It’s the one thing designers say will make an immediate change in a room. It can create a look that makes a statement about a home and the people who live there. It’s also inexpensive and easy to change: color. Unfortunately, this aspect of decorating gives us fits, but by following a few simple guidelines you can find colors that strike just the right tone. This how-to will help you find colors just right for your rooms.
If there’s a color you’re crazy about, one of the easiest ways to incorporate it is to use all the shades in its range, from lightest to darkest. By employing this color scheme, you’ll have a tone-on-tone look that’s elegant and chic. Adding an accent color or balancing it with a touch of black or white is another way to make your favorite color come to life. Or, keep everything in the same shade if you want an uber-cool, chic look that oozes elegance.
When color shades are too similar, the result is monotonous. Yet, if you don’t want to put very dramatic colors together, such as red and black, you might look to color neighbors. These are shades well-suited for one another and are neighbors on the color wheel. Good examples are orange and yellow, red and pink, blue and green, brown and beige. This is a quick and easy way to add interest but not add color that feels jarring.
One way to employ this technique is to use one color for walls and paint and another for furnishings. Pulling in a beige accent in a brown upholstery fabric will help make the furniture and the room feel unified and cohesive.
Fearing the bland plight of builder’s white, homeowners can select colors that are opposite one another. These are often called complementary and, although, as different and opposite as salt and pepper, they go well together. Good examples are yellow and blue, black and white, or the Christmas favorites, red and green.
Selecting colors that are opposite on the color wheel might seem jarring, but in fact, they’re lively and balanced simply because they do contrast one another. If one is too bold, try making one shade much darker or much lighter, for a distinctive look.
The color of the year
Pantone, the color company (pantone.com), has declared emerald as the color of the year for 2013. This rich, vibrant green is at once friendly and elegant. It’s a color that will calm down with a neighborly color of blue or blue-green. Or, try a bold green-and-white or Caribbean-inspired emerald-coral combination.
Now that you have some color ideas to work with, the next task is to decide what kind of feeling you want your colors to have. If cool and elegant come to mind, then buttercup yellow probably won’t be your first choice, but a cashmere almond hue might suit. Focus on the feeling and then use the techniques for color choices and you’ll get the right shade every time.