Decorating Color Schemes: Finding Inspiration

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Choosing decorating color schemes is exciting, but it can also be a little daunting.

You may find it easy to select a main color, but more difficult to finalize the smaller details, although these can often make or break the finished effect.

Inspiration comes naturally and easily to some people, but most of us need a little help in developing our artistic flair, or even in defining our own personal preferences.

Try to identify a few key areas to help you before you start to make decisions about using decorating color schemes.

When selecting colors for your decorating color scheme, you may find that inspiration is close at hand, so look around you before searching farther.

Where To Find Ideas For Decorating Color Schemes

Look for:

  • Existing decorations. Examine why your existing decorative color scheme does not suit you, and to what extent the color scheme needs to be changed.

    decorating color schemes                   decorating color schemes

  • Magazines. Flick quickly through magazines to see which pages and images attract you and which colors they feature.

  • Paintings. Use paintings and prints that you have bought in the past as reminders of what appeals to you visually.

Looking at photographs
Browse through a photograph album, identifying favorite vacation pictures. Make a note of those color schemes that appeal to you in landscape photographs to give you an indication of your color preferences.

Observing friends' homes
Although inspiration is an individual experience, you can learn a lot by looking at the decorating color schemes in friends' homes. Try combining ideas from several sources.

  • Consulting professionals. If you visit a decorating outlet, ask their experts for advice on color scheming. This service is often free, and you may find it extremely useful.
  • Visiting showrooms. Most large outlets build showrooms to display entire rooms. Here you may observe the work of interior designers.

Using color charts
Many manufacturers now provide more than simple color swatches to aid your choice of colors. They will also advise on period color styles and how to combine colors to create an authentic look. Many of their materials have traditional finishes.

  • Trying technology. There are many computer programs available to help with home design and decoration. You can try out a range of different color schemes on screen before making any decisions or doing any work.
  • Consider lighting. You need to be aware of the lighting in a room, since this will affect colors. Study both natural light conditions and artificial lighting before selecting a decorating color scheme.
  • Choosing accessories. Pick out the decorative accessories for a room before completing the decorating color scheme if there is an object you particularly like or find inspiring.
Painting lining paper
Make a reasonably sized color swatch by painting a piece of lining paper. Stick this on a wall temporarily so that you can observe a color as the light changes throughout the day.

Colors have certain properties that can evoke particular feelings in a room. You may choose a color scheme simply to change the character of your room or to create a certain atmosphere by means of that color's characteristics.

When starting the decoration of a room from scratch, examine the function of the room and who is going to be using it. Catering for occupants. If a room is for communal use, cater for general taste rather than individual needs.

Even a personal room such as a bedroom will require very different decor, in both practical and aesthetic terms, depending on whom it is designed for. Consider function. Select your colors according to whether a room will be used for rest and relaxation, for fun and recreation, or for work.

Impact Of Various Colors

Playing with greens
In a bedroom intended for use by a child, bear in mind that its functions will include both rest and recreation. You will have the scope to use different colors to enliven the atmosphere and add interest for the room's occupant.

Relaxing in warm pinks
You can transform a room almost completely just by changing its color. Use a uniform color scheme in an adult's bedroom, for example, to ensure that features do not leap out and to maintain a restful atmosphere.

Creating space
Typical cool colors tend to have a receding effect on walls, which gives a greater feeling of space in a room. Use this to create an open, airy atmosphere, as well as creating a cool effect

Emanating warmth
Oranges, reds, pinks, and warm yellows create a cozy atmosphere. Choose warm colors such as these for a room that receives little or no direct sunlight.

Freshening up. Select a cool, refreshing color scheme with blues and greens for areas such as narrow corridors that need opening up, or for sunny rooms that may overheat.

Varying intensity. The extent to which a color has a warming or cooling influence depends on its intensity and its shade. Use dark colors carefully, since these tend to have the most marked effect.

The use of a light or dark color does, of course, create a correspondingly light or dark atmosphere in a room.

However, different shades of the same color also have additional characteristics, and can be used individually to dramatic effect in the overall color scheme.

Enlarging a room
Light colors on large surfaces create a feeling of space. Use them to make a small room seem larger, or on selective surfaces such as ceilings to give an impression of greater height.

Enclosing a room
Dark colors tend to draw surfaces toward the viewer, therefore reducing the feeling of space. Use them to "lower" high ceilings or add coziness and intimacy to a large room.

Blending and Toning
Blending and toning can often be the most difficult concept to grasp when choosing colors. You need to decide which features of in a room should be accentuated and which should be blended in with the general decor in order to produce a sympathetic color scheme.

Blending together
Choose a main wall color so that it blends in with the color of another significant feature in the room.

Extending Color
Extending the same colors and designs from one surface to another is another way of using color to balance a decorative color scheme. This link can be made between all surfaces in a room including the flooring and furnishings, as well as the smaller decorative details.

  • Including ornaments. As well as using similar colors on all the major surfaces in a room, extend your decorating color scheme to your ornaments and collections on display to match the components of your decorative plan further.
  • Incorporating textures. The textured aspect of a decorative plan can also lie linked in with a color scheme. For example, reflect the different shades and tones produced by a natural flooring, such as sea-grass, in wicker baskets and other accessories in the room.
  • Scheming simply. The best effects are often created by means of a few simple color statements. Avoid including too many colors, since this tends to produce a very cluttered feel that will be too busy for most rooms.

I hope these ideas on decorating color schemes have been helpful. If you'd like to learn more about this topic, check out out recommended reading below.

Related Articles

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2) Which Interior Paint Colors Are Right For You?
3) Warm, Cool and Mood Changing Paint Colors
4) Bedroom Paint Colors Create the Right Mood
5) The Meaning Of Colors...Revealed!

Recommended reading - books

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