Creating an interior colour scheme from scratch is not an easy task! The keys are inspiration and planning.
Contrary to what most people think (and do), paint colours should not be the first thing to choose when planning your interior colour scheme. The right paint colour has an amazing way of pulling everything together and completing the story—or, for that matter, making everything look disjointed when it's wrong. So let's go through the steps that you should take in creating an interior colour scheme.
Finding colour inspiration
Discover what inspires you and create a "mood board." Start collecting visuals of colour combos that you are drawn to, photos of furniture you love, style vignettes from fashion magazines—anything that captures your attention and conveys the mood you want your space to convey. Clip these to a foam core board or paste them in a scrap book. The important part of this step is to see everything together so you can start to find a theme to guide you. It doesn't have to look like a professional design board. You might even try out Pinterest if you haven't already!
Choose finishes for your big ticket items
Your "mood board" or inspiration board should help you recognize the style you want in your space (for example: warm and enveloping or cool and refreshing) and a general palette for you to start committing to purchases of your big ticket items, such as flooring, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and countertops. If possible, get samples of all these elements before you buy and lay them out in a similar fashion to the inspiration board. Don't forget to add to this collage photos of existing pieces that you plan to keep. To create colour flow, you will want every finish to harmonize with the next, even if they are not in adjacent rooms. (Tip: you can always use fabrics and paint colours later to really personalize each space!)
Select colours for soft finishes, like drapes or upholstery
This is where you might want to be a little more adventurous in your interior colour scheme. You may not have the budget or the desire to change your flooring every five years. But you can change the more decorative items like rugs, drapes, and pillows more often without a lot of disruption, so have some fun!
Complete the story with the addition of paint colour
It's always a good idea to have a floor plan when it's finally time to choose the paint colours for your walls and trim. You can overlay your colour options on the floor plan to see how one colour relates to the next. Compare your colour choices to your finishes board to ensure the colours coordinate. Add accent colours where appropriate, and don't be afraid to use a strong colour on all four walls of a room if it works with your plan. (Make sure to have a good point to start and stop the colour change.) Add various shades of one neutral for interest. Don't forget about ceilings—they can be a great place to add harmonizing colour!
Always pick up paint colour samples
Actual pint samples of your paint colours or large 18" x 18" colour chips are helpful. Put them on your walls and view the colours at various times throughout the day to see how the lighting affects them. Colour samples are a small investment to make when the result is finding the perfect paint colours for your home.
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