Owning a home comes with a lot of decision making in the realm of decor. This can be challenging for many and even stressful at times. And if you’re anything like me, sometimes so many decisions can throw you into a never ending state of “analysis paralysis”. Well, I have great news for you! Choosing a color palette for your home is a great place to start. Not only will it give your home a unified and cohesive look from room to room, but it can also eliminate any “guess work” when it comes to decision making because it provides you with a framework when choosing decor.
Questions to consider before establishing your palette
- What colors do you love? It is good to get an overall feel for what colors you like already. If you don’t know where to start, take a walk in your closet and see what colors you wear most or jump onto Pinterest and start collecting inspiration, paying close attention to the colors that speak to you. This will give you a good starting point before you dive into choosing your palette.
- What colors are you stuck with? Not all of us start with a completely blank slate when it comes to furnishing a home. Let’s be honest, many of us are trying to stay within a budget which means we have to find ways to work with what we have. This means we need to consider things like existing cabinetry, furniture, flooring, and countertops. For example, when Paul and I moved in, we quickly realized that many of the colors we like were just not going to work with our floors. We have red oak flooring throughout our house, so we had to hone in on the colors that we knew would be harmonious with warmer, red tones.
- What feelings do you want to convey in your home? Understanding what mood you want to create in your home will help guide you in choosing your colors. Do you want your home to feel live and energetic? Calm and relaxing? Color undoubtedly evokes feeling so having a basic understanding of what mood you are trying to create will help you tremendously in choosing your palette. If you want to see some more examples of this you can check out this article here.
The Color Wheel
The color wheel can be an indispensable tool once you understand how to use it. It is helpful because it gives us a basic understanding of the relationship between colors and how to use them when decorating. It shows us what colors work together and why. It plays a critical role in the compilation of color schemes and can give you confidence in choosing your palette. Let me show you some quick examples!
Warm vs Cool Colors
When deciding how you want your home to feel, looking at the color wheel can help you define your space. When talking about warm and cool colors of the color wheel, we are essentially referring to the two sides of the spectrum. Warm colors are red, orange and yellow. A good way to remember this, think warm colors = sunset/sunrise. Cool colors are blue, green, and purple. To remember this, think cool colors = ocean. Warm colors can create a feeling of energy, positivity, cheerfulness. Cooler colors tend to recede, cultivating a mood of tranquility and ease.
Although these warm and cool colors are on opposite sides of the spectrum, that’s not to say you can’t use a combination of both in your home. In fact, using a mix of both cool and warm colors can actually help create a more balanced look. A room with too many warm tones can make your space feel stuffy and overwhelming. Conversely, a room with an overabundance of cool tones can make your space feel cold and austere. Using a combination of both will help create a balanced and inviting space. Now let’s take a look at some color harmonies/relationships. I’ll show you some basic visuals of the color wheel and the color schemes and then show an example of what it might look like in a home. Keep in mind, the colors shown on the wheel are going to be very saturated and bright. However, the interior examples I am showing you are going to be a bit more muted so feel free to refer back to the color wheel for reference.
Color Schemes/ Relationships
This color scheme is a good choice if you’re a person that is afraid color or unsure of yourself and your color choice. It consists of one color that is repeated in different shades, tints, or tones. Here we can see some variations of burgundy, caramel, and creams. This can create a more pronounced look while still being soft and elegant to the eye.
This color scheme consists of 2-3 colors that are beside one another on the color wheel. In this picture, you see variations of blue and green tones that add a subtle touch of color, creating a harmonious, casual and relaxing atmosphere.
This color scheme is a good choice for someone who wants to create a lively, energizing living space with high contrast and stability. This color scheme uses two colors that are opposite the color wheel, creating a high contrast scene. Here we see variations of orange and blue tones. You can do this with brighter, more vivid shades of any color, or with muted, earthy tones like the example above.
A split complimentary scheme is a combination of both the complementary and analogous color schemes. It uses two bordering colors to complement a central color. In other words, you focus on two colors opposite each-other, but then take one of them and split them into their adjacent colors. In this example we see blue, and then opposite of the wheel are red and yellow (the split of orange which is the compliment to blue).
This color scheme consists of three colors that are spaced evenly throughout the color wheel as every fourth color. Here we see variations of green, blue, and red. This color scheme creates a vivid but balanced contrast. A good recommendation when using this color scheme is to choose one color to dominate, and then use the other two as compliments to the main color.
Once you have decided on the color scheme, there is one last piece of advice to consider when planning your palette. Depending on what color relationship you choose, you should now have 2-3 colors in mind. If you are looking for a starting point, a good rule of thumb to follow is this – choose a white, a neutral color, and a darker color to implement for contrast. The remaining 2-3 colors are up to you depending on what color scheme you chose and can serve as more of the accent colors. Another good rule to consider if you are using three colors is the 60-30-10 rule. This means 60% of the room should be a dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color and the last 10% should be an accent color.
Above is an example of our color palette in our home. We chose Alabaster as our white. It provides the perfect amount of warmth without being too stuffy. We use accents of black around our home for contrast and because it complements our granite countertops that were already here before we moved in. We use lots of beige neutral wood tones in our home to provide some depth and warmth. And for the final 3 accent colors, we typically use a combination of olive green, rosy brown, and a grayish blue. We tend to either lean towards a triadic color scheme of all three or complimentary using green and rosy brown. We chose these colors mainly because they work so well with our red orange floors. We knew we needed colors that were saturated enough to balance out the vividness of our flooring.
I know this was a lot of information but I hope this post gave you some courage when tackling color in your home! And a deeper appreciation for color overall! Understanding how to use the color wheel is truly the secret to a winning color palette. At this point if you feel completely overwhelmed and still have no idea where to start, I have good news for you still. I have worked with an extremely talented color consultant known as Kylie M. Interiors who I recommend a thousand times over. Paul and I have worked with her on several occasions when we needed help. We could not be more satisfied with her service. She was so informative and overdelivered every time! I recommend reaching out to her if you still feel like you need some more direction. Until next time!
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