Color is what gets me out of bed in morning. That might be seem like an exaggeration but really, the colors around you influence your mood. It’s one of the principles of Feng Shui, after all. Which means, that choosing the colors in your room is an important decision but one that can bring so much more depth to your home than just simply sticking with beige and grey (although we can play with those colors too!)
Creating a Color Palette
In Living with Color, Rebecca Atwood has done a beautiful job of styling color palettes with found objects to create a mood board with texture and color. I’ll admit, that mine never come out quite as convincing. But, that’s also not how I look at color. When I’m shaping color palettes for my artwork or my home I almost always reference nature.
Nature knows how to put colors together. She has done an incredible job mixing bold, bright, and neutral colors in a way that feels beautiful no matter what landscape you’re in. So I start with photos that speak to me. These are images I go back to again and again because they make me feel something–often that’s the color speaking to you.
Then I start pulling colors from them.
The easiest way to do this is to use the app Colors to upload photos and have it pull different color palette options for you. You can choose how many colors you want in a palette but I recommend no more than 5 final colors when designing a room. There should be 2-3 dominate colors with remaining colors being shades.
These photos have given me three different color palettes to work from to create different emotions in different rooms. The top two feel soft and peaceful and might be used in a bedroom or living room, while the bottom one has lots of energy and could be great to use in an office, or bathroom.
From here you can change the mood of a room by how much of each color you use.
The two images above use the same photo for inspiration and similar colors as the final palette but one become more moody by using more deep blues while the other is more playful by focusing on beige. No matter what your room will have the calm feelings of this beach in Tahoe, but you get to control the energy in the room. The darker colors might work better in a bedroom, bathroom, or office, while the softer colors would be great in a kitchen, living room, or entry way.
Find the Right Shade
Whatever color on the color wheel you’re looking at, there are three things you’ll need to know about your final color. The hue (Red, orange, blue, green, etc.) and the value (is it like or dark) and the saturation (how much of pigment is used). If you look at a color wheel in any art program it showcases all your color options on a graph like the one below.
From left to right you have the saturation and from top to bottom you have the value. The color selected can then take on a large variety of options within this scope.
Why I point all this color theory out, is that when I’m looking for calming colors in my home, I’m looking for something in the middle range of the Saturated bar. And then I’m also looking to add contrast to a room by having a variety of light and dark colors. If everything is in the middle of both the bars pictured above, you start to have a flat room.
The colors I choose in my home aren’t bold and bright (Think tropical decor). For the most part they’re a little more neutral, more calm. While my home decor collection definitely embraces color, you’ll find that the neutral tones of those hue are the over arching theme. They are settling to the eyes and allow for a more peaceful environment. Any use of bold and bright colors I keep to a minimum to balance things out and add areas of interest.
Creating Your Color Palette
Any color can be used in a color palette. Even if you wanted to try using something with a lot of intensity like lime green, it’s pairing it with calmer colors and using it sparingly to create a room that’s peaceful and inspiring. Choose your hue, figure out if you want it to be light or dark (Value), and then go for a saturation right in the middle–not too grey and not too brilliant. In that sweet spot you’ll find calming colors to build your palette and create a home that’s inviting and nourishing.