Friday, September 2

What’s With Color? The Short Version.

Color is the most important component in decorating a room, so it is best to begin with a color scheme in mind to help eliminate costly mistakes. An easy way to choose a color scheme is to begin with an inspirational piece such as fabrics, a painting or accessories, then design the room around it. Once you've found your inspiration, pick at least three colors for the room and decide which one you'd like to be the dominant color. A good rule of thumb is to use the dominant color in 60 percent of the room, usually large areas such as walls and upholstery. Next, use a second color in approximately 30 percent of the room for areas like window treatments, rugs, accent chairs and ottomans. The third color is the accent color, usually a contrasting color, and should be used in about 10 percent of the room on accessories, such as lamps, pillows, throws and candles, etc.

Keep in mind, color can make a room feel warmer or cooler and evoke a variety of moods. Warm colors (reds, yellows and oranges) are often associated with the sun. They demand attention, make rooms look smaller and less restful and can warm up a dark, cold space. Red is generally associated with passion, comfort and wealth. Red works well in dining and family rooms, matching nicely with green, gray and blue. Orange is an informal, comfortable and energetic color that fits well in family rooms. This color works well with violet and light blue, but too much orange can cause irritation and tension. Yellow is the most reflective, happy and energetic color that can awaken and revive an old room. Yellow works well as an accent color for violet, blue and green. Yellow is a frequent choice in kitchens and powder rooms.

Cool colors (blues, greens and violets) are often associated with the sea, sky and ice. These calming colors make a room appear larger and quieter, and can cool down bright, warm spaces. Blue is a relaxing, harmonious color that is good for family rooms, living rooms and bedrooms. It works well with yellow, tan and orange. Green is likened to nature, because it's seen as refreshing and soothing. Green is an easy color to live with in family rooms, bedrooms and dens. It also works well with most colors, including brown and beige. Violet symbolizes royalty and sophistication. It can be used in dinning rooms, dens and bedrooms, and works well with blue, pink, yellow, and green.

Color can also visually change the dimensions of the room. Darker colors tend to absorb light and make a room appear smaller and cozier. Lighter tints will reflect light and open up the space, making a room appear larger.

Chair Plant                   Whole Room1 for blog

The upholstered chair and ottoman are the inspiration for the room. The burgundy wall represents 60% and mustard yellow 30% usage for the color in the room. The green in the topiaries, paintings, and accessories are examples of 10% usage for the color in the room. The throw, table covers, and window treatments have all three colors to help unify the space.



  1. Excellent post, Pam. I love color, and I am tired of the beige that has plagued our walls and floors since we bought our house. We are slowly renovating, one room at a time. We recently finished our kitchen and library, and adding color has been an exciting adventure so far. I look forward to following your blog. Your suggestions will surely help me on my quest to banish the beige.

  2. Thanks Shana for the encouraging words. I love color too! It can change a room in so many different ways. Keep me posted on your remodels and let me know if you have any questions. I would love to see pictures of your kitchen, library and all the other rooms you redo. Feel free to share my blog with others who need help decorating.