One of the easiest ways to unite all of the elements in a room's design is with color. When colors are mismatched or clashing, it has a very divisive effect on the look of a room. By coordinating colors used throughout the room, a decorator can create harmony between the elements in the room and pull the eye smoothly throughout the area.
Select a Central Color
Selecting a main color to use throughout the room serves as an anchor for the room's decor. The color can be repeated to add balance to the layout of the room. For example, pulling the wall color into carpeting and furnishings helps all of the elements of the room relate to each other and create a balanced room design.
Setting the Tone with Color
Color is a very powerful design element, and it can be used to enhance how a room makes the occupant feel. So, when selecting a color palette, it is important to consider the room's intended use. For example, warm colors like pink, yellow or red create a lively and inviting feeling for a room. Cool colors, like blue, green or purple evoke a tranquil and calm feeling in a room. When considering a color palette for a room's design it is also important to notice the undertone of a color. For example, purple can have a red, warm, undertone or a blue, cool, undertone.
An easy way to build a color palette for a room is to first select a neutral color, which will likely be used on the main components of the room, like walls and flooring. Then choose a dominant color, which will show up in upholstery, throw rugs, accessories and artwork, such as southwestern wall decor or french fleur de lis grilles. Then select two or three accent colors, which will show up in accessories, molding and trim, and fabrics used in curtains and upholstery. By blending colors from neutral through the brightest of the accent colors, a room design will end up with a nice balance and an easy flow.
An even more formulaic way of selecting a color palette is to select only three colors, which will be used in the room's design in a 60/30/10 proportion. The dominant color, which is typically the wall color, is used in the largest proportion, and the secondary color works in upholstery and curtains showing up about half as much as the dominant color. Then the accent color, which is used in the smallest proportion is splashed throughout the room in tiny amounts. This formula makes it easy for anyone to decorate a room and have the end result feel cohesive and balanced.
Color Tricks and Tips
When determining a color palette, it is probably easiest to select the paint colors last, because they are the easiest to match. By selecting fabric and furniture first, it is relatively easy to match paint; as a matter of fact, most paint shops can mix paint to exactly match a swatch of fabric.
When choosing colors for a room's design it is not a bad idea to use a color wheel as a reference. Very different looks are created depending on where colors lie in relation to each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors are opposite from each other on the wheel and provide drama and contrast, while analogous colors are next to each to each other on the wheel and create a room that has a cohesive and harmonious feeling.