If you want an inviting, comfortable home, nothing perhaps is more important than picking the right color scheme. Finding the right paint colors for your home is a source of great frustration to many. It’s the question I get asked the most, so I thought I would take you through the process I use when I pick a color scheme for an entire home or a color for a room.
I’m revamping our Swedish house this month, and needed a new color for our TV room, so I will use my home as a guide. Here is a process I use to come up with a color scheme.
1. DECIDE THE VIBE AND FEELING YOU WANT FOR YOUR HOME
The first thing to ask yourself is how do you want to feel in your space. Do you want a space that makes you happy? A space that calms you down? Colors have a strong effect on the way we feel and the selection of the right colors is more important than you think. Brighter hues such a red, orange and yellow gives us energy while pale blues and greens have a calming effect. Some lifts us up and some brings us down.
When we bought our house in Sweden I wanted a place I could come to and relax. It needed to be PEACEFUL and stress free. It could also not feel too “serious” and needed a touch of a playfulness yet still feel really “Swedish”. Knowing all this I knew the colors had to be pale and soothing, and to use fun stronger colors only as accents.
This is the view from most of the house.
2. LET WHAT’S RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW BE A GUIDE
Look outdoors, what do you see? Do you have a view? What are the colors you see? Is it an urban landscape, is it a lawn? Sunset or sunrise views? Whatever you see outside, or don’t want to see outside, decides what color you might pick inside.
For example, in our house, from almost every single room we have an incredible view. Therefore I didn’t want to use a busy wallpaper or a color that would take away or distract from the beauty right outside. I wanted nature to be a guide.
Selecting hues that already where outside added a cohesive and soothing effect. (All color chips are from Benjamin Moore.)
3. DETERMINE YOUR HOME’S NATURAL LIGHT
What is the natural light like? In Sweden there is almost no daylight for many months of the year, therefore a white background is often painted to allow sunlight to reflect off the walls, and let the home feel brighter. Rarely do you see a Swedish home painted in dark colors for this reason.
You can brighten a dark room in the house with a light color, or magnify what is already is there by painting it a dark engulfing color.
Since there is an extreme lack of sunlight here most of the year, I picked white and yellow paint colors for several rooms to reflect light or mimic sunlight.
4. LET THE LOCALE INSPIRE YOU
Where is your house located? Downtown? Mountains? Horse country? If your home is downtown Manhattan versus out on a farm you might want a different feeling. Let the history of the town and area give you ideas. Read old books, pick up some local vintage treasures, watch TV shows from the place. There can be some amazing colors you find that could be used in a new fun way.
Since we spend a limited amount of time here, I wanted a very Swedish vibe and welcomed using some traditional Swedish colors.
Turn of the century department store chandelier.
I picked up local vintage pieces that had colors of the area and let them inspire me.
Swedish “trasmatta” woven with tons of leftover colors are very common here.
I love Pippi Longstocking (she’s my hero) and the TV show from the 60-70’s is a great source of fun and unusual colors.
5. MAKE THE TRANSITION OF COLORS RUN SMOOTH FROM ROOM TO ROOM
When you stand in one room and look in to another the colors have to flow peacefully. From every single angle of your home the colors have to harmonize as far as your eye can see. Here it was easy since it’s so white. But this can also be achieved very well with tons of strong colors as long as your overall color scheme “plays” together.
6. DON’T LET IT BE TOO EXPECTED – ADD AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
Never let a room be boring, choose something in your overall scheme that adds an element of surprise. Too much of the same color in a room, can make it boring.
7. DETERMINE THE COLORS IN YOUR SCHEME THAT SHOULD BE USED FOR THE WALLS
When you have gathered a bunch of colors. Go back to the questions. What do you want your home to feel like?
For me it was PEACEFUL and RELAXING with a touch of fun. So peaceful hues had to be the wall colors and the fun tones would become accents.
Natural light needs? Yellow and White.
What did I see outside? Blue and Green.
Sense of playfulness and local inspiration? Accent colors: Turquoise, Orange, Blue, Lavender.
This became our full color scheme, for the main house and the guest house. The guest house since small is only in blue hues mixed with the whites.
I’m repainting our TV room this week. Although it’s already painted in a grayish yellow, somehow the space too cold. To find a new color I went back to my original scheme and decided what I wanted more of. I needed a warm hue.
And I decided I wanted more of Pippi Longstocking 70’s TV show vibe.
I selected these colors above to go with the already orange accents in the room.
The wall color would be a pink/coral tone for warmth.
The carpet has orange accents and the cabinet if I ever finish it will have orange accents. ( This room is half way through makeover…) Will share more on that in a later post.
Picking colors is a really fun process.
I hope I have not been rambling and that this gives you some kind of guide to pick a color scheme for your home.
P.S. If you feel you still need help. Stay tuned for my affordable color scheme service coming soon.