Good colour combinations can really make or break your design ideas. The great news is that choosing the perfect colour schemes for your rooms is much easier than you think!
If you’re stuck on how to choose a colour scheme, you join a long line of home decorators with the very same headache. Having so many choices quickly leads to the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start, let alone how to achieve a dream design. While it’s true that good colour combinations play the starring role in successful results, that doesn’t mean the process to find the best has to be hard or complicated. All you need to do is break it down and remember that age-old saying, ‘simple is best’.
Choose colours to match the mood
In this case, ‘simple’ means choosing room colour schemes that suit the mood you’d like to enhance throughout your home, first and foremost. There’s no point in copying interior design trends or aiming for a perfect showroom look if you’re not going to thoroughly enjoy your own environment, each and every day. The feeling you wish to create may change from room to room, however, this is easily balanced with the use of neutrals and complementary colours to create a cohesive appeal.
So, let’s start at the very beginning and choose colours to create a mood. As a basic rule, warm colours such as red, yellow and orange encourage energy, cheerfulness and social activity. Cool colours, like green, blue and violet, enhance relaxation and create a peaceful atmosphere for sleeping, reading and slipping into calm serenity. The fresh appeal of white helps to foster clarity of mind, while brown, beige and black offer earthy, grounded qualities.
All you need to do is consider which mood you’d like each room to evoke and base your room colour schemes on that, to successfully narrow down the options.
Take inspiration from fixtures
Next up, it’s time to look at the most prominent fixtures in your home, in order to work with them. For example, do you have patterned upholstery, a large rug or artwork you love? Once you’ve decided on the right mood, pluck colours from your fixtures to further narrow down your colour choices. For example, does a rug emphasise an off-white tone that might also suit your walls? Could you highlight a dominant shade in a painting with a feature wall in a complementary tone?
As an easy rule of thumb, good colour combinations can resemble nature, in that the ground is usually darker than the sky. Therefore, if you already have dark floors, aim for lighter colours as the eye travels up. A good example of this would be dark wooden floorboards with a medium-intensity colour for the walls and a light neutral for the ceiling. This works whether you choose warm or cool colours for a paint palette. Think refreshing Kiwi Crush for walls with Moon Shimmer on the ceiling, or Pretty Pink combined with Cream Tea.
Be brave and bold
When you’re pondering how to choose a colour scheme, don’t be scared to branch out with the bold shades that make you happy. You’re allowed to! The key is to use the colour wheel as your guide, in order to choose shades that suit the mood you’re going for while working together. As an example, blue and green sit next to each other on the colour wheel and tend to enhance a casual, relaxed mood, even when you use bold shades. Complementary colours, like blue and orange, sit opposite each other on the colour wheel and combine to create a fantastic impact. When you use a deep colour from one spectrum and a lighter hue from another, contrasting colours also offer a striking look.
To play it safe with bold colours, limit your palette to three. Aim to use neutral shades as the dominant backdrop, cover about 30 percent of the room in a vibrant secondary colour and use one or two eye-catching shades as accents. In a living room, this might look like white window treatments and ceilings with a grey sofa, a bold blue feature wall and pops of bright orange and green for accessories. Just remember that bold colours work best when they have other hues to play off, in order to avoid an overwhelming look.
Balance with neutrals
Neutrals don’t have to be boring and using them effectively is one of the easiest ways to create a harmonious design throughout your home. In fact, neutrals themselves create stunning contrasts, as bright colours make an impact on neutral backdrops. Many neutrals have the capability of appearing both warm and cool, depending on what they’re paired with, which also makes them a breeze to work with!
Consider a grey, like Natural Slate. Combined with a relaxing deep blue, like Lost Lake, it creates the feeling of a tranquil sanctuary. However, blend it with pops of Honey Mustard and the outcome is instant warmth and energy. Cool neutral colours look great with splashes of warm colour, and vice versa, to create contrast. However, if you’re blending a range of neutrals, it often works best to stick to either cool or warm tones.
Bring your home colour combination to life
Still confused? You’ll be happy to know there’s a tool to help you decide how to choose your colour scheme. Dulux’s free Visualizer App brings your home colour combinations to life, using augmented reality. Simply take a picture or video of your room, choose from all your favourite shades and tap them to instantly see what they’ll look like on your walls.
This way, it’s easy to test all those wild, wacky and wonderful ideas before you take the plunge. Chances are, if your choices make you happy, you’re well on your way to achieving good colour combinations.