How do you decide on a color? How do you know which color works for which room or lifestyle? And…what color are you?
The right color brings harmony to your space and pulls the room together reflecting the personality of all those who inhabit this house. Harmony is about balance – and using the right color is a visual balance experience. You will want to bring balance and order by choosing harmonious colors, not chaos by making color choices that feel busy and over stimulated.
Begin with deciding on a color palette for each room. Decide what energy level each room is. For example consider the uses and energy level of a family room. This room is usually the high energy space in your home; a place where people gather to talk, to play games; to watch TV. The color in this room is high energy such as reds and yellows. What about your bedroom? This room is place to sleep, to read, to be calm-so colors for this room should bring about a sense of peace. Blues and soft greens and warm whites work very well.
Next gather color samples from paint stores and begin editing your collection of color. Think about how the color will be used and whether you want to paint each wall the same or adding complimentary color to opposing walls. This is where you will need to understand a color wheel. The color wheel begins with three colors; red, yellow and blue. Complimentary colors are made up of a combination of two primary colors such as green being a combination of yellow and blue and orange coming from the combination of red and yellow. A color wheel will show you that orange is the complimentary color of blue; green compliments red and purple compliments yellow. As you can see there is some science to color – it’s not all subjective. Now that you understand the color wheel you can see what colors can be shared in one room. These colors together create maximum contrast and should be carefully chosen.
Once you understand how color works with each other you can decide if you want to work in a monochromatic space or to be bold and risky. A monochromatic space uses minimal color, however a color may have more or less white in it so that you can use varying shades of the same hue. For example a room may have all four walls one color but the trim can be a darker or lighter hue or paint three walls in a dark shade and go a touch lighter for the last wall. Your paint swatch from a paint store will show the same color in several shades so this keeps you in the same color family yet offers room for flexibility and added interest.
Buy small samples of the colors you wish to use and test them out on different walls. Consider how the light will reflect the color throughout the day. If your room has a southern exposure it will cast the light in the room with very warm tones and conversely if the room has a northern exposure the cool tones will even drop a few degrees. If you want to warm up a room with a northern exposure, move towards warmer tones likes yellows and reds and if that southern facing room is just too intense, cool it off with blues and greens. If it’s somewhere in the middle then a mix of green and yellow is an excellent balance.
Lastly think about the color and the space. Is the space intimate or open? Is there a lot of wall space and are the ceilings high or low? Painting a small room in a dark color will make it intimate and romantic – but a bright tone or white may make a small room clinical. White ceilings recede and give height – dark ceilings visually lower the ceiling.
There are so many variables to making a decision on color in your home. I like to make inspiration boards from magazines so when I find a room that is painted just right I tear it out and pin it on a board. Once you have inspiration for each room take this board into a paint store and pick up swatches. Bring the swatches home and stick them to the wall then move them around throughout the day. Finally – make a decision and purchase that paint. One thing I always remind people of is that paint is the least expensive way to redecorate. It’s like a new hair cut – if you don’t like it – it will always grow back. If you don’t like the color you can always repaint. I had one wall in my house that I continually painted wrong. The first color looked like toothpaste, the second color looked like bubble gum and finally the last color looked like mocha – I settled on that.