Selecting colors for your home is a bit harder than just throwing your favorites together until you find something that looks good. It’s not even as easy as mimicking a picture you found on Pinterest.
The nuances of color can really throw you for a loop if you are not prepared to deal with things like undertones, lighting, and building a scheme that will withstand the test of time.
Here are a few things to remember as you move forward with picking out colors for your home.
Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. Cruise through Pinterest, look through the photos on your phone, and take a second look at your favorite view with new eyes. Pay attention to the different colors in a scene you like and put it on your list of potential color schemes.
Look to already established color schemes that have been popular for ages. The Southwest is known for combinations of reds, oranges, and earthy tones. A nautical color scheme uses navy blue, white, and gold which will remain classic for all time. Bright and airy colors echo the colors of a beach house.
Look at the world with your color eyes and discover a whole new world of inspiration.
Know your trends to find a great color scheme. Right now gray, white, soft black, and blush are hot colors. Luckily, all these colors are neutral and will wear well over the years. However, lime green and hot pink, while excellent colors of the now, will date your design before too long.
The key is to find colors that will live long beyond the fads and trends. You might even take a look back at past trends to see what has staying power. Popular colors that span decades will help you pick a color scheme that will feel trendy in your remodel but won’t have you scrambling for another remodel later.
If you absolutely must have the latest, loudest color trend; use it as an accent that is easy and affordable to update as your tastes change with the next fad. Throw pillows, knick knacks, baskets, art, etc. all have the potential to bring in color that you can change up whenever the fancy strikes you.
Check Out the Light
Before you invest in paint, tile flooring, or furniture you think fits into your color scheme; bring a sample of it into your home. Put it in the room where it’s intended to go and then watch how the light affects the color.
See what happens when the color is exposed to the intense morning light, the soft hues of sunset, and your interior lights after the sun goes down. It will look a little bit different at any given moment of the day. Your purpose is to ensure that the color continues to look great all the time no matter the time of day or the colors next to it in your space.
Watch Out for Undertones
There are two basic parts to any color: the mass color and the undertone. The mass color is your first impression of the color. It makes up most of what the color is. The undertone is what you see when you look a little closer. It doesn’t usually show up until you get it next to a similar color or you see it in a different light. For instance, periwinkle is blue with a violet undertone and turquoise is blue with a green undertone. They have similar mass colors, but have undertones that make them completely different colors.
Mismatched undertones can destroy a color scheme. What you thought worked well together might suddenly clash terribly and you don’t know why. Undertones can clash with other mass colors or with the undertones of other colors.
Do your homework on undertones of colors you are considering or you may find that your white tile flooring with a blush undertone looks weird with the green undertoned paint on the kitchen cabinets.
- Undertones pop out quickly when you compare your color to other similar colors. You’ll easily see a red undertone in your beige when it’s next to beige with a yellow undertone.
- Neutral colors can be difficult to draw undertones out of. But they become apparent when you put pure colors next to them (pure color means that the mass color and the undertone are nearly the same color). Obtain a sample of pure red, blue, yellow, orange, and violet. The undertone will jump out at you when you place the opposite pure color next to your color. For example, a green undertone shows up when placed next to pure red and a blue undertone shows up next to pure orange.
- Usually, beige has either yellow, green, red/pink, or orange undertones. Gray usually has blue, green, or purple undertones.
Use undertones to your advantage. Awareness of undertones can help you create whole house unity in your color schemes. Selecting similar undertones from room to room can harmonize colors that you might not otherwise put in the same house.
Don’t Overdo It
Use color with intention, never haphazardly. Choose one or two colors to use as your focal point and organize all other colors around that. Too many colors can overwhelm the space, not to mention your sensibilities.
Most cultures attach meaning to color and believe that it can influence your mood. Principles like Zen and Feng Shui use color carefully to make a space harmonious and to create peace within the people who live in the space.
Color can accentuate your design if you use it correctly. Even a monochromatic scheme requires plenty of trial and error and planning. Keep it simple and think through it.