One of the most common dilemmas homeowners face is deciding which colors will work together in their home. Part of the problem, though, is that we make it way more difficult than it needs to be! So, first things first – relax! Your home is all about creating a place where YOU feel comfortable, relaxed, inspired and nurtured. Choose colors that you love!
That being said, color schemes can be developed from many different sources of inspiration, such a specific culture (Oriental, Southwestern, African) or simply from the colors in your favorite painting. Sometimes the type of home you have will suggest a certain color scheme – for example, the colors in an old Victorian home are typically going to be different than those found in a Spanish ranch.
Regardless of where you look for inspiration, here are a few tips on choosing a color scheme that works throughout your room, and even throughout your entire home.
Start with a pattern
Starting with a pattern is the easiest way to create a color palette for your décor. Choose a pattern from any object you already love, such as a pillow, a painting, a rug, a bedspread, favorite shirt, or an upholstered piece of furniture.
If you don’t have something already in your home, check out some home decorating magazines, browse fabric samples in your local furniture store, or find a picture online that best represents the colors or culture you want to create. From the colors in the pattern you select, you’ll be able to create a color palette for the entire room.
Get comfortable with color
Some homeowners are so afraid to make a mistake with color that they just keep their walls plain white – BORING! Even if you are going for a neutral palette, that doesn’t mean flat white walls are the way to go. There is a huge variety of neutral colors (whites, greys and browns) that can warm up a room or cool it down. It’s time to breathe some life into your home confidently with color. Such a simple effort as painting the walls can completely transform your room from blah to beautiful.
Another fear that some people have is wondering whether their color choices will “match” their furniture. If you’ve got a brown or black leather sofa, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But if you’ve got a bright red sofa or some floral-patterned upholstery, then you of course should take those colors into consideration. If those colors aren’t a part of your inspirational pattern from the previous step, you should honestly consider getting rid of the piece of furniture that clashes with the colors that you really love and want to surround yourself with. Or, consider a neutral slipcover to emphasize the colors you like and tone down the ones you don’t.
Analyze and apply your colors
From within your selected pattern, choose three colors: a light color, a medium tone and a darker one. These three colors will form the foundation of your color scheme. It’s a good idea to go to your local hardware or paint store to find the color chips that matches your three colors – that will make it easy for you to carry those colors around with you as you shop for items to furnish or decorate your room.
With your three colors, keep these general ideas in mind for applying them throughout your room:
- Use the light color as the background. Paint the walls with a soft version of your light color. If the light color from your pattern seems too intense for the wall, it’s perfectly OK if your paint color is a couple of shades lighter – just stay within the same color “family.” (The paint color chips will come in handy here, as they often have several shades lighter or darker on the same strip.) Try to find a rug that incorporates your light color – this will help to bring the entire room together.
- Feature your mid-tone color in furniture and windows. Select fabrics that use your medium color in your upholstery furniture pieces and window treatments – even better if it picks up on your lighter color, too!
- Accessorize with the dark color. Your dark color will stand out the most, so choose accessories featuring that color and use them evenly throughout the room. Think accent pieces of furniture, accent pillows, artwork and other accessories.