The gray, cold days of winter can leave you feeling blue, but these days stuck inside can be a great time to work on inside projects to spruce up your home. How about giving a splash of color to a plain room? Sometimes, when decorating a home, people want to experiment with color, but they don’t know how, or are afraid to color outside the lines and try something new.
Start With the Basics
Before you start your “colorizing” project, it’s important to learn the difference between warm and cool colors. Warm colors will make you think of sunshine and heat: red, orange, yellow and combinations of them. They are inviting, and can make a large room feel cozier. Cool colors are known to be relaxing. Blue, green and lavender are calming, which is why they are often used in bedrooms. Cool colors recede (warm colors advance) so they can make a tiny room appear more spacious.
Creating a balance between warm and cool colors is important in decorating. Decide before you begin what mood you want to create in the room. If you want warm and intimate, make warm colors dominant with touches of cool colors here and there. Do the opposite if you’re looking for a light, breezy feel.
Before adding more color, you may also want to take into account the existing colors in the room. Look at your flooring, ceiling, cabinets, counters and even the colors coming in from the view outside the window. Believe it or not, a new color scheme can be thrown off by outdoor landscaping.
A good rule to follow is the “60-30-10 Rule”. That means, 60 percent of the room is the dominant color (the walls); 30 percent is a secondary color (the upholstery) and 10 percent is an accent color (pillows, wall hangings, etc.).
Go With the Flow
Unless the “patchwork quilt effect” is the look you’re going for, try to avoid having too many different colors throughout the house. Even while bringing in bold colors, you still want the home to flow. For instance, a pale pink room, then a red room, then a purple room is going to interfere with the continuity. A color wheel comes in handy when decorating, especially in deciding the color plan for an entire home. If you choose colors that are close to each other on the color wheel, your home will flow.
Tips for the Timid
If neutrals are more your thing, but you’ve always wanted to experiment, start small. Even if your favorite color is orange, try bringing it into a room by accessorizing. Bold-colored pillows, throws or floral arrangements can brighten an otherwise monotone room. Once you’ve gotten used to that, you may want to paint, say, one wall.
A small room can be a place to experiment with bold paint on one wall—or even all the walls. While it is true that light colors will seem to enlarge a room, it’s okay to break this rule. A small bedroom, bathroom or office can be very appealing in a rich, deep color. However, you don’t want a small room to feel like a dungeon, so keep the trim and accessories light.
Follow Mother Nature
If you’re still not sure how to proceed with color, follow the laws of nature. Use darker colors for the flooring (the ground); medium for the walls (think trees and mountains) and light colors for the ceiling (like the sky).
The important thing to remember in working with color is to start small, and use colors that you feel comfortable with to suit your personal style.