Picture a world
without color - a very drab and depressing place. Now, imagine
that world as it really is - with beautiful colors everywhere.
Much better, right?
Color is the
least expensive way to dramatize, stylize or personalize your
home. It can hide a structural flaw or completely alter an appearance.
Homes that aren't blessed with interesting architectural features
can be transformed into decorative showplaces with the imaginative
use of color.
Because of its
versatility, paint is ideal for introducing color into your home
- it's economical and available in practically limitless
shades. You can paint frequently to update the appearance of
a room, create a mood, suit a season or express a personality.
If you're tired of your color scheme, change it - quickly
and easily with paint!
Selecting a color
scheme for your home with coordinating paint colors is not difficult
if you equip yourself with some basic information about color
and its effects.
Blue Monday, green with envy, in the pink - colors are
often associated with moods and emotions. Colors do affect us
psychologically - a fact that should be considered when
How you respond
to certain colors can be a good guide for deciding how to set
a particular mood in your home. With the help of the color wheel
and these basic color tips your choice may be easier:
- Yellows, oranges
and reds are warm colors. The hues opposite them on the color
wheel - greens, blues and purples - are cool colors.
Consider the temperature of a color if you want to warm up a
room on the shady side of the house or cool off a room with a
- Light colors
such as white and yellow are airy, expansive and cheerful. Use
them in small, dark areas that you want to appear larger and
brighter. Dark colors such as navy blue or brown can create a
cozy, sophisticated feeling in oversized rooms.
Stylize a Room
Aside from being a mood-setting device, color can be used to
stylize any setting. With the right painting techniques you can
accentuate good architectural features and camouflage unattractive
ones, on both the interior and exterior of your home.
These color styling
tricks may help you with your particular decorating demands:
colors emphasize a handsome piece of furniture or a beautiful
art object can be accentuated by placing it against a wall painted
a contrasting color.
- Attractive architectural
features such as molding can be emphasized by painting them a
darker or lighter color than the walls.
- Color can establish
a focal point or create interest where there is none. For instance,
a perfectly square room can be made more interesting by painting
one wall in an accent color.
- Using the same
color or a slightly different shade of the same color will have
a unifying effect. For instance, the exterior of a home made
with different materials (brick and wood) can look pulled together
if one color paint is used on the entire house.
- Color can create
the appearance of heightening or lowering - using information
when dealing with a too-high ceiling or exaggerated roof. A dark
color paint on a high ceiling will make it seem lower. An exaggerated
roof will be minimized with a dark color.
- Color can alter
the proportions of a room. A long, narrow room can be made to
appear wider by painting both shorter walls a darker color than
the longer walls.
a Color Scheme
The process of selecting a color scheme for your home is a personal
matter. There are no strict rules governing the selection of
a color scheme, but there are some harmonious combinations inspired
by the color wheel.
- The monochromatic
color scheme is a popular one today because, by using various
intensities of one color, it lends continuity and spaciousness
to small or crowded spaces. It is one of the simplest schemes
to use, yet it can produce very sophisticated results. Simply
select a color you would love to surround yourself with and use
it in different shades to decorate the room.
- A complementary
color scheme combines colors opposite each other on the color
wheel, such as green and red, or blue and orange. At its best,
the complementary color scheme produces a lively, gay effect.
But color shades should be chosen carefully to avoid a jarring
- By combining
any three colors equal distance apart on the color wheel (or
shades of those colors) a triad color scheme will be the result.
A combination of purple, orange and green may sound outlandish,
but subtle shades of those colors used in varying amounts can
be an attractive scheme. Choose on shade as the predominant color,
another as a secondary color and the third shade as an accent
- An analogous
color scheme uses neighboring colors on the wheel, such as green,
blue-green, and blue, for a particularly harmonious effect. To
avoid a static effect, use more of one color than the other.
Here are some
additional color scheme tips suggested by interior designers:
- The first step
in selecting a color scheme usually is to decide on the main
color to be used in the room. If you don't know which colors
you're happiest living with, glance through your wardrobe. If
you don't see any red, you probably wouldn't like living in a
room decorated in a red color scheme.
- You can get
the inspiration for your color scheme from an Oriental rug or
a favorite painting. Either may suggest a pleasing color combination
and could then help tie together the colors in the room.
- Proportion and
balance are important to any color scheme. After you decide which
color will be dominant, add other colors in unequal amounts.
One guideline is to select the dominant color for use in about
two-thirds of the room and to use the other colors in lessening
- Whether you're
decorating your entire house or merely redoing one room, be sure
to maintain a certain amount of color continuity throughout the
home. Develop an overall plan and then decide how each room will
be integrated into it.
- In some cases,
you may want to make your wall treatment the focal point of the
room. For instance, a dramatic accent wall, stenciling or a supergraphic
might dictate what other patterns and colors can be used in the
- The floor covering
in a room is often the only part of the decor that home redecorators
don't want to change. If that is the case, the floor covering
color must be a consideration when selecting a color scheme.
Whether a room is colorfully carpeted or has hardwood floors
will obviously influence what other materials are selected for
- Remember to
consider the effect texture and pattern will have on your color
scheme. Both can alter how a color looks in a room. For instance,
a sofa covered in a blue silken material will lend a cool, luxurious
feeling to the room, whereas a sofa covered in a nubby textured
material the same blue color will exude warmth and comfort.
- Ideally, you
should coordinate paint colors at the same time you are selecting
your carpeting, upholstery and drapery fabrics. When you make
your initial visit to your paint dealer, take samples of all
materials to be used in the room -- carpet, fabrics, wallcoverings
- Select several
paint chips that you think will work well with your furnishings,
keeping in mind that the color will be much more intense on a
large wall than on a small paint chip.
- When studying
paint chips, be sure to mask other colors on the same paint card.
Otherwise, your eyes will tend to blend them all rather than
see them individually. Take the chips of several possible colors
home and examine them in the room you will be painting -- under
both natural daylight and artificial night lighting. Hold or
prop them up in a vertical position, as they'll appear on the
wall. It is helpful to compare colors in a way that shows an
equal amount of each. Mask off parts of each color with black
paper if necessary.
- If the color
match must be precise, or if you're still unsure about your color
choice, buy the color that seems best in the smallest available
quantity. Brush out several 2 foot x 2 foot samples on the walls
of the room you will be painting. After they've dried, study
the samples in daylight and under artificial lighting, next to
other materials that will be used in the room.
- When you're
sure about your color choice, buy all the paint you will need
for the project at the same time to ensure color consistency.
(Your paint retailer can help you estimate how much you'll need.)
If possible, when finishing one can of paint and starting with
another, begin and end at a corner so that any color differences
will be unnoticeable. One alternative is to ask your paint dealer
to give you all the cans from the same batch. (All cans of paint
have batch numbers.) Or mix the cans of paint in a large pail
before you start.
- If the paint
you select will be used in a room exposed to a good deal of sunlight,
be sure to choose a light- stable brand to prevent fading and
ensure color permanency.
Now picture your
world filled with color. Then make it that way with carefully
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