7 Ways to Use Color With Confidence

I don’t know how you feel about this, but I love color!!!  I love looking at color, wearing color, and using it in my home.  Have you ever noticed that your color preferences change with the seasons or the mood you’re in?  I’ve discovered that certain colors can lift my spirits when I’m down, and ground me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and scattered.  In the winter there are colors that I love to be surrounded with (usually warm, cozy colors), but when the hot Georgia summers arrive, those same colors no longer feel right.

So how do you choose colors that work great in your home?  Colors that feel right for you and your family.  Colors that let your personality shine through.  I’ve put together some tips that I use when I want to select colors with confidence.  I hope you find them helpful!

Observe how colors are combined in nature.  I learned this little tip in a quilt workshop that I attended several years ago.  The instructor showed us slides of reptiles, bugs, exotic animals, birds, etc.  Some were beautiful, some were disgusting, but looking closely at the combinations of colors was fascinating, and a wonderful learning experience!  So…picture a blue sky against a turquoise sea next to a sandy beach.  Take a nature walk and notice the color combinations of insects, animals, flowers, trees.  Look at your surroundings as if you were a painter.  Visualize the colors in your home.

Study rooms in home decorating magazines. As you go through the magazines, look at the room design from a different perspective.  Instead of simply thinking “I love this room” or “I hate this room”, look at each room for the colors used.  How does it make you feel?  Does your heart sing when you see the colors?  Do they make you feel closed in, agitated, nervous, excited?  When a color combination really speaks to you, that would be a good place to start in planning your room.

Be mindful of how a color makes you feel. I know that I keep going back to this point.  But, to me, it’s the most important thing in selecting colors for anything… your home or a new outfit.  If it doesn’t make you feel happy or joyful, comfortable or cozy, think twice before using it.  Colors resonate differently with each person.  I am not a fuschia or ochre person.  When I see them, I want to shake them away!  But I attended a coffee last week where two women were each wearing fuschia blouses, and they kept talking about how much they love that color.  So no matter what the “hot” color of the moment is, if you feel uncomfortable with it, you should never use it.

Less is more! Be cautious of using too much color in your home.  Usually, one main color with 2-3 accent colors is a good place to begin.  Make sure that the colors flow throughout your house.  It doesn’t have to be the same exact shade everywhere.  Variations are good too.  Remember that the amount of color you use needs to fit your personality.  I’ve had a few clients that insisted on painting a different bright color in every room when we started.  Once we narrowed it down to 3 or 4 colors the design flowed much better.  By using small amounts of the colors in each room, we created unity.

Collect paint chips. Once you have an idea of color combinations you might like to work with, visit a paint store.  Pull several colors and play around with combining them.  Think about everything for the project, not just the walls.  Will there be window treatments, cabinets, custom bedding?  Find paint chips to represent the colors that you might want to use.  Better yet…add some fabric swatches!

Posterboard is your friend! When I’m choosing a new paint color for a project, I always recommend painting a large piece of posterboard.  Having a large painted area really helps in my decision-making.  Another great benefit is that you can move it around the space to see how the lighting affects it.  Some colors look totally different in light and shadows!

Be happy with your choice! Remember that pillows can be changed and walls can be repainted.