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Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Choosing Colors for Your Home

Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Choosing Colors for Your Home

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Room's Color Palette

Choosing colors and a color palette is often one of the most daunting and stressful tasks homeowners face when designing and decorating their home. Throwing color up on your walls can feel like a huge and paralyzing commitment. You may not have had a hard time saying yes to that man when he proposed to you, but saying yes to a paint color?  I mean, it's almost as hard as figuring out what you're hungry for and where you want to go out to eat. Because even though we say it's just paint and you can paint over it, the facts are that your budget and husband may say otherwise and you know that you're going to be stuck living with your decisions for a very long time. I mean, I'm talking, years. Are you feeling stressed? Don't worry, we're going to help you out. 

It is daunting and terrifying when you’re trying to figure out something that is going to be so prominent in your home and take up so much visual space. It becomes even more daunting when you’re standing in the paint aisle looking at 1 million shades of blue and who knew there were so many variations of white. My gosh, it even makes me tense and I love design and working with colors.

It's no secret that colors have a profound psychological effect on us. Marketers know this and use it everyday to get us to buy their products. Restaurants and retailers will use certain colors to get you either to hurry or slow down, stimulate your appetite, and create the atmosphere they want you to experience while in their store.

Although this is another post for another day, I strongly believe that our homes are not just a reflection of our personality, but that they are a also a tool to help shape us into the person we want to be. 

Anne Sage says it so well in her book Sage Living:

Just as our personalities influence our homes, we can shape our environment to help us push through challenges or nurture aspects of our character that we’d like to see flourish. . . . So Instead of decorating for the life you have, why not decorate for the life you want?. . . I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of a mindful home to alter my outlook, boost my confidence, and empower me to take my destiny into my own hands.

Since color plays such a huge role both visually and psychologically in our homes and lives, it's no wonder that it can be a stressful decision, but it can also be a powerful tool in the shaping of you and your home. This week I'm sharing questions that I ask myself or clients when choosing colors for a space and next week, we'll come back to share a few more practical tips. Even though it can be frustrating and scary, I have no doubt that you can successfully choose colors and a color palette for your home and it's my hope that we can help make this process a little easier and less stressful for you. 

Today we've got just four questions to get you started. I'd suggest writing the answers to these questions down so that as you go through this process, you can reference back to them to help keep and narrow your focus.

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1. What is the function/s of this room?

Before I begin the design process or choose a color palette for a room, I consider all of the functions that room is going to serve. Nearly every room in your home is going to serve a primary function, but there may be secondary functions that you want to take into consideration as well.

For instance, we relax in our living room, but it’s also where I do a lot of my writing and research for the blog. Our dining room’s main function is eating and entertaining, but I also create and photograph a lot of DIY’s in there. I’ll take all of those main and secondary functions into consideration when I’m considering the next question which is. . .

2. How do I want to feel when I’m in this room?

This is the question I ask myself before I do anything to a room. My answer is largely determined by how the room is going to be used.

In our living room I want to feel calm and quiet, but I also want there to be an undercurrent of energy that will inspire me to read and write rather than just veg out and sleep.

In our dining room, I want it to be a little dramatic and moody and a mix of casual and fancy but I don’t want it to feel heavy or oppressive.

I will usually choose 3-5 adjectives that describe the feeling I want to create in a room and use them to guide my answers to the next question.

3. What colors make me feel that way?

I know that whites, blues, greys, and greens generally give me a calm feeling so those are colors that I would lean towards when I’m thinking about colors to put in my living room.

Blacks, charcoal greys, deep greens and other earth tones, vibrant and deep blues, and jewel tones can give that dramatic and moody vibe I want so I might consider colors along those lines for my dining room.

Here are some general guidelines that match colors with moods/atmospheres that they are often associated with. Remember though, it’s not just a color that affects mood but also it’s tone and level of intensity. A hot pink room will have a certain loud and fun energy to it whereas a soft blush colored room can feel very calm and inviting.

  • Reds: Vibrant, Energizing, Passionate, Intense
  • Blues: Calming, Relaxing, Contemplative, 
  • Green: Energetic, Calming, Life giving
  • Pink: Romantic, Soft, Soothing
  • Whites: Crisp, Clean, Pure, Calming, Energizing
  • Greys: Serious, calming, stability
  • Blacks: Moody, Bold, Dramatic,
  • Purples: Elegant, Luxurious, sophisticated
  • Yellows: Happy, Cheerful, Bold
  • Oranges: Warm, energizing, welcomin

4. What colors do I like?

This may seem like a super basic question and it is, but it’s also an important one. Your home should be a reflection of you and what you love regardless of trends or whatever the market is saying is the color of the year or whatever some random blogger (ahem) puts on their site as a guide. Your favorite colors are a good starting point. It doesn't mean you can't venture out from them, but it gives you a place to start rather than being encumbered by all of the possibilities.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Choosing Colors for Your Home

Okay so you've asked yourself these questions, and chances are you still feel overwhelmed and lost. These questions are your starting point. Your laying a foundation that will help guide you through the daunting process of choosing colors and color palettes for your home. Next week we're going to visit this topic again, and give you some practical tips to help make this process easier and help you settle on a color and color scheme for the rooms in your home. 

If you're still feeling like you would like some help choosing colors and a color palette for your home, we offer color consultations, and you can contact us here. We would love to help! 

Our Mission:

To help people create beautiful, functional, and healing spaces to live, work, play in, and share with others.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Choosing Colors for Your Home

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

When we moved into #theshorttpickenshouse it was very much stuck in the early 2000's with its red walls and traditional chandelier. I had crazy plans for this room such as painting the ceiling a mustard yellow, but after we decided to move just 7 months after buying our house (you can read why here), I figured it was best to keep it somewhat tame for rent or resale purposes. Here's a look at some before's.

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

We lived with our kitchen appliances in the dining room for the longest time after we had to rip out the floor because we had originally planned to remodel the kitchen, and we didn't want to give ourselves an excuse not to get it done by making life too convenient. Let's just say I learned how to use a grill over the summer and it took me a while to quit going into the dining room every time I needed something out of the fridge once we moved them back. 

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

As with all the rooms, I thought I might be able to knock this room out fairly quickly, but as with all the rooms, it held it's own little surprises. When I was prepping the walls to paint, the old layers of paint started pealing off in huge chunks right down to the plaster. It was a patching nightmare! We also had these odd air pockets appear on the walls after we got the paint up. I went and poked them with a safety pin and they went down once the paint dried without a problem. And lastly, this is the only room that I taped off because of the chair rail and the contrast of the black and white, and guess what? That black paint bled right through my tape and I had to take a tiny little artist brush to the whole room and touch it up. (bangs head against wall.)

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

Even though I didn't get to change out the lighting here (I was thinking something modern like this chandelier from West Elm), I'm still pretty pleased with how this room turned out.

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

I loved hearing your input and votes on Facebook and Instagram on whether or not to go white or black under the chair railing, and I'm so glad I went with the black. Once the doors were all painted black and underneath the chair rail, the whole house seemed to just connect and flow together in a cohesive way.

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

The picture on the wall below is super similar to one my grandparents had hanging above their dining room table, and when I saw it in a local thrift shop, I couldn't pass it up because of all the memories it brought back to me. Eventually, I'll get the one from my grandparents house and hang them together. I know they're not great works of art, but I believe that one of the things that makes a home beautiful and fills it with soul is styling it with things that have meaning or some kind of story behind them. 

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

The clock used to be Kendall's grandmother's, and I love having it in our house now as a reminder of her.

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

Since this house was so small and also somewhat open concept, I really tried to keep in mind sight lines and how each room would look when looking into it from another room. I didn't want everything to match, but I did want it to feel connected as if each room was meant to flow into the next.

The  next three images are looking from the kitchen into the dining and living room. If you're super anal and OCD you'll probably notice that not everything is centered in this house. It's one of those things that drove me crazy and I wanted to fix, but you just gotta take the good with the not so good sometimes. Also, enjoy my THREE different table centerpieces. I was shooting these images at the end of fall and trying to get a few shots that weren't fallish as well!

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

These next few are looking from the living room and you can see the views from the entry way towards the beginning of the post.

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

I added the basket and blanket (pictured above and below) into the corner to help fill some space and add some texture and color and warmth to the room. If you read my Living Room Before & After post, you know that we chose to style the rooms with things we already had since we were planning on moving so that's why this room may seem a little bare.

Pickens' Dining Room Before & After
Pickens' Dining Room Before & After

Had we stayed here, I would have switched out the chandelier as I mentioned earlier, probably added a plant or two by the window where the basket is, added and positioned the art to make it more proportionate to the room (that one piece is too small on its own for the space), and probably added a buffet or some kind of tables/dressers across from the clock or at the ends of the room with lamps to add more lighting and places for holding things when we entertain. We love having friends and family over so I'm always trying to take that into consideration when I'm planning a space.

And that's it! I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. Don't forget to sign up for our email list if you'd like to stay up to date on new posts! 

Pickens Dining Room Before & After

Decorating with Fruit

Christmas is over! Can you believe it? I'm leaving our decorations up until after New Year's because I like to stretch the holidays and plus, me and the hubs are actually doing our Christmas on Friday. We'd planned not to swap gifts this year because we're super close to having all of our debt gone and saving for a house, but we changed our minds last minute. We didn't swap gifts last year, and we wanted to do something special for each other and start some traditions of our own. So, I'm super excited about this Friday! We're going to sleep in, eat cinnamon rolls, open gifts and probably settle in for a Parenthood marathon, which strangely enough is making my husband want kids , and I'm just like "I'm not sure if we're ready for that yet, but I like that you're thinking about it." 

Anyways, have you ever felt like your house feels kind of naked and lonely after you take down your Christmas decorations. I used to always feel that way as a kid. I don't go all out with the decorations like we did back when I was walking to school uphill both ways in barefoot in two feet of snow, but it can still be a little sad to go from "yay, Christmas time!!" to nothing. So, if you want to add a little color and dress up your space a little bit, I've got an easy solution for you! Fruit!

I love placing it around the apartment. I mean, it has to sit out and ripen anyways and it makes grabbing a quick, healthy snack easy as well as looking pretty! Also, did I mention that it's affordable and you can change it out pretty much every time you go grocery shopping?

Now, your husband might laugh at you when he sees avocados placed next to your couch and your apartment looks kind of like a fruit stand, but boys, what do they know, right? ;) 

I love the pop of color these clementines add to an otherwise gray space, and the greenery is some I cut from the ditch across the street. 

Decorate with Fruit-Oranges in a Wooden Bowl
Decorate with Fruit-Oranges in a Wooden Bowl
Decorate with Fruit-Bowl of Oranges

A bowl of apples and a mango adds a pop of color to the entry way. It's simple, but pretty.

Decorate with Fruit-Bowl of Apples
Decorate with Fruit-Bowl of Apples

Here it is decorated for Christmas. I'm thinking I'll leave this "O come let us adore Him" sign I made up for awhile. I like the height it adds to the space, plus it's something I need to be reminded of daily and not just at Christmas time. You can see how I made the sign here.

Decorate with Fruit-Bowl of Apples

The lamps are too small for our couch and the bowl is too big for the lamps, but that's okay! The avocados look good next to the blue-gray of the couch and the painting above it which you can just catch a glimpse of in the right hand corner of the image below. I loooove avocados!

Decorate with Fruit-Bowl of Avocados
Decorate with Fruit-Bowl of Avocados

And lastly, I love the pop of color the bananas add to the dining area! 

Decorate with fruit-Bananas
Decorate with Fruit-Bananas

What is your favorite fruit or way to eat it? I'm not sure I have a favorite, but I usually just like to eat it plain or maybe in cobbler. I love fruit on it's own, but I've never really liked it mixed with stuff. Something about the combination of textures bothers me. I know, I'm a weirdo. 

You might also like to view:

Our Christmas Apartment Tour where we decorated on the simple and cheap

The Darragh Family - a fun family Christmas session I got to photograph which included the grocery store and donuts!

Pursuing Evergreen Hope - God's reminder to me this season that if it's His will for you to do something, He will make a way.