The Color Scheme Secret is Out
Picking a color scheme is deceptively difficult. If you follow all the rules and go by the color wheel, you risk looking boring and predictable. If you forget the rules and go with what makes you happy, you risk looking discombobulated and eclectic.
Here’s some secrets from the experts so you can perfectly select a color scheme that really works.
Glass Horizons in Pacific Blend 3/4" Random Linear Mosaic
Return to Color Theory
The color wheel can be very helpful in picking color schemes. Colors next to each other on the wheel like blue and green are great picks for informal areas of the house and have a calming effect. High contrast colors, those that are opposite each other on the wheel, are better for the formal areas of the house and serve to bring energy into a space.
Work with the Loudest Piece in the Room
If a fun patterned rug, colorful upholstery, or unique artwork are the center of the visual design, let that one piece guide all your color decisions. Every color in the feature piece can be a part of your color scheme. Save bolder and brighter colors for accents and pick the lightest whites and beiges as your wall colors and other elements of the room that need a neutral color.
Think Beyond Contrast
Contrast isn’t just about colors, it is also about warm/cool, textures, and patterns. How you use the colors is just as important as which colors you choose.
Move from Dark to Light
If you decide to use more color and less neutral a failsafe rule is to use the darkest colors near the floor and employ lighter colors as you move up the room vertically. It’s what our eyes are used to seeing—darker under our feet and lighter the further you look up.
Bring in the Black
Black is a grounding force. It can tame just about any color scheme. Many designers will tell you to always have at least one black item in the room, even if black isn’t a part of the color scheme and it doesn’t have to be solid black either. A vase, throw pillow, frame, or curtain rod with black in it is all it takes.
Think about Lighting
Lighting can completely change the way a color looks. That great coral colored throw pillow might look very different in the natural light of your bedroom than it does under the fluorescent lights of the big box store you bought it from. The best bet is to view your colors in the lighting in which they will reside.
Turn to the Closet
Take a hint from your clothes. You usually buy clothes that make you look good in colors you love. When you use that same approach for your home’s color schemes, you’ll look great and feel great in your home.
Weave Color throughout the House
You’ve seen homes with a different color scheme in every room. All those colors can make the home feel disjointed. You don’t have to do all the same colors throughout the house either. Start with the more formal areas of the house and coordinate their color scheme. Then take one color, usually a predominate one, and use it as an accent in another room with another scheme. It’s best if you use a tone of the color that’s a bit darker than the original color for the more private areas of the home.
Try It Out
Committing to color is a big thing so don’t be afraid to test it out. Use paint chips, samples, swatches, or those tiny tester paint cans to try out a color scheme in the space before going with it.
Use 60-30-10 Rule
A big part of achieving a color scheme that works is to get the balance right. Go with 60% main color (usually used on the walls), 30% secondary color (for upholstery or other major elements of the room), 10% for accent colors. Not too much, not too little.
Follow the Rule of Three
Similar to the 60-30-10 rule, the rule of three is about balance. It limits your palette to just three colors plus one neutral like white. It’s a failsafe rule that will keep you reigned in while picking colors.
Getting Cold Feet
Committing to color can be a big deal, especially if you are going for something bold or bright. If you are having second thoughts about using certain colors, take the easy way out: only use color in things that are easily replaceable. Throw pillows are easier to change out than paint or furniture. Stick to neutral colors on big items and reserve the bright colors for accent pieces.