We all have seen pictures with a beautiful painting in a room and the wall paint highlights the pink in it and scatter cushions bring out the blue – or vice versa. The end result looks elegant and curated. And quite the opposite of our
dull old living rooms, right?
How can you, my dear reader, achieve the same?
Photo: Justin Coit for My Domaine
There’s two approaches to solve the issue (not mutually exclusive):
If you’re decorating your rooms, this is not what you should do:
Unless you’re doing black and white, the chances that it all goes perfectly together are fairly slim.
Why should you not do it that way? First of all, let’s assume your best friend’s lounge faces West and yours to South. You would get completely different kind of light in the room and her paint colour might make your room look cold or odd – different anyway. Also, your floor materials might not go with the hue she chose. Paints should be selected for a certain space with its unique lighting conditions.
And secondly: the result will be better if you do it the other way round. Choose the focal point first before you start painting the walls. The wall paint colour is left to last because there are more options to choose from. It’s easier to find a wall paint colour to match a painting or to upholster furniture in a selected fabric colour, than to find a painting with a certain colour scheme.
First you choose your focal point, the item that you want to use as the basis of the colour scheme. It could be a nice rug, or it could be a piece of art as in the picture above. Or, it could be the wallpaper, like in the picture below.
Then, you pick your colour(s) from the focal point, accentuate it with other colours and use them in the room. See, like here:
Photo: Style by Emily Henderson
There are many ways to match a colour of a painting: the old-fashioned way requires a trip to the hardware or fabric store: just pick all the blue paint chips and/or fabric samples you can carry and compare them to the painting. The plus: you can get a more accurate match (if you’re lucky). Definitely you will get a good overall view on how the colour samples go with the painting. The minus: you might need to pick up a *lot* of samples to find the exact colour and the painting would have a gazillion different shades and tints to match anyway.
The modern method to match a colour uses a software to do the same. Most paint companies do their version of the same software. The plus: you can do it at home. The minus: the results depends on the accuracy of the photograph of your art piece and the screen distorts colours anyway. And each pixel might have a different tone. You would need to double-check the results with the paint sample before using them.
Photo: Design Seeds
A good explanation of the colour wheel, primary/secondary colours, tints, tones and shades is for example here.
A short version if you wish: hue is the pure colour, tone is the colour mixed with grey, shade is the colour mixed with black to make it darker and tint is the colour mixed with white to make it lighter.
Picture: modified from here
Once you have picked your colours from the focal point or colour wheel use them to choose colours for furniture and accessories in your room. Generally the rule 60-30-10 is recommended: the main colour is used in 60% of the space, the complimentary colour is used in 30% of the space and the little accent colour is used just scattered here and there to bring in some interest.
You could for example use neutral colours for furniture and walls, the main colour 1 for rug and curtains and colours 2 and 3 for cushions.
Or, use the colour 1 for walls, colour 2 for rug, curtains and cushions and colour 3 for more cushions and accessories.
For example in the picture below the main colour is blue-green, as in the sofa, painting, books and rug. The second colour is yellow, which appears in the painting, cushions and rug. The third colour is pink, which is used in just small splashes in the art work and books / accessories.
Photo: Little Big Bell
Colours can have a big impact on your mood so choose well. Here is a very thorough explanation of colour psychology from brands and marketing perspective but it applies to decor too. Take advantage of the colour psychology and you can easily create different schemes for different seasons by just small changes.
Contact me if you’d like any help with your colours!
Have a lovely day!