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Whether you’re a new homeowner looking to personalize your space, or wanting a quick refresh with a new coat of paint, choosing the right color palette for your home can be challenging. With an endless selection of colors, brands and finishes, it can be tough even to begin searching for the perfect paint color. By using your imagination (and with a little help from the color wheel), you’ll be painting in no time.
Color theory is both a science and an art—a practical guide for color mixing and understanding how we perceive various color combinations. Within the color theory, tools such as the color wheel visualize relationships between colors. Color wheels can be simple or quite complex, depending on how many color hues are incorporated.
You don’t have to be an expert in color theory to use the color wheel. By having a basic grasp of color theory, you can create color palettes for every part of your life—including your home.
Before you dive into color theory, there are a few basic steps you can take to find the right colors for you.
Consider the mood and atmosphere you wish to cultivate in each room. This will guide you when creating your color palette. Be intentional with each color you choose and stick to the ones you know will blend into your personal style and taste.
Creating an intentional color scheme can only go so far if it isn’t reflective of your personality. If you love color and maximalist decor, don’t restrict yourself to neutrals!
Choose a base color that doesn’t match the room’s purpose, lighting or existing furnishings. You’ll want to choose a base color that will complement the rest of your home, even if you’re only painting one room. Your home’s colors should flow harmoniously together instead of creating jarring new experiences with each door you open.
Need inspiration for a base color? Here are two examples to kickstart your color scheme:
Torn between a few color options? Buy a sample of your top choices to take home and experiment with. By swatching the wall and doing a side-by-side comparison with your favorites, you may be able to see an opportunity for other combinations. Plus, any paint samples you don’t use can be saved for a rainy-day DIY project. While color may not be right for one room, it may be perfect for the refresh you do in another room in due time.
Creating a color palette is one thing, but how do you decide which colors will dominate the room? Use proportioning techniques like the 60-30-10 rule (60% dominant color, 30% secondary color, 10% accent color) to achieve a harmonious balance in your palette. So, if you choose a primarily neutral palette, such as whites and creams, you can use that accent color to add a bright pop with yellow or coral that, at such a small scale, doesn’t detract from the rest of your decor.