How to Design an Interior Colour Scheme

Creating an interior colour scheme from scratch is not an easy task!  The keys are inspiration and planning.

Contrary to what most people think (and do), paint colours should not be the first thing to choose when planning your interior colour scheme.  The right paint colour has an amazing way of pulling everything together and completing the story―or, for that matter, making everything look disjointed when it’s wrong.  So let’s go through the steps that you should take in creating an interior colour scheme.

1.  Finding Colour Inspiration

Discover what inspires you and create a “mood board.” Start collecting visuals of colour combos that you are drawn to, photos of furniture you love, style vignettes from fashion magazines―anything that captures your attention and conveys the mood you want your space to convey.  Paste these in a scrap book or capture them using Pinterest.  Another option is OlioBoard.  It doesn’t have to look like a professional design board.  The important part of this step is to see everything together so you can start to find a theme to guide you.

2. Recognize Your Style

warm and enveloping or cool and refreshing

Cool and Refreshing vs. Warm and Enveloping

Your inspiration board should help you recognize the style you want in your space.  Are you cool and refreshing like nimbus gray 2131-50 (left) or warm and enveloping like farm fresh AF-360 (right)?  A general palette can help you to start committing to purchases of your big ticket items, such as flooring, cabinets or countertops. If possible, get samples of all these elements before you buy and lay them out in a similar fashion to the inspiration board.  (Tip: you can always use fabrics and paint colours later to really personalize each space!)

3. Select your decorative items, like drapes or upholstery

This is where you might want to be a little more adventurous in your interior colour scheme.  You may not have the budget or the desire to change your flooring every five years. But you can change the more decorative items like rugs, drapes, and pillows more often without a lot of disruption, so have some fun!

4. Complete the story with the addition of paint colour

It’s always a good idea to have a floor plan when it’s finally time to choose the paint colours for your walls and trim. You can overlay your colour options on the floor plan to see how one colour relates to the next.  Compare your colour choices to your finishes board to ensure the colours coordinate.  Add accent colours where appropriate, and don’t be afraid to use a strong colour on all four walls of a room if it works with your plan. Add various shades of one neutral for interest.   Don’t forget about ceilings―they can be a great place to add harmonizing colour!

Happy Painting!

~Sharon

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