How to : Choose Colors Like a Pro

You don't need to be a pro to choose colors like one. And while there are many ways to put colors together, today we’ll focus on one of our favorites, which also happens to be really easy for everyone to follow. With a quick lesson in color theory we will have you on your way in no time. Ready?! 

Color Palette 

The key to creating cohesion in your home is to stick with one color palette (a finite set of colors) that you use throughout. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you only have a few colors to choose from. Within your chosen palette you have two tiers; the Core and the Accents.

Core :

Pick a series of three colors to run throughout your house. The core three will create consistency throughout your home, giving you a baseline from which to build upon. To keep things simple for this tutorial, I’d like your three core colors to be the basic neutrals, white, brown and black. Why? You find these in most architectural details (ex. floor, cabinetry and trim color) and furniture (ex. tables, chair legs, wall color). Many people overlook these elements and the important role they play in pulling their house together.

But just because I want you to stick to the neutrals doesn’t mean your house has to be boring. Don't be afraid to use different tones (ex. dark and light brown) of each color for some variety. And have fun with varying textures (ex. metal, wood, fabric). In the living room below you’ll see the entire room consists of just these three core colors but it’s brought to life by many different tones and textures. 

 photo by Emily John photography 

photo by Emily John photography 

 Accents :

Now that you have your core three picked out, its time for one or two more. These colors will be used as accents, and they can vary from room to room. For example, in the office below we bring in green and pink accents, but in the kitchen we have red. Because the core three are the same in both rooms, the rooms feel like they’re in the same house yet they have their own unique style. 

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Color wheel

But how do you pick the right accent colors for each room? Here is where it really gets fun. Remember this baby from your elementary school art class?  Well, even if you don't, that's why we're here! The color wheel! 

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One designer trick is to chose complimentary colors. Don't let that big word scare you! Complimentary colors lie directly across from each other on the color wheel. See where the black X is in the image? Yellow is across from violet, meaning they’re complimentary. It’s ok to pick different numbers from each section (ex. yellow 6 and violet 2). We did this in the office with multiple shades of green (wall art and plants) and pink (rug). 

 photo by Belu Photography 

photo by Belu Photography 


So in summary....pick a palette, stick to the palette. You have the core three running throughout the house creating consistency (the neutrals). Then one to two accents per room to help define each space.

Alright, looks like you have graduated from color theory school! You are now a color picking pro.

We’d love to see how you’ve applied your learnings! Share your room on Instagram and tag #loveyourhouseforless

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