10 Best Tips for Choosing and Using Color in Your Home


choosing and using color in your homeWant to liven up a dull room with color but not sure where to start? Use these helpful tips to learn how to choose and use color to add interest to any room.

Color creates moods -- think of a serene aqua bathroom, a cheery yellow breakfast nook, or a kid's room done in energetic primary hues.

Optimistic colors are guaranteed to brighten your mood!

#1. Test Paint Colors

Always remember to test out paint colors before diving in headfirst. Paint large sample swatches by the window, next to trim, in the darkest corner, in the lightest corner. Let them dry, and give them a second coat so you can accurately assess the color.

#2. Experiment with Hues

With a few chips you love in hand, make your way to less-saturated chips. You'll likely find that a muted version -- one that looks almost too muted on a chip -- will work best.

#3. Get Inspired

Take the time to curate your color palette. Collect magazine pages, brochures, post cards -- anything with a color combination that intrigues you. Gather home-related items that catch your eye, such as fabric and wallpaper swatches, flooring samples, and paint chips, or even non-home items, such as natural finds. Take snapshots of things that inspire you. Edit and add to your inspiration board as you work through the decorating process.

#4. Set the Mood

Decide what mood you want the room to embody. Different colors, tones, and saturations will naturally lend themselves to a certain persona. For example, if green is your hue of choice, a soft sage will project serenity and calm, while a seafoam shade will give the room a relaxed, cottage feel. A dark olive green will imbue a classic, reserved look; conversely, a zingy apple green will project trendy vibrancy.

#5. Neutrals: Mix It Up

Neutrals get more exciting when you mix textures and materials. Contrast adds spice to a potentially boring color palette.

#6. Gather Inspiration

Many people look to their closets for inspiration, but here's a better idea: Raid your accessories.

Your handbags, belts, and jewelry are bound to contain more colors that excite you.

#7. Lighten Up

To translate a feel-good color into one that looks good on the wall, ask at the paint store about the color's light reflectance value (LRV). "The higher the LRV, the more light will bounce around the room. The lower the LRV, the more the color will absorb light, which will make the room seem moody.

#8. Myth Busting

People are nervous to put dark colors in small rooms. But they don't make the room seem smaller, they just make them darker. Use mercury glass and mirrored lamps to make the room less cavelike.

#9. Spread Color

When you're spreading color around a room, think about proportion. If you're using three colors, try a 70/20/10 distribution: Use the lightest color for 70 percent of the room's decor, the second lightest for 20 percent, and the boldest for 10 percent. For two colors, go with 70/30.

#10. Look Beyond Chips

Pick colors using objects as your guide -- an old celadon teapot, the burnt sienna in a paisley fabric, a blade of grass. It's so much more lively than paint chips. I always, always, always start with a thing.

There are many ways to bring vibrant color into your home.

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Click here to check out Part 2 in this blog post series about how to choose and use color in your home.

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