Conceptualize Your Color Scheme

I recently posted a photo on Instagram that showed a sneak peek of my adventures in choosing the perfect hue of paint for our living room.

So, how do you begin to choose a color palate for your home?

Well, I’m certainly no expert, but I can tell you the steps that seem to work for me (so far).

1. Get Opinionated / Do Your Research

Don’t have any idea what you want your house to look like? It’s time to get picky about your likes and dislikes! (I don’t recommend suggesting that your husband do the same – just trust me on that one). Check out websites like Pinterest or to find the types of rooms that make you want to walk right into the picture and make yourself at home.

Real estate listings on Zillow or Trulia can give you a feel for your personal style on a more accessible level. Sometimes I find Pinterest and Houzz mostly to cater to the designer dream homes with the newest and trendiest features that aren’t really attainable without a million dollar budget.

2. Collect your Favorites

Find a way to collect the rooms and spaces that make you smile. My favorite way to collect images (all 4,374 of them…as of this moment) is through Pinterest, but bookmarking, saving pages to “favorites” or even collecting magazine articles and printing and filing your images in a folder will work.

Here are a few of mine via my Pinterest Page “For the Home“:

3. Define and Examine

Now that you have your ideal rooms all in one place, do you notice anything similar about them? A cozy chair by the fireplace? Lots of throw pillows? Does the room have square minimalistic lines or a whimsical curves and softness? Do the spaces make you feel calm and relaxed or energized and motivated? Are the colors cool or warm? How many colors are in each room?

For instance: my favorite rooms are typically a combination a few cool toned blues, greens or grays, with mostly neutral furniture, and plenty of pillows and blankets to keep you warm while you cozy up with a book. Pops of orange and yellow and pink make me smile, and I lean toward graphic patterns instead of florals or stripes. Warm wood tones are my favorite on the floor, but I love crisp white woodwork and an overall feeling of spaciousness, clean and calm.

4. Pieces to Inspire

As you are narrowing down your favorite styles and colors, you probably already own a few pieces that make your heart sing or make you smile every time you glance in their direction…is it weird that my possessions make me feel that way?

These are the pieces that can inspire your rooms! (i.e. a throw pillow, a rug, a painting, a comforter, even a postcard or a china plate!) Most likely the item already possesses a color palate that goes well together and you find personally attractive.  Now you can begin to draw colors from these pieces into your walls, rugs, furniture, and artwork!

Let me give you an example: The design of our last apartment really started with a shower curtain. I knew I needed to put something in that brown bathroom ASAP to freshen up the space. I began hunting for a perky shower curtain to make an immediate impact on moving day. When my husband responded so positively to one of my selections (from TJ Maxx – of course) I knew we were going to survive our first co-decorating adventure. Unintentionally, this shower curtain became the basis for the blues and greens throughout the rest of our home!


Ironically, this shower curtain (though not currently displayed in the new house) is still the basis for much of the decor in our current home! When working with all the things we already owned, and colors we found attractive, calming, and familiar –  we still seem to swirl around this basic concept.

5. Paint Chips are your Best Friend – Don’t Leave Home Without Them

Do you ever have that heated discussion with a friend about a color that is blue to you but purple to them? It’s amazing how differently two people can see color, and how much a color can change in different lighting conditions!!

The magic solution to this dilemma is to color match your items of inspiration to paint chips! My paint chips have saved me SO many times when I was trying to decide whether or not a new item would match my couch or chair or mesh with my other details and accessories.

I saw a Pinterest post once where a designer carried her clients “colors” around on a  key chain of paint chips. Talk about BRILLIANT!


Source: LiveLoveDIY

I haven’t gotten that organized yet – mine are still in a ziplock bag with a few key fabric swatches, but at least I have something to aspire to for the future.

I think that pretty much covers my basic method for creating and sticking to a color scheme that speaks your language and makes you smile every time you walk into your home.

I’ve heard from a lot of you who felt like you’ve been drowning in a sea of ideas and decorating dilemmas, so perhaps this will help you focus in and identify those little things you LOVE in your home, and expand them into a whole decorating schematic.

Just in case there’s a person reading who can’t find ANYTHING that makes you smile in your home…it’s time to go SHOPPING!

Later this week I’ll post about my own process and progress with color in the new house!

Happy Monday!


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