen be calming and soothing? Is the new paint colour warm and comfortable? You get the idea.

Did you know though that there are also specific uses of colour, especially using contrast, that can create visual effects? One of those techniques is to use darker contrasting colours in specifics areas for a specific purpose. For example, by using a darker contrasting colour on the end of a room you can create a sense of structure and shape in a boxy room, direct the eye to where you want it to go and emphasize a focal point.

Help Navigate Hallways

Another clever use of colour for safety is to paint one wall of a corridor in a contrasting colour to avoid a tunnel effect with a darker colour on the end to direct sight to the end. This will help to recognize rooms and navigate your hallways.


  1. Paint the wall furthest away, or the short wall, which will draw attention and make the wall appear closer to you, visually correcting the shape of the room. This will help in a long narrow home.
  2. Keep contrast in mind. Slight differences in colour from the other walls will not create sufficient visual effects.
  3. Avoid choosing colours of other major elements in the room. This creates confusion to the eye, and can cause accidents because one may not be be able to differentiate between the two.
  4. Avoid glossy surfaces that create unpleasant glare and accent imperfections in the wall.
  5. Small rooms should always make use of lighter colour.

Share This Post


Mark Ashton

Kitchen & Bath Designer
AKBD, CLIPP, B.A., B.A.S. (Mgmt.)

For over 25 years, Ashton Renovations has offered an innovative and professional approach to home renovations. From kitchens and baths to whole house projects, we can transform any room in your home.