Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Coming Through With Flying Colors

Did you know that the first thing that hits you when you walk into a room is its color?

Before anything else is able to register in your head about a room, your brain reads the color. The most dominant color is what you will see first. The way the color is read by the brain instantly creates a mood. The psychology of color, albeit subtle, is very important to how you feel within a space or environment, which is why we use colors from nature because they create a calming, nurturing atmosphere.

Creating a color scheme is one of the first things you are going to do for your design.

You'll need to know what colors you'll be using before you pick out flooring and other surfaces within your new place. You'll need to be able to make those choices based on a complete picture of what hues you will be fitting into that space. If, for instance, when you get to the accessories layer and you decide the tile on the fireplace surround would look better if it matched one of the colors in your new rug, you can still make that choice, because you are still in the planning stages of your design.

Thinking ahead and having a solid plan from the get-go is essential!

Creating a color scheme ahead of time allows you to come up with a design that is creative, cohesive, and beautiful. It will also allow you to make creative and bold choices. This is one of the key ways designers create such beautiful spaces.

I am going to show you that by choosing your products and having all of your plans in place before you do anything else is how you achieve a better, well-designed home for your family.

How To Start

There are two ways I like to begin planning. I either start with looking at paint colors or fabric. If, for instance, I know that the window treatments are going to be a big part of the plan, then I start with the fabric. I will put several fabrics together to create a nice well-rounded color scheme and to generate some ideas. And then I can choose my paint colors based on those choices.

One of the nice things about the kind of fabric that is created for home décor is that the manufacturers create “colorways” for you. This means that they have a wide variety of fabrics to choose from within a specific color range that is formulated to go together. They all have the same tone so that they don’t clash, and they make you look like a pro. It's a very useful way to put a color scheme together since it takes some of the guesswork out of it.

Most of the time, the furniture showroom will have a room with hundreds of samples of designer fabrics. Feel free to wander in and view the world of colors and textures! I encourage you to check them out (like a library book) so that you can take them home and look at them with your other furnishings and lighting.

Another way I begin this process is by looking at paint colors. Again the manufacturer has done some of the science of creating colorways for you. Let me explain.

When you're at the paint store standing in front of the vast wall of colors, like this one at Sherwin Williams, you'll notice as you look from left to right, that you will see the full range of hues. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens and so on. As you look from top to bottom, you will see that they move from bright, vibrant colors to muted, shaded colors. Find the tone that appeals to you and selects most of your colors within that tone. This is a tool that you can use to create a color palette that is well blended and full of variety.

I have to confess, one of the hardest things for me when choosing a complete palette is combining warm and cool colors together. Even as a designer who has an eye for color, it is still sometimes difficult to create a well-rounded color scheme. This is why I like using this technique, it can be very helpful.

What To Include

Creating a color palette means more than picking out your wall and floor colors. You'll want to think about adding warmth by using a variety of textures too.  You'll need to pick out a multitude of materials: wood, metal, tile, stone, fabric, wallpaper, and paint this will allow you to excite the senses with these textures. Warmth is created mostly by adding texture, namely a verity of texture.

While Creating A Mood, Consider...


If, for instance, you're fixing up a beach house in California, you might choose a combination of sea glass greens and blues and yellows with tans and whites. If your beach house is in Mexico, you might choose a palette with bright reds and oranges, along with turquoise, brown, and a touch of black (think Mexican pottery). And if you're in Bali, you'll probably be surrounded by wood tones and lots of white fabric with pops of vibrant colors.


As you might imagine, this is one of those things that's hard to put into rules, because everyone is different. One thing I can say is that you have to be true to your personality. If you like big, bold colors there are ways to incorporate them into your design plan without being garish and overpowering to everyone who visits. It’s about balance and good taste.

My best friend loves bright colors. Peacock teal, turquoise, and bright fuchsia. In a nutshell, she likes jewel tones. Whenever she asks me for advice on painting something, what she really wants to know is “Can I paint it teal?” I very gently look at her and tell her if she really wants to she can but… NO! You can’t paint everything teal. Why? If you want what you have to stand out and be noticed then everything can't all be the same color. She always gives me those sad puppy eyes (that I love so much) and asks for my advice.

You can have your personality shine within your design, absolutely, but do it in a way that is going to be pleasing to everyone for years to come. It's an investment. Additionally, don’t forget that most of the time the things that bring out your personality the most, will be added to your last layer.

Accessories! Adding accessories is the fun part, but it is the last layer. That is when you'll add your collections and art, throw pillows and rugs, and all those things that add pops of color and personality into your space. These are the things that can also be quickly changed as the mood or season strikes.

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