By : Jennifer & Kitty O'Neil
Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil are sisters and authors of the book Steampunk Chic: Vintage Flair From Recycled Finds. Their crafting, decorating, and flea market articles appear regularly in Woman’s World, Crafts 'n things, and Create and Decorate magazines. They also write for the websites of Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Ladies' Home Journal, HGTV, Fine Living, Parents, and LifetimeTV.
The O'Neil sisters were born and raised in Tampa, Florida, and are the granddaughters of Chic Young, creator of the comic strip “Blondie and Dagwood.” They share their enthusiasm and their fresh approach to crafting and decorating on their blog, RunningWithSisters.com, and on their website, ONeilSisters.com.
With paint and decor available in every hue imaginable, adding color to your home might seem overwhelming but it doesn't have to be! Break down the process with these three simple steps to picking a color palette for any room.
Design by Lori Dennis.
They are the questions every homeowner asks: What color should I paint my walls?
How do interior decorators pick a palette in a flash when there are so many
colors out there? It’s easier than you think. In just three simple steps, you
can choose a palette for any room in the house.
Step 1: Establish a Mood
Start by thinking about the mood of the room. How do you want the
space to make you feel? Tranquil? Lively? Romantic? That’s where color comes in!
Different colors evoke different feelings, and it turns out those color-feelings
are pretty universal.
If you want your space to be passionate and
stimulating, embrace red as the main hue. Red is the color of the heart and
represents life and love. For a warm room that energizes, go for orange as the
dominant hue. Orange used to be a “makes-ya-hungry” fast-food color, but techies
and fashionistas know it has been reborn into a vibrant color of the future.
Yellow is also high energy, but in an uplifting and cheerful way. When you walk
into a yellow room, you can practically feel the sun shining on your face.
Moving around the color wheel, we have green, the color of nature. It creates
an atmosphere that’s as friendly and comforting as the landscape around us.
Blues are also abundant in nature and suggest the calmness and tranquility of
clear skies and ocean waters. For a room on the contemplative and sensual side,
pick purple it combines the arousing qualities of red with the calming essence
of blue. White is the color of purity and cleanliness, so use it to make a room
feel clean and organized. The earthiness of brown makes a place seem grounded
All you have to do is decide what mood you would like for your
room. For example, if you want a living room that’s friendly and comforting,
then you’d choose green.
Once you've pinpointed your palette's dominant color, tweak it to set a specific
mood. Citrusy green and yellow work beautifully together in this vacation home.
Design by Shelly Riehl David.
Step 2: Explore the Rainbow
You’ve chosen your main color, green, but there are thousands of
greens, aren’t there? Yes, but don’t fret. You can tweak that green (or whatever
shade you choose), again based on mood. Green is friendly and comforting, but if
we mix that green with blue to get teal, we add a little calm and tranquility.
Want a more lively and cheerful room? Blend green with yellow to get pear. Every
color can lean toward its neighbor on the color wheel and pick up some of that
mood. Red that leans toward purple is passionate and sensual, ideal for a
bedroom. Red that leans toward orange is stimulating and energetic, a good
choice for a kitchen.
Once you’ve figured out your main color, you’ll
want to choose accent colors. If you chose calming teal as your main color, it
can do all the moody work. The accent colors will appear in smaller amounts and
won’t affect the mood, which means you can choose from anywhere on the color
wheel. Try color-wheel neighbors to create a palette that feels harmonious. For
example, enhance your teal with touches of green or blue. Reach a bit further
around the wheel to add a bit more excitement. Just think how jazzy teal looks
with lime or purple. The further you travel around the wheel from your main
color, the more dynamic the combinations. If you pick the color exactly opposite
on the color wheel, that teal would vibrate with red-orange accents, a look that
is intense and modern.
Consider a room's style and decor when finalizing your color palette. Cool,
tranquil blues suit this casual-chic bedroom. Design by Linda Woodrum.
Step 3: Style Your Palette
Once you’ve selected a main color and accents, it’s time to match
that palette to your decorating style. To do this, pick out a paint chip that
includes your main color, teal. As you move up the paint chip, that teal gets
lighter as it is tinted with more white. As you move down the strip, the teal
has more black in it and gets darker. These different tints and shades
coordinate with different styles of decor. If you gravitate to traditional,
choose the darker, muted versions of your whole palette to help capture that
traditional look. If your taste is cottage chic, go for a lighter palette. The
extra white in those hues will suit your whitewashed furniture perfectly. But if
your home is casual contemporary, you can use the palette as is. Those true
colors will pop!