Interior Design 101
Choose your Colors Wisely
By Robin Barbetti
It doesn’t require an award winning designer to put together a great looking room. One of the most important elements of making a room aesthetically pleasing is color. Pulling color strategically through a room cam camouflage an otherwise mismatched design.
A person’s response to color is instantaneous and elicits a mood on a sub conscience level. When choosing a color palette for your rooms consider the function of the space. Are you trying to create a cozy family area, a quiet personal retreat, or a cheery gathering place? Warm colors (reds, yellows, oranges) are activating and stimulating. Brighter shades of warm color will energize a space while muted shades of a warm color will make the space more cozy and intimate. Cool colors (blues, greens, violets) are passive and subdued. Cool colors “recede” a space making it melt into the background creating a depth effect and a feeling of calm and airiness. Still stuck for a color? Go to http://porter.voiceofcolor.com/porterpaintgame/. The color sense quiz will help you to determine what colors suit your personality.
One way to choose a color palette is to choose an inspiration piece. This can be anything: artwork, an area rug, a throw pillow; it should be something you love and it should reflect the mood you are trying to create. Using three colors from your inspiration piece, apply the 60-30-10 percent rule. To translate into English: The dominant color, usually the background color of your inspiration piece and the lightest color, should be used for walls, floors, drapes, and larger pieces of furniture in about 60 percent of the room. The intermediate color, usually a mid-tone color, should be used in a 30 percent ratio for floors, ceilings, cabinets and smaller pieces of furniture. The brightest or boldest color(s), you can use more than one, should be used for the remaining 10 percent of the room as accents in toss pillows, art and other accessories. Make sure to use each of the three colors in at least three places each throughout the room…A cluster of items of the same color count as one. Don’t clump all three objects of one color into the same area. Spread them throughout the room; a triangle pattern works best. Designer bonus tip: In addition to your three colors, add a final layer of three to four objects in black or chocolate brown; again spaced throughout the room.
OK, I lost you at Hello. Don’t panic. All the major paint manufacturers spend countless hours having designers forecast color trends and assemble color palette groupings especially for the decorating challenged. Walk into almost any paint store and you will find an array of tools to help you. Want to start looking from home? My favorite site: http://www.voiceofcolor.com/ is supported by Pittsburg Paints who has developed the awesome Harmony Collection. A collection of 52 groups of color palettes each palette contains 5 coordinating colors. You can use three, four or all five of the colors to create a look you’ll love.
Just one more thing…If you are really overwhelmed, take a deep breath and relax. The most important thing is that you like the space. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. As Albert said, decorating is not a look, it’s a point of view.” As with any point of view, not everyone will agree with you, so please yourself.
Robin Barbetti is a freelance Interior Designer.