Creating an Inspired Home Color Palette

Creating a color palette for your home can be overwhelming and a little intimidating. How to choose from so many wonderful colors? Where to even start?
A lot of my clients feel this way and I assure them it’s not as complicated as it seems! I’ve spent years studying and working with color and I’ve put together this list to help you create an inspired color palette for your whole home, something you’ll love for years to come.

color palette

1. Get inspired by nature

Color palettes that occur in nature are always a win. Walk outside and look around you, or make a trip to the local arboretum and observe how nature creates glorious color combinations. Take photos of what inspires you.
You’ll note the colors in nature tend to be darkest at your feet (the earth), mid-range in the middle (trees and foliage), and lightest in the sky. That’s a great way to get your colors organized in a room: go from dark to light vertically.

2. Find images that speak to you

After you’ve made your trip outside, start looking in magazines and online for images that speak to you. This could be nature-related, like the photos your took, or pictures of beautiful interior spaces. Save these and create an inspiration board. You can return to this during your decision-making process.
color palette

3. Think about the psychology of color

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the psychology of color in interior design. Read that post and think about what how color palette affect you psychologically. Serene greens and blues make for great bedroom colors, but bright reds and yellows don’t, for example. Consider how you want to feel when you’re in your home before deciding on a color palette.

4. Pick 3-5 colors for whole-home continuity

Think “whole house,” not room-by-room, and pick three to five colors you can tone up or down throughout your home to create continuity. One way to make you home’s color palette flow effortlessly is to use lighter and darker shades of the same colors in different spaces. At the paint store, you can look at paint chips next to each other and see the different variations on the same general shades. Then pick an accent color for accessories and art, something a little brighter with more “pop.” Look at the image below for an example of related colors with an accent, too.
color palette

5. Think “60-30-10”

One rule of thumb interior designers usually follow is “60-30-10.” This means dividing the colors into three approximate parts: Your wall color should make up about 60 percent as the primary color; your upholstery color should make up about 30 percent as a secondary color; and your accessories should make up about 10 percent as an accent color. This ensures the colors are balanced and there’s also a “wow factor” for visual interest.

6. Start with your main living space

Think about how you use your home and start with your most “lived in” room. For most people, that’s the main living/family room or kitchen. Using this as the hub, work outward to neighboring rooms and spaces, changing up colors slightly to create flow. If you’re feeling stumped, choose a soft neutral as your primary color, perhaps a no-fail greige, and go from there.

7. Be playful with your accessories

Don’t be afraid of your accent colors! Some people get nervous about that last 10 percent of their color palette because these are the bright, saturated colors, but never fear. You’ll love incorporating accent colors because they’re the wow factor in a room. Great places to incorporate them include throw pillows, decorative vases, and art. You can also look for area rugs that include your accent colors.
Are you ready to tackle your whole home’s color palette now? Once you’ve made your decisions, head over to the Barbara Gilbert Interiors Shop to find furniture, lighting, art, and accessories that are stylish and fun.