There are three fundamental aspects of interior design influencing the core of my style. Utilize a consistent color scheme, use accent colors and decor decisively, and minimize clutter. When considering an overhaul of your home’s appearance, having a strong color palette to represent your personality is a great place to start. Let’s explore some techniques to create your home color scheme, and see how they can be applied for outstanding results.
When looking to create a home color scheme, keep in mind styles and opinions will widely differ. What I consider right for my personality isn’t going to match everyone else’s ideal color scheme, and neither should yours! I tend to be reserved with my color scheme, keeping the structural components of the house neutral. This allows me to use a few accent colors to allow each room to flow into the next. I use artwork to make bold statements, uninterrupted by the neutral tones which make up the majority of my home. If you know you want to get funky wild with your home, go for it! It’s still a great idea to get your colors lined up in advance so you know how you are going to tie the house together.
Deriving a color scheme
Like most other projects, the hardest part of picking your color scheme is deciding where to start. I will share two of my favorite methods for starting your color scheme. Feel free to pick the one that suits you best!
Method 1 – Choosing colors by intended feel
How do you want your space to feel? Do you want something warm and comforting, or bold and modern? Do you love bright contrasting colors, or prefer soft neutral tones? Start thinking about the spaces you are most comfortable in, or stand out to you the most, and start looking at those spaces for insight on how they are designed. This method is going to be more complex than the rest, but is the best place to start if you want to really take the time to dial in your theme.
Using color fundamentals is a great way to figure out how to achieve the feel you want in your home color scheme. I’ll show you how to use color theory to build three different aesthetics.
Clean & Modern
When I thought about the space I wanted to live in, I knew I wanted a modern and clean aesthetic. This led me to choose a monochromatic color scheme. Monochromatic means using varying shades of the same color. You will see multiple shades of blue used throughout my house, and a copper orange used very minimally as an accent color.
Every room is tied together with the same monochromatic theme, and the small copper touches will add a note of purposeful design. Rules are made to be broken though. Tossing in some bold color choices to oppose your monochromatic design using artwork will allow your art to speak stronger than if it were clumped in with a chaotic color scheme.
Bright & Lively
Are you down with the p-funk? The palette funk, that is. While monochromatic is the conservative and safe color scheme, high contrast is the fun and energetic opposite end of the spectrum. Pick colors from opposite ends of the color wheel, and you will start finding the perfect color combos to represent your wild and free personality.
Warm & Comfy
If you want your home to feel like a warm welcoming place for family and friends, then consider choosing harmonious colors. These are the colors directly next to each other on the color wheel, and compliment each other to make your home feel relaxed and inviting.
Method 2 – Good artists copy. Great artists steal.
Ok, maybe not “steal,” but you get the picture. Pull colors from your favorite piece of artwork, interior designer, local venue, or items you already have in the house. If you have an irreplaceable piece of furniture that will dominate a room with a certain color, maybe use it’s color as a starting point for building out your home color scheme.
When you look in your closet, do you see a pattern of colors you wear regularly? If you know those colors look good on you, try using them to build out the colors of your house. You already know they look good on you, so why not try around you too?
Let’s try grabbing a piece of art, pulling colors out of it, and see what a potential palette could look like:
After pulling out some colors from the artwork, we wind up with this:
Enough with the theory. How do I build one?
With your new knowledge of 2 different ways to approach selecting colors, you are ready to build your home color scheme. I am going to outline the exact steps I took to complete my color scheme, and you can try it out yourself.
1. Pick your foundation colors
Start with colors used to cover the largest surface areas. These are going to be foundation colors that impact the rest of the house. Think about what your walls and trim will look like in each room. My foundational colors are light grey for the walls, white for the trim, and a colonial navy blue for large accents. Stick to 2-3 colors here.
2. Pick your secondary colors
With my monochromatic color scheme, this was easy. I already had a navy blue as a foundation color, so I selected three additional shades and hues of blue to compliment the colonial navy blue. These colors will be used for decor and additional accents in the house. At this point, you should already have a color scheme ready for any house, but I suggest one more step. Stick to 2-3 colors here also.
3. Choose one contrasting accent color
Since all my colors were similar in my home, I knew I needed to add a bit of extra flair to my rooms. This will be a color used on small accents and subtly placed throughout your home. For me, this is for items like small decor pieces or cabinet hardware. I knew copper would be a great contrast to the more conservative color choices I made. Use your best judgement to find something you can use for an extra pop. If you are already creating a high contrast color scheme, you can skip this step.
What to do next
Start using your colors! When you first start, stick to your home color scheme in every room to creating a sense of consistency and flow. You can use colors differently in each room, but try and stay within your palette and let smaller details do the design work. Make sure to get a set of color swatches to keep filed away at all times so you know exactly what colors you are using, and can easily replace paint without worrying about an exact match. A great way to get started is by painting walls with your foundational colors, and don’t forget to make sure you change out your outlets to match!
If you have a monochromatic theme, try adding one piece of artwork to contrast with your color palette. Don’t go overboard with this though, or soon your scheme will fall apart. With any theme you have, feel free to experiment and change things up regularly!