Designer tips for matching knotty pine paint colors

Written by angela mitchell
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Designer tips for matching knotty pine paint colors
To match your knotty pine room decor, you have a wide number of colour and paint options. (pin noueux image by Unclesam from

Knotty pine is a distinctive decor element in any room, offering rich, deep wood grains and darker contrasts that bring to mind homey interiors and classic country designs.

To match your knotty pine room decor, you have a wide number of colour and paint options that range from rich, warm tones to chilly yellows, icy blues or dramatic trim contrasts. The following are just a few tips for choosing just the right paint scheme to accent your knotty pine in the best possible way.

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Analyse Your Knotty Pine Colors and Finishes

To match knotty pine paint colours, take a look at the colours of the knotty pine wood grain in question. Is the stain light or dark, glossy or matt? Is the wood more yellow or brown in hue? What colour are the contrasting knots in the wood? Take notes on the colours―and better still, take pictures on your digital camera to work from.

Incorporate Wood Warmth or Coolness in your Color Palette

Most of the colours in your traditional wood grains, especially knotty pines, are warm, not cool, in hue. Look at your own knotty pine carefully to see if the underlying tones are warm or cool in hue. Warm undertones mean you'll want warm paint colours to match, while cool undertones necessitate chillier palettes.

Note (and Match) the Light Quality of the Room

Another often-overlooked aspect of matching knotty pine or wood grain elements is the importance of light. If the room you're going to paint offers lots of light, make sure you look at your colour samples in those same light levels.

By the same token, if the knotty pine you're seeking to match is a room lit with low or dim light, you'll want to find something that matches in the same light level paint-wise.

Traditional Color Matches for Knotty Pine

Some of the most popular colour matches for knotty pine include colours that are soft, buttery creams or yellows, which mimic its rich, golden wood undertones.

Yellows and golds are not only good, safe potential colours for knotty pine, but they also offer hues available in both warm and cool tones, from the warm butterscotches to the chilly pale lemony tones. When going with cooler yellows, cool blues are often excellent counterpoints that offer contrast without clash.

Designer tips for matching knotty pine paint colors
Yellows and golds are good, safe potential colours for knotty pine. (bedroom"s light image by pppboy from

Colours to Avoid

While dark colours often complement knotty pines, including deep reds or cool blues, one colour to avoid is brown, which can clash with the wood instead of complementing it.

Too much of any one, single colour can overwhelm a room, and this is especially true where knotty pine elements, panels and more are already major features. Brown can often simply add to that sense of colour overload.

Dramatic Trim Colors Accent Natural Wood Contrasts

As knotty pine often includes dramatically darker knots that are often black or nearly black in tone, black is a great accent for your rooms that include knotty pine and provides a rich and sophisticated contrast to the golden tones of the wood.

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