As with any decorating dilemma, there is no definitively correct color to paint your home's bead board. The color choice depends largely on your personal taste level and the decor in your home. You have the basic choice to stain or paint the board, with a range of options past that decision.
If the bead board has a finished wood tone to it, you can leave it just as it is without fear of clashing with your furniture and decor. Homeowners are sometimes concerned that one wood tone will not match with the furniture or trim in their home. You shouldn't be concerned, however, since it is widely accepted in decorating philosophy that wood always is a neutral and it is therefore acceptable to mix and match tones.
If you aren't convinced that the wood tones will blend and would still would like them all to match, try to stain the bead board to match the trim in the home. If you have an unfinished board, that can be achieved fairly easily. If you take a piece of the existing trim to a specialty paint store, they can match the stain color and recommend a top coat.
If the board is a finished wood, sand it down very lightly to create a new surface. This process is quite lengthy and needs to be done very delicately, which makes it unappealing to many. A light sander with special fittings to get in between the lines is necessary. If you aren't one for dust and tedious work, it is probably best to paint the boards instead.
There are several choices when it comes to paint color for your bead board. Pure white is a traditional look and will always match with your decor. If you have painted trim, you can choose to match the bead board to the trim, just as advised with wood tones. For a more contemporary look, you can paint the bead board a color that compliments your wall color, or one that is a few shades away from the wall color. Look to a color wheel to find interesting color choices. The colors closest to each other on the wheel are analogous, while the ones completely opposite are complimentary. Colors that vary only in shade or tone are called monochromatic. Analogous and monochromatic colors will generally create a subtle look, while complimentary choices tend to be bold.
In a room that has light green walls with cherry trim, you have five basic color options: You can stain the bead board cherry to match the trim. You can paint it white like traditional wainscot. Painting it a green a few shades darker than the room color would be monochromatic and subtly amplify the wall color. Yellow is analogous to green and would therefore create a slightly bolder contrast while still maintaining a traditional look. Red hues would be complimentary.
With either analogous or contrasting color, the shade that you choose will determine the boldness of the look. In this example, a butter yellow will be much more reserved than a school bus yellow. Likewise, a dark maroon color would provide a rich and striking look, as opposed to an apple red, which would be vibrant and pronounced. Play with color samples on a piece of paper in the room to see which look fits your personal tastes and best matches your style.
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