Color Scheme Basics

Deciding on what colors to use in your home can be a bit overwhelming but here are a few tips that will guide you during your decorating project.

Think in Three’s: For the overall home it is best to choose three colors (hues) that coordinate together  and that are are used throughout the home. Back in the 60’s when carpeted floors took over wood flooring many designers cheered because having the same color of carpet throughout the house helped create a cohesive whole to the home décor.  Paint Chip collection (2)

If you have a different color scheme and theme in each room the house can feel fragmented and choppy. Sometimes this is just what you want to create to give distanced to the members who live there. But if you want the group of people who live together to come together and live in harmony something needs to tie all the rooms together. Using the same hue of color for flooring will do this as well as choosing a color scheme using 3 harmonious colors.

For instance say you want tile flooring in the kitchen and dining room but carpet elsewhere, if the colors are the same or a good blend then you have your “tie-in.” If they are not, then the colors of the walls and furniture need to do the trick and bring harmony to the home. You can do a lot with a limited palate by using the different shades or tones of each color as well; for instance the deep version for the pillows and the lighter version for the sofa fabric.

If you picked green, blue and yellow for your three colors it would be important to use the same version of each color in every room, but you could still make one room more green than yellow or blue and another room more yellow than blue and green. Just don’t go mixing lemon yellow with school bus yellow because these are two versions of yellow and do not blend well together and the clash of colors drains our energy. You can go from light to dark of the same version of color but don’t swap hues. Paint chips are great at showing you versions of the same hue in different values.

Another color tip is if a particular room belongs to or is used most by one person, choose the color of the three that looks best on that person as the dominate one for that room. We all feel much better in rooms that have the colors we look good wearing and might even have in our wardrobe.

Remember to use “non” colors such as white, brown, black and grey as needed but you don’t need to count them in your color scheme unless you are doing a monochromatic theme. However there is an exception here…if you are using the warm hue version of a color then you need to use the warm hue version of grey, while, brown and black. All colors come in either warm or cool temperatures (more next week on this.)

Monochromatic theme: Another way to bring cohesion to the home is to downplay color on purpose and use mostly the “non” colors of black, grey and white and one color as accent. The focus here is taking just one color in varying shades and using it throughout your home. Frequently an accent color will be added to give an energetic pop to the room. For instance a living room done in shades of grey and black might use bright red pillows and candles to give the room some energy. Monochromatic tends to be “boring” to some and soothing to others.

How To Choose Color: How can you know what three colors to choose? Take a look in your closet and the closet of those you live with. Find what colors dominate there and use them as a guide. Or you can find a piece you love like an area rug, painting or an upholstery fabric and design around this. Visit a home improvement or paint store and gather all the paint samples that appeal to you. Take them home and lay them out on a table for a few days and rate them every day as to what ones you like the most. As you eliminate some and keep others, your color scheme will become obvious and make you feel happy. Next show your selection to those you live with and get their vote. Once you have your three colors carry the samples with you as you go shopping to be sure you find what works with the scheme you have chosen.

‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach




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