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10 Tips for Color-Matching in Interior Design

Staff Writer
Share to PinterestColor-Matching: Interior Design Tips and Tricks
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In home decor, color is just about the most important thing. But where do you begin? How do you figure out what you need? Are there certain rules to follow?

it's easy to be intimidated when selecting colors, but with a few professional tips and tricks, you'll have a better understanding of what interior design entails. And once you know about matching colors, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect look for your home.

01

The room's mood

Share to Pinterestmodern living room
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If you're starting from scratch, you're essentially working with a blank canvas: you get to create the mood. Warm colors like reds, browns, and oranges are ideal for gathering spaces such as living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens. Cool blues, purples, and greens work well in bedrooms.

Perhaps you have a few items you consider focal points. Go ahead and base your room's color around this decor. Sofas, lamps, or anything particularly precious to you can be the foundation for your emerging style.

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02

Decorating with odd numbers

In design, odd numbers reign supreme. They seem to balance each other out while adding depth to the room. Trifectas of throw pillows, pictures, and plants, for example, all create an element of organization and style. Color fits into this, too.

The rule of three works well when choosing a color scheme. Select three colors you'd like to mix or match: focus on these specifically. Repeat them with your furniture, art, and more. You can even use them with place settings, towels, and rugs. The sky's the limit when you're coordinating colors, but keep the 60-30-10 rule in mind.

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03

The 60-30-10 rule

If you're a beginner, the easiest way to produce a coordinating color palette is by using the 60-30-10 rule. This is one of the oldest methods for decorating, and it is tried and true.

One color will be the most prominent, featured in about 60% of your decor. Choose a secondary color that will show up about 30% of the time. This leaves 10% for an accent shade.

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04

Spin the color wheel

The color wheel is a great starter guide if you're new to the decorating game. It's a straightforward way to understand how colors work with each other and create new shades.

Begin with the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow. Then look into the secondary mixes: purple, orange, and green. Finally, filling in the spaces between these are the tertiary colors like violet, amber, and teal. This easy-to-use diagram lays out a transition of hues for quick reference.

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05

Analogous color scheme

When using the color wheel, you can reference analogous shades for a complementing look. They consist of a primary, secondary, and tertiary set using the 60:30:10 rule, but in no particular order.

Selecting any three side-by-side colors will create a fun and exciting harmony of balanced tones throughout your home. Have a blast mixing and matching decor and furnishings.

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06

Complementary color wheel match-ups

Share to Pinterestred and green bedroom

When using the color wheel as a point of reference, opposites can attract. Select any one color, then find its companion by looking directly at the other side of the wheel. These will be your primary and secondary palette shades.

When you're going with complementary colors, your accent shouldn't be from the color wheel. Instead, a simple white or black works best. Or you can spice it up with a metallic such as silver or gold.

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07

Monochromatic design

Some people aren't into vivid hues and vibrant shades. If you desire a simple look but still want color, monochromatic design is the way to go. This is where you select a basic color, then apply the 60-30-10 rule with varying shades.

Navy, powder, and deep blues, for example, is a gentle choice that will still be dramatic: walls, sofas, and curtains will be different but blend seamlessly. If you don't want to have too much of one color, substituting a light gray or cream to break things up will be a nice touch.

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08

Unlimited neutral possibilities

Share to Pinterestliving room
CreativaStudio / Getty Images

Using a neutral palette is anything but boring. Earthen tones are subtle, yet offer tremendous detail. What's so great is that they come in a muted rainbow of colors, and all work well together: you can play by the 60:30:10 rule, or do your own thing.

Neutrals are also the best route to take for large pieces in the home. Furniture is an investment, so you don't want to go with a crazy color that's hard to match — unless that's your style, of course.

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09

Online tools of the trade

Share to PinterestInterior designer meeting with client
DragonImages / Getty Images

Color palette generators and visualizer tools online are the lastest trend in figuring out what you want for your home. They're great for interior color schemes, and they'll open your eyes to a wide array of options. Plus, these programs will provide you with hours of creative entertainment.

For most tools, you can upload photos of your home. Then you'll be able to play around with tints, shades, saturation, and more. These user-friendly gadgets can help you with whatever design goals you have.

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10

Keep the color flowing

Share to Pinterestwoman hanging frames on the wall
Ekaterina Goncharova / Getty Images

If you're into themes and coordination, use your colors to tie your whole home together. Let it flow. Maybe make a cool color a living room accent, but then use it as a primary shade in the bedroom. Switch up your main, secondary, and accent shades to design a harmonious environment.

When it comes to home decor, you're only limited by your creativity. Do what works for you, and don't be afraid to be daring. When you let colors flow from room to room, even the oddest pairing will be a match made in heaven.

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