General Color Guidelines for Decorating
It never fails – you’re ready to transform a room and you quickly get stuck just trying to figure out a color palette. What colors match? How do you choose a palette? Which colors then make good accents? It’s enough to make you throw down all those paint chips and swatches and forget about it. But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. A few guidelines will keep you on track when understanding color relationships and how that translates to your home decorating.
Meet the Color Wheel
Get to know the color wheel, originally created by Sir Isaac Newton, and you will be starting from a good place. There are 12 colors in total. Three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue; three secondary colors: orange, green, and violet; and six tertiary colors that are a combination of a secondary color and a primary color next to it, like yellow-orange or blue-violet. It’s good to know these because colors work together based on where they lie on the wheel.
Analogous – Colors that live next to each other on the wheel are called analogous. Pick two to six colors that sit next to each other and you will have a happy color scheme. For instance, a living room filled with spice tones all looks put together with a distinct personality.
Monochromatic – When you’re just crazy about one color, consider a monochromatic look, where you simply choose varying intensities of one color from light to dark. Have you ever walked into a show home and been drawn to an all-white bedroom? There were many hues of white in there, from cream to bone to parchment, that complements each other.
High Contrast – Want a bold color scheme? Consider a complementary approach by choosing two colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel. Even though they sit on opposite sides of the fence, they seem to always get along together beautifully. Ever notice how nicely pink and green go together? They are a great example of this approach.
Find Your Light
Take time to understand how the light enters your room throughout the day. This will affect your color choices. The light in north- and east-facing rooms tends to feel cooler than a room facing south or west. Depending on the mood you are going after, you may need to balance cool light with warm colors from the color wheel. If you want to reinforce the room’s natural light, be sure to select colors that match the warm or cool element.
Discover Your Muse
So now that you know more about the color wheel, where do you start? The best place is in that one piece that you absolutely adore and can’t imagine not having in the room. Maybe it’s a rug, or a painting or a favorite chair. Let the most dominant color in this piece be the main color in your room. The second most dominant color becomes your secondary color. And finally, choose an accent color. Follow the 60-30-10 rule to help you determine how much you let each color play a role in the final color scheme.
Color Wheel Relationships
Colorful Ideas for Home Decorating based on Mood
It goes without saying that when you’re happy with your surroundings, you’re a happier person. And much of our environs have a lot to do with the colors you choose to surround yourself.
The easiest place to start for inspiration is your closet. Just look at all those clothes hanging in there and you’ll start to see a trend that is all you. Even though fashions have their own trends, each of us tends to gravitate toward those hues that make us feel good. This is the right place to start when seeking a color palette.
It’s easy to get caught up in the quest for matching your color palette to perfection, but a room has plenty of space to let your color palette breathe. Find shades in varying hues or intensities. Too much of a good thing can indeed be too much.
Don’t stand in front of the rainbow of paint chips at your local home improvement store and expect to find the right color. You have to bring them home so you can see and feel them in your space and lighting. Even better, get a few sample jars of paint and put them up on your walls. The right shade will likely become clear.
Don’t lose sight of your room’s function while you’re trying to set a particular mood – find a balance. A bright, vivid hot pink will set a distinctive mood in your bedroom, but it might not promote the most restful night’s sleep. Be sure to strike the right balance.
When you think of neutral colors, many of us automatically think of a nice light beige. But, there are actually many beautiful neutrals, such as olive greens, navy blues, charcoal greys and rich cocoas to choose from and can be a nice step away from tan walls.
Wall color can change the perception of room size and shift the mood. Pale, cool colors can make a living room feel larger, while dark, rich shades tend to make a large living room feel more intimate and cozy.
How do you want this room to feel? Do you want it to be warm and inviting, or light and airy? Should it feel serene, elegant, energetic or sensual? Color is a major player when it comes to mood, so decide on the mood, then pick your colors from there.
Color Guide for Choosing Colors based on Mood
Red fills any room with liveliness and affection, and is filled with drama and romance. Rich with emotion and delightful to the senses, red can be enjoyed in bright poppy field, clusters or roses or fresh-picked apples.
Red-Orange is more complex than any other color, merging passion and warmth. Radiating like a hot brick oven, molten lava or Arizona’s painted desert, red-orange awakens the adventurous spirit and creates a fiery, rustic atmosphere.
Orange is full of energy, joy and optimism. Closely linked with appetite, harvest and maturity, orange gives off feelings of warmth, contentment and wholeness.
Yellow-Orange finds its way into our lives as heat and warmth. It’s the color of a glowing fire, the soft petals of a sunflower, or the afternoon sun. Representing wealth, autumn and abundance, yellow-orange hints of luxury in your space.
Yellow, the most visible color in nature, can be bold and vivid or subtle and demure. It speeds the metabolism and enhances concentration. Pure yellow represents creativity and playfulness, while more subtle hues promote feelings of harmony and wellbeing.
Yellow-Green is a fresh and spirited color reminiscent of springtime and renewal. Symbolic of youth and energy, yellow-green inspires the imagination and promotes.
Green is everywhere in nature, satisfying our spirits and filling us with neutrality and peace. Green symbolizes life, harmony and wealth. It will create a restful environment and promote wellbeing in any home. The soothing quality of green makes it ideal for almost any room in your home.
Blue-Green is carefree, intriguing and unique. Closely linked with the islands, vacations and luxury, blue-green invites the imagination to fun wild and fills the senses with enthusiasm and freedom.
Blue can be light and refreshing, or deep and complex. It symbolizes trust, strength and dignity, and evokes feelings of authority, dependability and calm. Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness. Choose blue to capture timeless beauty and elegance.
Blue-Violet combines the strength of blue with the softness of violet. Tranquil and retiring, harmonious and wistful, blue-violet calms and relaxes. Use this color to bring a sense of comfort to any environment in your home.
Violet is closely associated with nobility and wisdom, as well as the sacred and spiritual. Known to increase contemplation and awareness, violet can be used to promote self-reflection, and it will fill any space with subtle luxury.
Red-Violet, mysteriously rich, combines the intensity of red with the luxury of violet. It represents festivity, activity and magic, and is one of liveliness and unpredictability.
Use Color to Bring Out Your Personality in Your Home Décor
You already know what colors you gravitate toward. Just look at your wardrobe, the color of your car, and the general hue of your dinnerware. A quick inventory will squarely put you in either the warm or cool side of the color wheel. So, if you take a look around at your home decor and it doesn’t quite match your personality, it may be time to rethink your rooms and create a more holistic atmosphere.
How could it be that your rooms don’t reflect your persona? Sometimes this happens when you are the recipient of furniture and décor that is handed down from family or friends. Or when you spotted a great find, but didn’t really have a place to put it. Or maybe you’re combining two households into one. First, start by taking inventory and understanding what you want to keep and what you wouldn’t miss.
Look Within. Just like there are certain outfits in your wardrobe that make you feel confident and positive, there are colors that make you feel good when you are surrounded by them. What colors are your perfect fit? Does a living room filled with cool blues make you feel serene and peaceful or sad and boring? Does bright pink or bold red bedroom feel exciting and fun, or overwhelming and obnoxious? There is only one right answer for each person, so listen to your initial gut reaction about every color you look at.
Create a Color Scrapbook. If you can’t quite nail down a few key colors that feel right for you, then try creating a color scrapbook. Peruse home decorating magazines or Pinterest boards and create your own scrapbook (digital or physical). Pretty soon, you will start to see a trend toward the colors and hues that express your personality.
Shift your perspective. Life happens. And the practicalities of where we are at any given time drive our decisions, including how we decorate our home. So, if you’re super busy with a career, or raising kids or graduating from school – all these factors come into play. Rarely do we sit down and just think about making our space more Zen. So go ahead, take a minute to just be in the moment within your own home. Try to imagine what kind of color elements you could change to make it feel better, and in turn, make you feel better. After all, a happy, welcoming home is what we all aim for.
Color Guide for Colors Based on Personality
White is for rational people who rely on their analytical powers and objectivity to solve problems. It also helps you free your mind to pursue new options.
Red is fiery, energetic, and bold with an unparalleled sense of urgency. If you’re self-confident and like to take risks, this is the hot hue for you.
Orange is an intense color that appeals to your serious side. If you like orange, you are a methodical decision-maker who takes price in achieving your goals.
Brown appeals to your earthy, sensual side and helps you feel comfortable and secure. It also encourages authenticity and living in the moment.
Yellow is hopeful, sunny, and bright. If you like yellow, you have a spontaneous and cheery nature that others find inspiring.
Green is natural, healing, and refreshing. If you’re drawn to this color, you like to solve problems with a fresh perspective and a dose of quick-witted humor.
Pink is playful, innocent, flirty, and fun. Romantics love pale pink hues, while dynamic personalities go or shock value with hotter hues.
Black is like a caution flag. You’re more likely to proceed with caution when faced with sudden changes and exercise restraint when making decisions if you love black.
Purple is the color of a person with keen intuition to guide you through life’s challenges. Others may find you mysterious—and maybe even psychic!
Blue lovers are steady, stable, and compassionate with an unflinching devotion to those you love.
How to Choose a Whole House Color Scheme
Take A Holistic Approach To Your Home’s Interior Color Scheme
Wait a minute. It’s hard enough to pick a color palette for one room. How are you supposed to do it for your entire house? Fear not. Taking a big overarching view to your home’s color scheme can be easier than you think, and will provide refreshing flow and visual continuity that can be felt throughout the whole house. All while freeing you up to focus on the other accent elements within each individual space.
Begin with the largest room in the house. Often that will be a great room, living room, or kitchen. Choose a soft neutral color for your walls that will serve as the foundation for all your other color choices from here. Now walk through your house and take note of which rooms and hallways are in your line of sight as you move from one room to another. Understanding how rooms visually flow into each other will prove to be a distinct element as you choose your entire color palette.
Build Natural Extensions
Now that you have your main room’s color chosen, it’s time to extend your color palette to the other areas of the house. Try the simple approach of looking at colors that sit on that same paint chip. Try a shade darker or one that is lighter. Then take a look at where these complementary shades can be incorporated within hallways and rooms. Be careful to note when rooms connect thanks to archways and vaulted ceilings. You don’t want to realize mid-painting that there is no natural way to transition to a new shade.
Test It Out
Once you have your ideas on the whole color palette, try it out on walls. Make your own swatches and take them into each room at various times of the day, to see how both natural and ambient lighting affects how the color looks.
How to Make Rooms Look Bigger
No matter what shade you choose, you can help make any room appear larger by painting ceilings white. Also, try painting trim and walls all the same color. This keeps the eye moving instead of having to stop when there is a visual break. It will actually promote the illusion of a more spacious room and will continue the flow of your space.
Land the Complement
Once you have your color palette, find ways to connect to it within each room. Choose a quilt set that has elements of your wall color in its pattern. In the living room, hang a large canvas wall art above the sofa that channels some of the same hues in your walls or trim. Use a large area rug to bring your total room together by completing the look on the floor.
Are you looking for a simple, cost-effective way to transform a room to match your mood, personality or season? Then paint is the easy answer. For less than $100, you can completely change the ambiance in a weekend. Color brings your style to life!
Done With Your Color Decorating and Now on to…
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