Creating a Color Scheme the Easy Way

The hardware store has hundreds of paint chips on display; finding the one paint color that will look great in your home seems downright impossible. Yet professional interior designers do just that every day. They sort through mountains of paint chips to find the one that perfectly suits a space. Just how do interior designers do it?

Most interior designers don’t even think about paint colors until they choose all the other elements of a room. For beautiful room interior design, you need to follow their example. If you start with a paint color, you then have to find furnishings that work well with that color. Say you painted your living room walls purple. You would have to find a sofa in a color that complemented that shade of purple – as well as a coffee table, an area rug, and an entertainment unit. The color choices of furniture, area rugs, and accessories are limited, while paint colors are unlimited; it is far easier to match your paint to your furniture than it is to match your furniture to your paint.

To create an interior that doesn’t resemble a multicolored clown’s house, I recommend you start with an inspiration piece. Find an object you love. It could be a painting, a decorative vase, or a swatch of fabric – just make sure it features at least three colors. Your color scheme will never fail if you start with an inspiration piece; you already love the combination of colors in the object, so you’ll love that same combination of colors in your space.

Next, pick three colors from your inspiration piece. Don’t limit yourself – you don’t have to pick charcoal grey just because you heard it was a trendy color. Choose the three colors that draw your eye and make you happy.

Pick the boldest, brightest color of the three, and shop for smaller accent pieces – like bowls, flowers, and throw pillows – that match that color. These small accessories will bring your room to life, providing brilliant pops of color that perk up the visual interest of a space. When you arrange these accessories in your room, be sure to spread them out. Don’t place all of your hot pink bowls on one shelf; arrange a vase of pink flowers on the coffee table, place a pink throw pillow on the sofa, and group three pink bowls on the shelf.

Next, pick the second boldest color of the three – this will be the color of some of your room’s larger accessories, like a chair, an interior of a bookcase, or an area rug. Use this color sparingly on two or three accessories in the room. If you use the hue on every large accessory, it will dominate the space. You want the colors in the space to complement – not fight – each other. For the remaining large accessories that didn’t receive the color treatment, cover them with patterns. Patterned area rugs and chairs can tie your color scheme together while adding visual interest to a space; just remember to match the colors in the pattern with the colors in your inspiration piece.

The last color of the three will be your wall color. It should be the quietest color, acting as a backdrop for your bright accessories. But finding a paint color is a matter of trial-and-error. A paint chip that looks green in the store can look yellow under your living room’s lights. Choose a couple of shades that seem to match your third color choice, and buy sample pots of those shades from the hardware store. Paint swatches on your walls, and observe them throughout the day to see which one matches the color in your inspiration piece. Don’t worry if you make a mistake – you can easily paint over the wrong color with the right one.

Think this is all too much color for one room? You’re right – a riot of color can easily overwhelm the eye, creating a visually jarring room. To create the beautiful room you’re after, you’ll need to inject a healthy dose of neutrals into your space. This is easily done – keep the most expensive elements of your room neutral. Floors, kitchen cabinets, and sofas should all be shades of white, cream, black, and brown. Colors eventually wear out their welcome – think avocado green and harvest gold. Replacing an accent piece is affordable. Replacing an avocado green kitchen, however, costs thousands of dollars. By keeping these expensive elements neutral, you’ll create a beautiful, timeless space that won’t cost a fortune to update in five years.

Color is intimidating; most homeowners would rather paint their walls beige than choose the wrong hue. But you don’t have to live in an off-white house. Creating a color scheme is easy if you start with an inspiration piece you love. If you are still not sure about designing your own interior or picking out the right colors for you, then a interior designer would be most helpful. Genchi Interior Design Group, an Orange County Interior Design firm, offers color consulting as one of their specialty services.

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