Color selection is perhaps the most important element of an interior design project. Paint selection used to be simple. You went to the paint store, looked at paint chips, chose your favorite, and bought your paint. Oh, if it were only  still so simple. The joy as well as the frustration of color selection is that paint stores can mix and match any color you want from any source whether it’s a child’s favorite toy, a shell found at the beach, a decorative fabric. Selecting a room’s color palette is now a monumental task! Hire a certified interior decorator!

Light, time of day, not to mention furnishings and fabrics play off of each other and have dramatic impact on how that color in the paint store looks on your walls. Have you noticed fluorescent lighting in paint stores? It severely affects the result. Take several pint sized samples home, and paint one foot squares on your walls. Let them dry, and observe them different at times of day with a variety of light sources. If you have your heart set on a specific hue, experiment with different shades. Variations of the same color have a different effect on a space.

Color has powerful effects on our emotions and the mood of the space. You want a soft restful color for a bedroom, nothing intense. If you put on makeup and/or shave in your bathroom, a neutral hue in a light tone is more flattering and shows more natural in daylight. Pay special attention to lighting. You can spice up the room with colored towels, rugs, and accessories.   

A good color palette ties the rooms of a home together. A home with disparate colors in each room breaks up the flow of a house. This doesn’t mean all of your rooms have to be the same color; they simply should relate from room to room to maintain continuity. The walls can be different colors, but carry a theme through accessories, rugs, and furnishings throughout the house to keep the home unified. The effect makes your home appear larger, cohesive, and graceful.

Don’t forget that a room is a cube: it has four walls, a ceiling, and floor. Color selection should consider all six planes.

Choosing a Color Scheme: There’s a science in color selection used in conjunction with a Color Wheel, but the heck with science, let’s discuss what you like and the colors you would be happy with.

First, decide how you want the room to function, and what basic furnishings you plan to use in your room: furniture, lighting fixtures, and rugs. Accessories can be addressed later.

Second, determine how you want the room to feel. Bedrooms should be calm and serene. Dining rooms can be formal, simple or dramatic. Living rooms can be contemporary, traditional, or eclectic.

If you don’t have a natural focal point like a fireplace, create one. This could be wall color, a beautiful piece of art, a magnificent chandelier, window (if you have a great view), or an antique piece of furniture. A bold color like red might be great for a library or dining room, but too much for a bedroom. It might be more appropriate to use colors you love as great accents for a pop of color in pillows, throws and accessories.     

Consider wallpaper instead of or as a complement to paint. A more conservative approach is to paper one or two walls, and painting the remaining depending upon the architecture.

Ceilings should rarely be left white: at least use a small amount of the wall color in the ceiling paint. Ceilings with a touch of color make a room look larger, and adds cohesiveness and intimacy. In my office, I painted my walls a soft silvery gray, I went dramatic by papering the ceilings in a silver metallic paper, and added a silk silver/gray area rug I brought back from china. Highlighted by a silver floor lamp, and a harlequin lamp with crystals, creates a very dramatic yet comfortable office where I can meet with clients. My gray/ivory striped sleep sofa accommodates overnight guests, tones down formality, and with a wall of window and fabulous views, makes it my favorite room in my apartment. In a dining room, try the metallic treatment on the ceiling. It reflects the glow of a chandelier, candles, and other lighting. Speaking of candles, they can never be overdone!

More photos and ideas are available on my website


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