Blue painted medina in Chefchaouen, Morocco

If you're bored with the paint colors in your home and are interested in trying something different, don't hesitate to look outside the United States for inspiration. You can find many popular color combinations from other countries. Whether you'd like your home to reflect your ethnic background or just admire a particular culture, incorporating colors palettes from around the world can make a breathtaking statement.

Step 1: Plan the Project

Before you begin, be sure you know what mood you're trying to create. This will influence which country you should look to for color ideas. Take into account lighting, the shape of the room, any existing furniture and architectural details. Don't forget to consider the surrounding rooms and hallways. You don't want the walls to clash with the rest of your home.

Step 2: Get Inspired

Color perceptions vary from country to country. You can draw inspiration from any culture to transform a dull room into a beautiful living space. Here are a few countries you can seek color ideas from:

Mexico and Central America

Colorful street in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Mexican Day of the Dead skulls painted green, red, blue, yellow

Mexican and Central American interiors tend to be somewhat earthy, reflecting natural pigments and dyes. Color palettes include:

  • Deep terracottas paired with dusty blues, yellows or browns
  • Bright and lively blues, reds, greens and pinks
  • Combinations of green and pink with off-white accents


Colorful tile fountain in Rabat, Moracco

Moroccan market with blue, yellow, brown, pink spices

Strong color is a distinctive element of Moroccan design, but many Moroccan schemes use muted neutrals to create a calming experience in more personal and private spaces. Bolder looks are usually saved for common areas. Color palettes include:

  • Bright and powerful combinations of royal blues, purples, greens, turquoises and deep reds
  • Blue shades of aquamarine and turquoise
  • Colors influenced by spices such as cinnamon, curry, paprika and saffron


Color buildings in coastline of Manarola, Italy

Sardinian tangine and pottery in black, white, brown

The Mediterranean style uses glowing soft colors and warm textures to create an airy, uncluttered feeling. Color palettes include:

  • Weathered, neutral-colored textured walls created by using a color washing faux finishing technique
  • Warm color combinations including deep oranges, yellows and reddish browns
  • Blue and green color palettes


Chinese moon gate in white wall with black tile

Chinese lion dance costume in red, white, gold

China is associated with a variety of looks: some are bright and colorful, while others are clean and simple. Many Chinese color schemes are elaborate and rich, but most are carefully balanced. Color palettes include:

  • Combinations of red, yellow, gold, turquoise, black and green
  • Palettes of reds, black and white
  • Dark colors balanced with light accents


Japanese Golden Temple framed by sliding paper doors

Japanese pottery glazed blue, green, brown

The balance of light and space is the template for Japanese interior design. Light tends to be diffused and the combinations are often subdued, showing a preference for soft and gentle colors. Color palettes are:

  • Neutral colors such as brown, gray, beige and off-white
  • Monochromatic schemes that reflect the colors of nature

Step 3: Prepare Room

Cover furniture and floors with tarps or drop cloths. Using a damp cloth, wash walls with mild detergent and water. Patch holes and wall damage as best you can with spackling compound. Scrape off flaky areas of old paint using a putty knife. Cover outlets and edges with painter's tape.

Step 4: Prime and Paint

You don't have to apply a coat of primer before you paint, but doing so will give you better coverage and help the paint wear longer. If your walls are stained or you're using a light color over existing dark walls, you should prime them first.

With a brush or roller, apply True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer widthwise in 6' sections, using a zigzag pattern of overlapping ''W'' strokes. Move from right to left, then left to right, spreading the primer evenly with horizontal strokes.

Once the primer dries, pour True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint into the paint tray and use the same application technique used for priming the walls. Consult True Value's paint experts for advice on painting patterns and intricate designs. If necessary, apply a second coat. You don't have to let the paint completely dry between coats, but your results will be better the longer you wait.

Step 5: Clean Up

Thoroughly rinse your roller covers and brushes until the water runs clear. Store in plastic bags or hang them on nails or hooks to dry. Remove the drop cloths and pull off the painter's tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any fresh paint.

Congratulations! You've created a unique room with true international flavor. Consider adding artwork and textiles to further enhance the ethnic atmosphere you've created.

Project Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.