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Choosing Interior Colors for Your Rooms

Questions to Ask Before Deciding on an Interior Color Scheme

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Choosing Interior Colors for Your Rooms
Photo © Mats Tooming/Dreamstime.com

Many homeowners are afraid of choosing interior colors for their rooms, but since color is one of the easiest things to correct, no one should be afraid to try a bit of color. After all, it only takes $30 and one weekend to correct a wall color mistake.

Choosing interior colors for your rooms doesn’t have to be scary. These questions and decorating tips will help you choose colors and create an interior color scheme with confidence.

Before you begin, ask yourself these questions.

1) What is the purpose of the space?
The first thing to do is to decide what the room or space is to be used for. Before you select any color, remember that whatever colors you choose will set the tone or mood of the room. For example, busy room like a family room can often handle a bolder color scheme, and needless to say, a room that will be inhabited by children doesn’t work well with colors that will easily show dirt.

2) What is the lighting in the space?
Brighter rooms can often handle darker colors better, and a light color scheme can visually brighten a dark room. If you are partial to dark colors but you have a small space, it’s inexpensive to add more lighting to complement your space and color scheme.

3) What is the scale of the room?
Small rooms look larger with a neutral or light color palette, but larger rooms can usually handle larger amounts of color. Also, rooms with high ceilings may feel cold with a neutral or pale color scheme. A split color scheme can be used to visually “break” a long, narrow room, while painting the walls, moldings and ceiling all one color can visually lengthen a small space.

4) What furnishings and decor do I already own?
Most DIY decorators paint first and ask questions later. This is completely opposite of how the pros go about decorating a room. It is much easier to choose a color scheme based on existing furniture and decor instead of painting first and then trying to make everything else match the paint.

5) What is the focal point in the space?
It’s extremely important that your color scheme compliment the existing flow of your space. If you don’t have a focal point in your room, establish this first. Color can be used to create a focal point, so if this is part of your plan, consider this as you choose your colors.

6) Do the colors I'm considering clash with adjoining spaces?
Before you charge ahead with a color scheme, consider the rest of your home. If you can see a room or a connecting area from the space you are decorating, it is considered part of the "decor" so this space should coordinate with it. Not that everything in your home has to be matchy-matchy, but there should be a nice flow between rooms and spaces.

7) How do certain colors make me feel?
I saved the most important question for last, because regardless of how much your room begs for bold color, if you are introverted and feel overwhelmed in rooms with a lot of pattern and color, you should not go with a lot of bright colors and big prints in your home. If your personality is as big as the moon, you may quickly get bored with a color palette full of soft pastels, no matter how small or quaint your studio apartment is.

However, that doesn’t mean that you must have a boring room to complement your quiet and reserved personality. (Quiet and reserved personalities are definitely not boring! I should know since I married one of those.) Softer personalities do tend to thrive in softer color palettes with smaller prints, and vise versa.

As you choose your color scheme, don’t neglect to consider your personality and design style.

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