Wednesday, February 26, 2014

5 Tips to Develop a Color Scheme

Color schemes are a crucial aspect to interior design and decorating, I also find it to be a rather stressful set of decisions for many homeowners. Which is understandable, it can be overwhelming stepping into the local hardware store, starring at walls filled with color swatches trying to imagine what each cleverly named paper sample will look best in the living room. When creating a color plan it is necessary to get organized and following guidelines can aide in making esteemed decisions.

Recently, one of my most loyal clients needed me to create a color scheme and design plan for their recently purchased NJ home. With the closing date quickly approaching and pressure building to get the move in scheduled, I had to design their color scheme remotely using the home's listing pictures and gathering as much information during my design consult as possible.

I utilized my guidelines to create a concrete color scheme that best expressed their individual style.

1: Establish a Theme

My first question was what style did they envision in their "spacious colonial?" Since they felt a farmhouse theme best suited their taste best I got together some pictures to make sure we were on the same page.

Pictures ALWAYS help for design inspiration they don't have to be exact but it helps determine the overall design goals. 

2: Consider the Existing Color Scheme 

Next, I had to determine what factors would impact their color scheme, an empty house is not necessarily a blank slate. Aspects like trim color, flooring, cabinetry, and carpentry are important when picking colors.

TRIM COLOR - so important. Wood trim vs. white trim. The same color beige or brown that you find on Farrow and Ball won't look the same against wood trim that it does white. 

White trim

Wood trim

Other items to consider; Kitchen what color are the cabinets and countertops? What kind of flooring do you have? Carpet, hardwood, tile? And what kind of furniture do you plan on keeping?
All of these factors contribute to the overall color scheme and are important to keep in mind when picking paint colors.

3: Color Theories 

There are so many great articles that explain what the benefits of color are, we all know that greens and blues are soothing and yellow tones are energizing.
(A lot of these color theories are beneficial, like this Psychology of Color.)

But - I've been asked multiple times, well its my bedroom so I have to go with a blue or green right? You are the one that has to live with the colors - if you find a great sage green for your bedroom that you love perfect! But don't paint the home office Buttercup yellow expecting it to make you more productive.

Which one would you get more work done in?
Hot mess with an energizing yellow
Clean (organized) lines with grey and blue accents

4. Neutrals don't have to be boring. 

It is perfectly ok to utilize the benefits of neutrals grey, beige, "greige", and even white. I love working with a great neutral wall, this lends to so many possibilities for patterns, fabrics, window treatments, furniture, decor items.

Neutral wall coordinates with patterns and colors
Great mix of neutrals and pops of color

Neutral walls are so versatile and make it easier to enhance and update with accents.


5.  Plan then plan again

Planning is by far the most important aspect of design and remodeling. 

(I could go on, but for now I will stress why is it important for color scheme).

A- It establishes clear communication with the painters. No one can get blamed for a color mistake if you both have the same copy of the color by room. Including paint color, brand, color number, and finish. Eliminating room for silly errors, remodels are stressful enough.

B- Future touch ups are easier if you save your color plan. I promise you will never ever remember color names.

Here's a sample of the color scheme proposals I put together for my clients. Categorized by the room with all the specs listed, make sure to include the paint finish. The color name is great for reference but always include the number as well.

Of course the right design professional is the perfect key for a less stressful remodel and an amazing end product. These tips can help get anyone on the right track for an awesome color scheme. 

As always - happy client happy designer!

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