Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Choosing Colors for Your Home
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:
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.
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.
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!