So you have just bought a new home, or you have a room that you just haven't gotten around to decorating, with blank walls just screaming to be worked on.
The most common question usually is, "What color should I paint the walls in this particular room?" More often than not, the person hasn't selected any bedding yet, upholstery pieces, area rugs, draperies, or anything for the room. This is the first thing they're concerned with in their decorating effort.
Why? This really puzzles me! I can't imagine why anyone would want to saddle themselves with one color right off the bat, thereby limiting every other choice for the room's decor. I'm sure their reasoning is that it's easier to paint when the room is empty, but it's completely the reverse of how a room should come together. When shopping for clothing, do you buy a belt first and then set out to find an entire outfit to go with it? Of course not.
Selecting furnishings first is key, and the primary reason for this is simple: choices for fabrics, upholstery pieces, bedcoverings, area rugs, etc., are very limited. They're limited by what's available to you in your area, what will work with other existing elements in your home, and by your budget. You can have an "idea" of what color you want for the walls, but decide on these harder-to-find items first, and then pull the specific wall color from those pieces. Paint, on the other hand, is available at any hardware store, any day of the week, all year long, in everyone's price range, in any imaginable color you could ever want - literally!
If you decide to paint first, you are limiting your choices drastically. Bottom line: your walls should not be the focus of any room. The focus should be on the furnishings, and the wall color should be a background that compliments & enhances everything else, like the mat on a framed picture. You want people to walk in and say, "Wow! I love your house!" And then later, if asked what color your walls were, say, "Hmmm... I don't remember - but their living room was fabulous!" The only rooms where wall color can become more of a feature are the dining room, bathrooms, and maybe the kitchen.
Simply find something that can be your inspiration for the room, and build around it.