How To Choose A Color Scheme!

Ok, here is the typical scenario, you are going to paint so you head to the paint store. Once there you loose your mind, there are hundreds of samples! You take a few deep breaths, after all, you think, you’ve painted before, and you have known other people who have painted, so in theory you can do this! Hmm … but where to start, you hit on an idea; “how about your favorite color – blue?” Ok, start with the blues – you love aqua, robin’s egg blue and Tiffany blue. Yes, you can do this. “Oh, wow there are so many light blues!” Ok, but you know what you like and … you remember your husband doesn’t really care for the light blue, he likes navy and super dark blue … hmm. Should you look at dark blues? “Oh, wait my sister’s neighbor said you shouldn’t paint dark colors it makes the room smaller, and well you don’t really like the dark blues anyway. Maybe blue is not really a good choice, after all it is so common. Your husband loves red, and you don’t mind red – if it were used right. So you pick a red. Hmm … but it is such an intense color, certainly you couldn’t paint all the walls red. Maybe you could pick a color to go with it. Hmm … let’s see, your sister loves green, oh no that would look like Christmas, what goes with red? Let’s see yellow? No – you don’t really like yellow and that might be too much. Purple, hey that might be a happy medium … STOP!

Ok, sorry to put you through that – take a deep breath. Before you go to the paint store you choose a general color scheme. And the way you find that is you look for inspiration.

Here are inspiration ideas:

  • A beautiful piece of art
  • An oriental rug you inherited from Grandma
  • The colors of your favorite vacation spot
  • A post card depicting an English garden
  • A beautiful dress you saw in the magazine
  • Your favorite style is mid-century modern. What colors were popular then?
  • You love an Asian feel, clean lines and all zen garden like. What colors are commonly used there?
  • You love the colors of Indian spices; curry, saffron and cardamon.
  • You like a neutral palette.
  • You like a delicate pallet of soft blues and greens.

Take your time at this point. Here are some pictures for inspiration:

Vincent van Gogh “Sunflowers”
Oriental Rug
Frederick MD Oriental Rug
Lake Cavanaugh Snow Caps
Lake Cavanaugh From the blog “Sarah Who?”
English Garden
From Dreaming of an English Garden


Purple Dress
Badgley Mischka Fall 2011
Mid-Century Modern 50s Pam
1963 Geneva steel kitchen, 50s Pam
A Martha Stewart Room

What is your inspiration? If you haven’t chosen your inspiration yet, begin collecting ideas in a box or a notebook. You’ll see that you are drawn to certain colors.

For those of you who would like some help choosing a color scheme for your project I do color consultations and you don’t even have to live near by because we can color consult online. Leave a comment or email Bonnie.

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2 Responses to How To Choose A Color Scheme!

  1. Mlle says:

    How do I know which colors to choose from my inspiration?

    • Bonnie says:

      After you have collected for a while you look back through your collection. Narrowing it down by considering factors such as: Mood If you are looking for serene and restful you probably can take out hot pink, brilliant red and super bright yellow. You’ll probably want to choose cool colors like the colors of the sky, the grass and the ocean. If you want a bright clean room you probably won’t choose dark, grayed or muted colors. Also consider architecture and style. If you prefer traditional and your home was built in the early 20th century you probably won’t choose a bright orange and rich purple. If your husband hates brown, even though you really like it you will want to take out examples that use brown. Basically your next step is to narrow down your choices to just a few.

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