Basic Interior Color Guide

The power of color happens whenever you walk into a room and either feel excited, curious and energetic, or the opposite. Color is, besides the right lighting, the key elements in setting the right atmosphere in your home. Choosing the right colors can makes the difference between a boring living area and a sanctuary that feels inviting. But, with all of those countless paint shades on the market, finding the right color scheme often feels pretty overwhelming. This basic guide colors guide will help you to find your perfect color in 10 simple steps.

1. Set the right mood

Let’s dive into the psychology of colors: Different colors create different emotions and impact the way you feel in a space. By understanding the emotional influence of colors, you can choose a palette that sets the right mood for each room in your home. Here are some basics you need to consider:

  • Warm Colors like orange, and yellow create a cozy and inviting environment. Orange spreads the feeling of warmth, optimism, and creativity, while yellow is associated with happiness and cheerfulness. 
  • Cool Colors like blue, green, and violet promote feelings of calmness and tranquility. Blue  can lower heart rate and blood pressure, promoting restful sleep. Green is associated with nature and balance, creating a sense of peace and well-being, while violet can spark your creativity and imagination.
  • Neutral Colors like whites, beiges, and grays offer a sense of calmness. They act as a blank canvas, allowing bolder elements like furniture and artwork to be in focus. However, don’t underestimate the impact of the slightest differences in shades. – Cooler neutrals can create a sense of spaciousness, while warmer neutrals can add a touch of sophistication.

2. Identify Your Fixed Elements

Identify Your Fixed Elements: Take stock of permanent features in the room, such as furniture, flooring, and countertops. These elements will significantly influence your color palette and act as the foundation for your design. Consider the colors, materials, and finishes of these fixed elements when selecting wall paint.

For example, imagine a beautiful oak table in your dining room. The warm, golden tones of the oak can guide your color choices. You might opt for a brighter wall color to complement and make room for the natural warmth of the wood. This creates a cohesive and balanced look, avoiding a clash between the fixed elements and your chosen paint color.

Neutral Colors | Greige Living Interior Design Magazine

3. Embrace the Power of Neutrals

Don’t underestimate the magic of neutrals! Whites, beiges, and grays provide a timeless foundation for any space. They create a sense of peace and offer a clean canvas for bolder elements to shine.

Neutrals are also super practical. Their light and airy nature can make rooms feel more spacious and even hide minor imperfections, saving you time and resources. So, as you embark on your design journey, don’t be afraid to embrace the power of neutrals – they can be the foundation for creating a dream home that reflects your unique style and personality.

4. Explore the Color Wheel

The color wheel is a valuable tool for understanding color relationships.

  • Monochromatic: This scheme uses tints, shades, and tones of a single base color, creating a calming and serene atmosphere.

  • Complementary: This scheme uses colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel, creating a vibrant and energetic contrast.

  • Analogous: This scheme uses colors next to each other on the color wheel, creating a harmonious and cohesive feel.

  • Triadic: This scheme uses three colors equally spaced around the color wheel, creating a vibrant and dynamic feel.

By understanding these basic color combinations and how they influence the mood of a space, you can create a personalized color scheme that reflects your desired atmosphere and style. Don’t forget to experiment and find what resonates with you! And also take in account that all colors can be mixed with black and white to make them more pastel or dusty looking.

5. The Power of Design Rules

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the color wheel, consider these three design rules to guide your color palette selection:

  • The 60-30-10 Rule: This popular rule suggests dividing your color scheme into three proportions for a balanced and visually appealing look. The dominant color, typically wall paint, makes up 60% of the space. This color sets the overall tone and establishes the foundation of the room. The secondary color, often upholstery or furniture, comprises 30% of the scheme. It should complement the dominant color and add depth. The remaining 10% is your accent color, used in smaller doses through throw pillows, artwork, or decorative objects. This splash of color adds personality and visual interest.

  • Consider Light and Space: Natural and artificial light play a significant role in how color is perceived in a space. A room bathed in warm sunlight can handle cooler colors, while a north-facing room with minimal natural light might benefit from warmer tones to create a sense of brightness. Similarly, consider the size of the space. Lighter colors can make a small room feel more spacious, while darker colors can create a cozy atmosphere in a large room.

  • The Rule of Three: This rule suggests limiting your color palette to three main colors. This creates a sense of cohesion and prevents the space from feeling visually overwhelming. You can incorporate additional neutrals like white, beige, or gray without breaking the rule of three, as they act as grounding elements.

Paint Samples | Greige Living Interior Design Magazine

6. Sample, Sample, Sample!

Don’t finalize your color choices based only on paint swatches or digital renderings. Colors can appear completely different depending on your homes lighting and fixed elements in the room.

To avoid expensive mistakes, invest in sample pots and paint a small section of the wall in each color. Live with the samples for a few days and look at them at different times of the day to observe how the color changes with the light. This is probably one of the most important points in this post, as it will save you a ton of time and money. 

7. Think Beyond Paint

Paint sets the base, but furniture, flooring, and textiles play a part too. Consider their colors and finishes. Bold furniture can be the focal point, while accents like throw pillows pick up pops of color.

Lighter flooring allows for more vibrant options. Consider flooring undertones (cool or warm) to see how they’ll interact with other colors. Textiles like rugs and curtains can tie your palette together or add surprise with an unexpected hue. By considering all these elements, you can create a cohesive and beautiful space.

8. Don't Be Afraid of Bold Accents

Don’t be afraid to add your personality through bold accents. A statement armchair can add a touch of drama to a living room. A vibrant abstract painting can energize a workspace.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with pops of color through throw pillows, artwork, or decorative objects. Remember, accents should complement your dominant and secondary colors, not overpower them. Embrace the power of contrast or use the rule of three. Let your personality shine through your bold accent choices!

9. Let Natural Light Guide You

Natural light plays a crucial role in how color is perceived in a space. Rooms bathed in warm sunlight can handle cooler colors, creating a refreshing and airy feel. North-facing rooms with minimal natural light might benefit from warmer tones to counteract the cooler light and prevent the space from feeling dull.

Consider the size of the room as well. Lighter colors can make a small space feel more open and airy, while darker colors can create a cozy atmosphere in a large room. By understanding how natural light interacts with your chosen color palette, you can create a harmonious and inviting space that maximizes its natural light potential.

10. Trust Your Instincts!

At the end of the day, your home should reflect your unique style and personality. While design rules and color theory offer valuable guidance, don’t be afraid to trust your gut. If a particular color combination speaks to you, experiment with it! There’s no single “correct” answer when it comes to color. Embrace the process, have fun, and don’t be afraid to tweak things as you go. Remember, your home is a canvas waiting to be colored with your creativity!

Armed with these basic steps, you’re well on your way to transforming your home with the perfect color scheme. Remember, decorating is a journey of self-expression, so have fun and embrace the power of color! While these tips provide a solid foundation, don’t be afraid to experiment and personalize your space. There are no hard and fast rules – the key is to create a home that reflects your unique style and makes you feel happy. Happy decorating!

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