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Overcoming Color Scheme Challenges in Home Decorating

Color Schemes That Affect Moods

Color is a major player in the design world and rightly so because of the effects it has on the entire room and decorating project. But deciding on the right color scheme is sometimes where most people get stuck.

Selecting a color scheme can certainly be a real challenge even to design professionals. Which means total frustration to most of us beginners. But wait, don’t fret just yet… you are about to learn more about color schemes that will help you think like the pro’s.

Understanding color and how it affects your moods and feelings is the key to unlocking the mystery of color. Did you know that color can excite you, make you feel happy, comfortable, relaxed, anxious and even sad?

Color can also make small spaces appear larger and large spaces appear smaller. Color can make or break your entire design project. Color can even make or break a sale. Yes, color is an extremely powerful tool in the design world and in your personal world as well.

Let’s start with the basic color wheel. It was designed to teach us the relationships of color. You’ve heard of Designers talk of color schemes and their relationships. The color wheel helps us with this.

On the color wheel you’ll see primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) evenly spaced between secondary colors (orange, green and violet). Then there’s the third or tertiary colors, which mixes the adjacent or analogous colors and lastly the fourth or quaternary colors.

The most basic color rule is that colors are either warm or cool. Warm colors advance or pop out while cool colors tend to recede or move away. Are you drawn to warm colors like reds and yellows? Or cool colors like blues and greens?

Warm colors are inviting, comfortable, relaxing and intimate. Cool colors are refreshing, more reserved, relieves and calms.

If you draw a line down the middle of the color wheel, warm and cool colors will be on opposite sides of each other. Every warm color has a cool compliment.

So how do you decide on your color choice? Once you’ve narrowed down your selection (and I would add at this point to narrow down your selection to three choices), take the paint chips or samples home.

Most paint companies now have larger paint chips so that you can experience your color samples effectively. I take it a step further by purchasing my top three paint colors in the pint size (not gallon size) cans and painting each color on a poster board. (The paint chips are just not large enough for me.) I then tape these poster boards on my wall in the room to be painted. I live with these three colors for a few days… experiencing daylight and nightlight.

You see lighting has a major effect on color. Both daylight and nightlight will change the look of your color, guaranteed. So live with your color choices on these poster boards for a few days and then you will know for sure which is the best color for your color scheme.

Some people ask me if it’s OK to paint accent walls, or to have one or two colors in the same room. I say absolutely. Color scheming is not just about choosing colors that you like, but choosing likable, livable colors that produce dramatic effects.

That’s what accent walls do. Choose a color that pops, add excitement and works well with the other colors in the room. You can also switch accent colors from room to room.

There’s really no set rule but you do have to choose livable colors that relate well with the color schemes already around you. Some colors just don’t work well together, and that’s what you want to avoid.

That is why paint manufacturers arrange colors sympathetically- in close relationships that enhance each other- in their paint decks (books of paint chips you can purchase from the store). By fanning the paint deck out, you can choose related colors more easily.

Now if you don’t like the idea of multiple related color schemes in your home, you can choose to use a whole-house color scheme by sticking to one color. This one-color continuity scheme can make a small room seem larger and give a sense of harmony and serenity.

One-color schemes called Monochromatic come in two varieties – you can use a single color, or tonal variations of one color. Monochromatic color schemes are considered very chic and quite contemporary in fashion.

Most commonly used monochromatic schemes are white and beige but beware – white and beige tend to highlight any flaws. You want to make sure all your whites and beiges are either cool or warm and inject patterns and textures for added interest.

Here are some tips to remember:

To make a room look larger- use light, cool colors.
To make a room cozier and inviting, use warm colors.
To make a ceiling look higher, use white or light colors.
To drop the ceiling and make lower, use darker colors.

Some say the best all-time rule to follow is this:

Your primary areas – floors, walls, and ceilings – should receive neutralized colors in a range of values. Make the floor the darkest surface, the walls medium, and the ceiling the lightest value.

Your color schemes start with your choice of fabric, upholstery, and furniture selections. All should relate with each other. Of course other components to consider within the space are the window treatments, rugs, carpet, tile, and accessories like lamps, pillows, vases and so forth.

Don’t let all this scare you. Start with the furniture showcases to see what really lights you up. Take notes, bring your magazine tear-outs. It will be clear to you soon enough what you like and dislike. Your color scheme will begin to emerge just like you will, into a beautiful room that says this is YOU.

Janice Nickole publishes a series of articles on home decorating [] to share her years of experience in home decorating ideas [].

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