It might seem like overkill, but really planning out the look of a new apartment will make a significant impact on how it feels to be inside your home. A good first step in figuring out what looks good at home is thinking about things you know don’t work. Clashing colors and unplanned design can make your house feel like a flea market. But if you’re still feeling stumped, read this guide and help make your house a home by creating a beautiful, coherent color design.
Start with what you have
Unless you’re starting from scratch, it will be hard to choose an apartment color scheme without reviewing the colors of any furniture or rugs you already own. The furniture you own is just as important for your color scheme as the walls or carpet – and a bad call could create an unsavory clash you have to look at every time you walk through the door. Of course, the most vital aspect of your motif is you. The clothes you like to wear and the tones that complement you are an important consideration before you commit to any new color scheme. After all, if it doesn’t look like you belong in your home, you might as well be designing someone else’s living space.
Draw inspiration from nature
If the forest is your ideal getaway, give your home those tones. If you prefer to relax at the beach, go for colors of sand, sky, and ocean. You want to feel peace and happiness in your home, and natural color schemes are a simple way to find the core inspiration for your theme. But you don’t want to go overboard. Subtlety is key, and this is your home, not the great outdoors. Two or three colors are plenty, and just because something would look great in the forest doesn’t mean it will work in your house.
Use the color wheel
The color wheel is a painter’s best friend, but it’s just as essential for planning your clothes and make-up as well as your interior design. The color wheel’s 12 colors are arranged so that analogous colors are right next to each other, and complementary colors sit opposite each other. But you’ll need to do more than simply choose colors that are “close enough” to their counterparts. Using too many different kinds of tones, shades, or tints can stress your brain out, so try to stick to similar schemes with your colors to avoid oversaturation. Clashing undertones can ruin the look of otherwise complementary colors, so plan accordingly.
Use the right ratio
All art forms have guiding principles, and unless you’re an expert in the field, breaking the rules can backfire on you. The 60:30:10 guideline is a color design rule that helps you avoid a busy, stressful color mess. You can lean back into the color wheel here to help make your choice—choose one color for your dominant shade and use it in nearly two-thirds of your space. For your secondary color, choose an analogous color, and for your accent color, choose the complementary color opposite of your primary color. That will give your color scheme balance and let your accents pop. Of course, if you want more subtle accents, you can choose three adjacent colors on the color wheel.
You can have too much of a good thing
If your favorite color happens to be a loud pink, choose it as the accent color. You want your dominant color to be flexible to whatever mood you might be in, so you don’t find yourself wanting to rip the paint off your walls when you’re in a crummy mood. If three colors feels too limiting, you can add in a little more, but stick with five at the most. You want your color scheme to speak for itself, but disappear in the background, so you or your company aren’t caught staring at the walls between conversation. You can play it safe and stick with neutral tones, but be sure you’ve found hues that make you happy to be home.
Don’t rush it
Take some time to think about your color design before you get started. Ideally, your color scheme will carry throughout the house. Even so, you can play with how you use it from room to room, perhaps switching out the dominant color from one room to another, to build different feelings within a consistent theme. Remember – this doesn’t all have to happen overnight. You can develop your scheme gradually and watch how it steadily improves the look and feel of your home. As your budget allows, you can update your furniture and decor to better match. Building a delightful color scheme doesn’t take design genius – just a little perseverance and forethought. Good with color? Check out our other interior design tips.