A blank canvas holds so much promise, but stepping up, paintbrush in hand, can be as nerve-racking as it is thrilling. Such is the challenge awaiting new homeowners and those on the cusp of a home renovation.
With so many paths to take, how do you know where to begin filling your place with color? Well, you do your research and accept the sage advice of the experts, and you consider what would make domestic life as aesthetically wondrous as possible.
The color wheel can help you settle on analogous colors (the ones next to each other) that convey a sense of relaxation. Land on the main color and use two or three neighboring colors for accents. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the wheel and add zest to a space.
Contrasting or triadic colors—three colors that are evenly spaced from each other on the wheel—also have their place.
These timeless proportions facilitate balance. Your dominant color takes up 60% of your space, mainly by being on your walls. The 30% is for the secondary color bathing your drapes, carpets, large couches, or bed linens in a visually compelling hue. And the 10% is for accents such as throw pillows, art, candles, or an accent wall.
Look at magazines, Pinterest boards, home decor stores, and newly decorated houses in big cities if possible. Pull all your favorite elements into one reference document, so you know what you'd like to achieve with color. Colors often look different when photographed, so bear this in mind when you're looking for paint samples.
When we talk of earthy neutrals, gray is right there in the mix, even if our mind goes to the camels and beiges first. Gray is the color of mountains, skies, and oceans. It's the perfect modern backdrop to whimsical accents you can easily swap out when you need a change.
Bring on the bubble gum pinks, sunflower yellows, and lush green houseplants.
When you're creating a new interior, look to your favorite statement pieces to anchor your color choices. You may have had a valuable piece of artwork or a vintage rug that you loved to bits in the previous iteration of your home, or perhaps you've recently bought something you're keen to highlight.
Pick out the bold colors for accents and the neutral colors for a room's walls.
Check out your closet for inspo. The colors you repeatedly choose when buying clothes either suit you physically or match your personality or identity. If you're a walking advert for a particular aesthetic, infuse your favorite colors into your decor choices.
Fans of neutrals in their wardrobe, for instance, can go for white and sandy hues with interesting textures.
Yes, white and light hues on walls make rooms look bigger. That's all well and good for shared rooms in your house or apartment, like your dining area or kitchen. But don't feel you have to apply the same principle in rooms that are short on space. Use wallpaper, textured paint, or wooden panels on accent walls behind beds.
Paint the rest of the room a dark color if you desire, and you'll feel like the room is embracing you.
Look up and then at your feet when you're outdoors at the beach, in the woods, or even on asphalt. What do you see? The sky is a light shade, and the ground is dark. Bring the outside inside and mirror this juxtaposition within your home, using medium shades on your walls.
Cool colors have blue undertones, and warm colors have red undertones. They're opposites, but you can use both in a room for added flair.
Buttery throws and ottomans pair well with blue love seats. And warm timber accents and burgundy can work fabulously with whites and grays if you get the balance right.
Black provides a contrast to the other colors in your palette. Whether you're going for a more industrial or retro look or decor dominated by neutrals, hints of black are an en vogue touch. Vases are one route into this trend, as are the legs on coffee tables or chairs.
Ebony and ivory make sweet, sweet music together; as core elements of your color scheme, black and white will make your decor sing. There's so much potential in this classic checkerboard-inspired pairing: black bar stools with white islands and backsplashes, or black pendant lights and white sofas, for example. Wooden floors add warmth and houseplants bring organic color.
We've already touched on using color gradients vertically. The color wheel can inspire a striking monochromatic color scheme. Different tints of a color. i.e., darker and lighter versions of it can bathe a room in a dreamy, thematic look.
This surreal approach isn't conventional, but it works whether you put a neutral on the walls or not. Imagine sophisticated teal brush strokes or an olive theme.
You only need three or four hues to build your interior palette, one of which should be neutral. You have free rein with the other two or three colors, so pick wisely.
Any more hues and your space can feel too busy. This theory corresponds with the 60-30-10 rule. Three is also an ideal number if you're grouping colorful accents.
Test your colors before making the leap and committing to them. Use mounting cards or paint swatches on walls in a room and monitor how the color changes throughout the day as morning becomes afternoon becomes evening. Compare natural light and artificial light's effects too, and remember the changing seasons will also affect your color.
Is a particular room naturally cool or warm? Dipping a cold room in a color like blue with a cool undertone will increase the chilly vibes, and swathing a warm room in citrusy colors with warm undertones can feel too toasty. For the former, look for a shade of blue with a warm undertone.
Every graphic design professional emphasizes the importance of empty space, and the same principle applies to interior design. Bold colors are amazing but look to nature for the ultimate guidance.
Bright color exists in breathtaking bursts and bubbles. It does not overwhelm, and there's much-needed contrast with neutral colors so the eyes can rest.
Bold colors are also unforgiving. With neutral colors, there's room for error where the ceiling meets the wall or along borders and edges. That's not the case with robust avocado or violet shades, for example. So, you'll have to take extra care during the paint application or enlist a pro for an optimal finish.
It's possible to get the color right but the finish wrong. So, if you're wondering why your paint isn't quite doing it for you, look into getting sheen, matte and glossy finishes instead. Pin your samples side by side, and after a few days of contemplation, you should hit the bullseye.
A sense of continuity can make your house or apartment feel intentional and elegant. When you use robust colors in the common areas of your home, run that thread through to the more private spaces. Bedrooms are supposed to be calming, so neutrals should be the dominant colors, but bring in hints of vibrancy with lampshades or rugs.
Whether you live in an eight-bedroom mansion or a bachelor pad, your home is just that—yours. So, go with your instincts even if they buck trends and especially if you plan on living in the space for the long haul. Fill rooms with tints, shades, and hues that gladden your heart and lift your spirits.