Wall color!

DIY + How To

The home color palette.

It can either make or break a home’s décor. Sometimes the first thing guests to your home notice, it is the anchor that ties your décor and furniture together.

For many, the thought of having to choose a color palette or theme for their home can be outright daunting (and don’t think being an interior designer gets you off the hook). Color, scientifically, can change and alter mood. It can create pleasant atmospheres or give the impression of tension. It can make a space seem way too large or painfully small.


In other words, choose wisely, or you might realize too late you made a huge mistake. Now, all that being said, color usually isn’t a life or death situation and with a few helpful tips and methods along for the ride, can actually be pretty fun to choose.

As I mentioned, there is actual scientific proof of color’s ability to alter a mood. Although it seems like a strange place to start, think about the way you wish a particular room or space to feel. Do you want to feel calm and relaxed? What about energized and invigorated? Or perhaps creative and intellectual? Think this over first, and figure out which colors would work for the feel you are going for. This can help you narrow things down. Check out the Color Matters website for more information about the science of color.

One great way to find the colors of your space, and one probably used most often, is to choose something you love, whether it be a painting, fabric, book cover, album cover or even piece of jewelry. Anything, and find a color palette from that. To really help narrow down the colors in a painting or photo of something you love, enlist the help of computer programs where you can “grab” color from portions of the photo (like the eyedropper tool in Adobe Photoshop). Most places that sell interior paint also have the capability to match any color from an object to be made into a paint color.


Although I find this method overwhelming, there are lots of pre-decided palettes out there to choose from, that can save you the trouble of making sure colors “go” together. Any place that sells paint, like Sherwin Williams, Wal-Mart, or Lowes usually have little brochures near the paint chips that give great examples of possible color palettes. One of my favorite websites for color inspiration is Colour Lovers. "The Color Scheme Bible: Inspirational Palettes for Designing Home Interiors" by Anna Starmer and "Color Schemes Made Easy" by Shelley Stewart are two books that can give you some guidance with your color choices. If you are still overwhelmed, go back to the other suggestion of finding something that is your favorite. Enlist the help of friends and family to look through pre-selected color palettes to see which ones closely resemble your favorite item.

Sometimes the easiest way to narrow down nearly half your possible choices is deciding whether you like neutral, warm or cool colors. Cool colors, which are your blues and purples and some greens give off a cool, relaxing feeling, whereas your warm colors, like reds and oranges and bright yellows give off actual warm feelings and excite the senses. This goes back to deciding what kind of feeling you want your space to put off, but can help you eliminate nearly half your possible color choices.


Once you have decided on your color choices, choose the ones that you want to go on your walls and what you want to go on your furnishings. Most people choose neutral colors for the walls for lots of reasons. Neutral walls help your furnishings stand out as well as make the resale value of your home higher. But bright or colored walls can really add dimension and depth to a space and give your home some pizzazz. Whatever you do, make sure to consider various views in your home. Take some time to walk throughout your home and see what walls and rooms can be seen from other rooms, and make sure the colors you have planned coordinate with all the views available in your home.

There are programs and websites out there than can let you virtually “paint” your walls before you put in any money or work, like Benjamin Moore’s Personal Color Viewer. These can be great tools to make sure you really love the choices you are making.

Although it may be tempting to try out all sorts of different color schemes throughout your home (which can be awesomely fun when done right!), it can be extremely rewarding to have a home that contains all the colors that make you feel your best, in a coordinated way. Not only will you create a beautiful and lasting home, you will truly enjoy living in it!


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