3 questions that will unlock the mystery of selecting the right palette for your home
Over the years, I’ve found that an active part of my design business has been simply providing consultation to homeowners who are overwhelmed at the prospect of picking a design direction for their home. I also find that although my consultation work may not land me on the cover of Elle Décor Magazine, I really enjoy helping people find their design direction. One of the biggest dilemmas homeowners have is selecting an overall color palette for their home.
Many a client has been in knots about making the wrong color choice or fighting with their significant other about color. So I’m here once again to share some common sense tips about how to make this decision. I don’t subscribe to most theories or rules about color and where it has to go, the only guiding principal for me is that I want the spaces I design to be coordinating or complementary to each other. It is important that I don’t feel the shock of going from bright red to blue to purple in the same house. Your home should feel like different bars of the same song, not like different artists on a compilation album! For my fellow mommies out there I make a limited exception of kids’ rooms, (how many colors are in that frozen bed set…. Ok fine! I let it go)
When my clients come to me totally blocked on color I ask them three questions:
- Tell me what colors you dislike? – While I don’t like starting the conversation with a negative, asking this first helps me to eliminate a lot of options and allows me to gain some insight into their personality.
- When you close your eyes what does your home feel like? – Clients usually respond to this with adjectives that they understand like warm, clam, earthy, spa like, or glamorous. This helps me to visualize a family of colors that I can put together for their consideration.
- When I say bold color, what comes to mind?– This helps me to understand what intensity and color finishes within the color families described above would be desired in the space .
Armed with that information I put together several color palettes each consisting of about four coordinating colors for my client to review. Then I start the conversation with, context! This is not life or death stuff! Worst-case scenario we repainted the wall so have fun with it! Once the client narrows down the palettes to their top two choices, I paint them on the wall of their home in large squares for them to live with it for a day or so before making the final selection.
I always recommend starting with the color palette first then build the furnishings off of that. Your walls make the greatest impact on any interior. The color of a room can impact your mood, so I believe this should be the starting point of your design direction. So take a few days, use the questions above to help you zero in on your options, and if you’re not working with a designer, take your answers and go online and search for colors that are evocative of the adjectives you use to describe your home. Create one or two color palettes consisting of 3-4 colors in each grouping and take it to the paint store and ask them to match it. You can also download apps from many of the paint retailers that allow you to snap pictures of anything that expresses your color inspiration and the app will tell you the exact color match.
I would invest in a purchasing a small sample of each color and paint them in large squares on a wall in your home. It is important to see how the colors work in YOUR space. Then sleep on it, pass by it for a day or so. It will all become clear to you. Just keep in mind; it’s not that serious! Have fun with it! There is no right or wrong when it’s right for you!