How to Create a Whole Home Color Palette
You know those “Ah-ha” moments that just grab you and leave you reeling? I had one of those recently as I scrolled through photos of gorgeous homes, sighing for despair at how my own home looks in comparison. What is it that makes those designer home so pleasing to look at? Have you wondered at the same thing? It’s the color! It would seem that real designers understand that the way to create a cohesive and pleasant look in a home is by using one color palette for the entire home, thus uniting the design and creating flow throughout the rooms. That’s the key I had never quite been able to grasp.
I stumbled upon a beautiful blog: the Tiny Sidekick that lays out a wonderful guide on how to create a whole home color palette that was very helpful as I pulled together mine. I used a slightly different method than she, but kept a lot of her tips in mind.
Some of those tips include:
- Pick colors that you already love: it’s your home. Pick what looks beautiful to you because you are the one living in it.
- What colors are you stuck with? She used the examples of flooring, countertops, and furniture which are expensive to replace. Pay attention to the undertones of these permanent pieces.
- Think of what you want the space to feel like. Is it going to be calm? fun? a space for relaxing? or a space for high energy? Color can evoke all those feelings, so be sure to consider this.
Keeping these tips in mind go to this Pinterest page and start exploring color. Without hesitating, pin whatever palettes you react to positively within the first second of seeing it. That first instinct will reveal a lot about what you are subconsciously drawn to, so I’m serious when I say don’t hesitate. We can analyze these more closely later. I’ll wait till you’ve collected quite a few.
Ok, now look over what you’ve gathered. Is there a trend? Did you pick tons of bright colors, or did you stick to just a few? Are there more neutrals? more brights? darker tones? Here is a look at how mine turned out:
The trend I’m seeing is pastels….a lot of pink and orange accents contrasting with blue tones, and tons of neutrals. How did yours turn out?
Now that we know what our gut instincts would choose it’s time to narrow things down. If you are a lover of color like I am, this might be hard, but remember how beautiful and cohesive your home will look when everything flows. Look for stragglers on your Pinterest page. Are there some that you picked that don’t really match the majority. These may be beautiful at first glance, but not what you want to fill your house with if you didn’t even fill your board with them. I could only find one that I didn’t feel worked with the rest: the starfish one.
Let’s analyze a little further. Is there a quality that splits your color palettes in half? or at least close to half? Maybe you picked some monochromatic palettes and some with more accents? Maybe bright colors and neutral colors? Whatever that split is, take note of it and decide which half you prefer. I saw in mine that some palettes had a high contrast in accent colors, and some were much more subtle. The high contrasting ones I circled in red.
Eliminate one of the halves.
Now my board looks more like this. While I loved the safer, subtle palettes, they didn’t excite me like the more colorful ones did.
Look again at the palettes you have left and consider the guidelines above. Are there colors in your home that you are already stuck with that would not work with some of the palettes. Eliminate those palettes. How about feeling? Did you pin some cool blues and grays when you would really rather have a warm home. Are there some that you initially really liked, but your second and third impression is not as positive?
Narrow your palettes down to one. That’s right. It’s time to settle on one color palette. Here is the one I picked:
Pretty, right? Well, we aren’t quite done yet. No matter what colors you choose, you’ll still need to make sure you have a white and a neutral which your palette may or may not include. When picking these keep in mind the undertones and general feel of the palette you picked. You would be amazed at how many shades of white there are. The reason you are picking these is for your walls, bigger pieces of furniture, trim, ceilings, etc. The things you wouldn’t necessarily want to be as colorful as can be.
The final step to creating a color palette for your entire home is translating what you’ve done on your computer or phone into real tangible color. Go to the hardware store and try to match paint samples as closely as you can to what's on your computer. Once you are satisfied, punch a hole at the top of the cards and slide them onto a ring to save.
This gives you a way to see the colors in real life and under different lighting and allows you to carry it with you when you are shopping for decorations. Remember to use the colors in different ways throughout your home to create interest. For example, you can use a neutral on the wall in your living room and have the accessories be accented colors, while your bathroom is painted brightly with those accent colors on the walls and neutral decor. It will still flow from room to room without being repetitive.
There always was something that wasn’t quite working for the decor in my home. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I realize that none of the colors matched from room to room. There wasn’t any unity or flow. Professional designers know that if you create a color palette for your entire home you will achieve the “Wow Factor”. I hope you have found this guide to be helpful. Be sure to stop by the Tiny Sidekick for her tips as they were great for me to follow. Happy decorating!