#1 One of the most important rules would be the rule 60-30-10
What that means? Take a look at some rooms in magazines or in Designers’ Portfolio. You’ll notice that the rooms you like the most are almost invariably divided into percentages of 60-30-10. Probably it is the human tendency to see an overall theme in the 60 percent hue, unifying the coloration. The 30 percent provides visual interest and the 10 percent, not unlike jewelry, provides that little spark of sparkle.
So, when decorating a particular room, divide the colors into percentages:
- 60% of a dominant color
- 30% of a secondary color
- 10% of an accent color
#2 Choose a 2 – Color Scheme
When you are trying to decide on the right color scheme for a room or an entire home, you can simplify the process by using your color wheel and narrowing down your choices to two color schemes. These are the most effective and provide a great place to start.
1. Complementary Color Scheme
Complementary colors are across from each other on the color wheel, such as red and green, blue and yellow, or purple and orange. Rooms decorated with a complementary color scheme tend to provide a clear separation of colors and often are more formal and more visually challenging. Complementary color schemes should be used in the more formal areas of the home — for example, the living room or dining room.
2. Analogous Color Scheme
Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel, such as yellow and green, blue and violet, or red and orange.
Rooms using an analogous color scheme typically are more causal, restful and muted in terms of coloration. This color scheme is best used in the more informal areas of the home. Family rooms, dens and bedrooms — places where you’re searching for rest and recovery from the day — look and “feel” great in analogous colors.
#3 Never Forget the Black Color
This is an old adage in interior design. By adding a black element, like a black box, lampshade, picture frame or other accent. This way you clarify and enhance all the other colors in the space.
#4 Follow Nature’s Lead
Try designing your interior space by replicating the color values of the outside world. After all, interior designs are basically our attempt to imitate Mother Nature, who is the greatest colorist!
Tip: Choose darker values of color for the floor (ground), medium values of color for the walls (trees and mountains) and light values of color for the ceiling (sky). If you divide your colors by value from dark to light as you decorate “vertically” in the room, you’ll get an interior design that looks good every time.
#5 Start Decorating Using a Pattern
To help you choose a color scheme, look at the colors in the largest pattern in the room first, be it drapery, upholstery fabric, an Oriental rug or a large artwork. Then choose colors based upon that piece. This is much easier (and less expensive) than painting the walls a particular color.
For example, if your favorite piece of art is red, black and gray, you can choose the gray to be 60 percent, the red to be 30 percent and the black to be the 10 percent — or the red could be the dominant color with the gray and black taking secondary and accent roles.
#6 Flow the Color Around All Living Space
In order to create a flow of colors from one room to another, simply choose a color you’re using in one room and restate it in a different way in an adjoining space. For example, if your sofa is green, use the same green for seat fabric in the dining room. That same green from the living room sofa mentioned above can also translate as, say, lampshades in the family room or place mats in the kitchen.
#7 High-contrast Space
A high-contrast space (a room that uses light and dark values of colors in combination — for example, deep burgundy with light gold) appears clearer and more highly defined than a space that incorporates low contrasts (say, saffron yellow with sage green). So think about using high contrast to enhance the formality of a room and low contrast to introduce soothing qualities.
#8 Get Emotional With Color
The emotional impact of color should reflect the activities being performed in the space. If it is for rest, such as a bedroom or family room, choose darker values of colors that relate to restfulness such as greens, blues and browns.
In our minds, red may represent fire, blue the air and sea, yellow the sun, and brown and green often represent trees.
These are generally considered to be emotional responses to color as opposed to intellectual responses.
Use these emotional associations to their greatest effect in a space by deciding on what emotional impact you want the room to have.
Would you like it to be lively? Choose reds and yellows. If you prefer subdued, try blues and browns.
#9 Local and Seasonal Color
Seasonal color variations are another painless way to choose colors. Fall colors such as mustard yellows, russets and browns will create a calm and subdued space, perfect for resting. Spring colors, on the other hand, are more uplifting; pinks, lilac and saffron yellow impart a naive, fresh look to a room.
Also, by using colors from your locale, you easily can choose colors that reflect the area in which you live.
By studying color schemes from the past — Victorian, arts and crafts or, perhaps, 18th century, for example — you can build a room’s colors quite simply by incorporating these already-accepted color schemes.
#10 Take a Sample Before you Buy
When shopping for upholstery fabric, furniture finishes, window treatments or rugs, always ask for a sample to take home to see in the space you are decorating. Then leave it in the room for a couple of days and see what the color looks like in the different kinds of lighting used in that space. Pay careful attention to how the samples look during the times when the room will be used the most.
*Please be aware that color changes at night under “artificial” light of lamps and through the day under natural sunlight.
The direction the room’s windows face (where the natural light is coming from) will also impact how a color appears in the room. Dark colors tend to look darker in rooms with northern exposures. You may want to lighten the color values of your choices a bit to reflect this in such spaces. The opposite is true for rooms with southern exposures: colors appear lighter.