Choosing a color palette for a room can be daunting when you`re faced with the overwhelming rainbow of choices available at any home improvement store.
The secret to choosing a color palette is to save the paint store for last. Paint colors can be custom-mixed and some places even do so for free.
So, rather than trying to match accessories to the paint color you have chosen, start with the focal point of the room and choose your paint color last.
Before choosing a focal point, you need to know which colors have cool tones and which have warm ones so that you can match the mood of the room to its function. Warm colors include beiges, creams, reds, oranges and yellows. Warm colors are stimulating, so while they are wonderful in a kitchen, dining room or living room they are not a good choice for a nursery.
Cool colors include browns and grays as well as greens, blues and purples. They are calming colors and are excellent choices for bedrooms, bathrooms and playrooms.
Now that you have chosen a basic color palette, you can choose a focal point. This is the piece of artwork, architectural detail or furniture that is the first thing people notice when they come into the room. Your focal point can be a painting or sculpture, a fireplace, plaster bas relief or carved wood molding, or a soft, overstuffed fabric or sleek leather sofa. Choose the colors for your focal point first and the rest of the room will follow.
Artwork is simple because it already has a color scheme. All you have to do is pick out which colors you want to match, which to complement and which to contrast with. A color wheel is your best friend in this endeavor because it helps you keep from choosing colors that clash.
Architectural details can be slightly more of a challenge because many of them are either made of wood or painted white. The best way to work with neutrals is to surround them with color. The most efficient way to ensure that the colors you choose match the room`s overall ambiance is to know what kind of room it is. A Cape Cod living room with a white, wooden fireplace cries out for China blue walls and crisp fabrics while a Tuscan bedroom with wooden ceiling beams is at home with the soft textured terra cotta tones of Venetian plaster and rich, jewel-toned velvets.
When using rugs, furniture, curtains or decorative pillows as your focal point, it is crucial to be realistic about how they will be used. Rugs in homes with pets or small children must be colorfast and easy to clean. Curtains so beautiful pulled aside that you can`t bear to close them cannot be placed on windows which need shading during certain times of day unless you also fit the window with blinds or shades.
Furniture is an excellent choice for a focal point because it can be dressed up or down and changed through the use of decorative pillows or throws without having to alter the entire room. Choose fabrics that will stand up to the type of use the room actually receives. A white silk sofa is elegant and refined but not likely to stay that way with young children or messy teenagers in the house. Solid colors that you can accessorize work well, but if you see a print you love, don`t be afraid of it. Even the wildest print can be toned down with accessories and they are especially wonderful at hiding signs of wear.