How to Choose the Right Colour Palette for Your Home

colour palette

Choosing a colour palette is both an important and very daunting part of decorating your home. Most people are not very good with pairing colours or complementing them. This can end up in some serious disasters. Choosing colours is something personal. The colours in our homes show our personality and taste. Therefore, we need to be very careful how we choose them and how we combine them. But how to pick among thousands of colours and countless colour combinations and schemes? Well, you’ll need to follow a few general rules, pick the right option for you, and go for it. Here are some tips for picking colour palettes for your home.


colour pallette

Choosing your colours

The first thing you need to do, is pick the colours you would like to see in your home. Most of us already have a favourite colour they would like to work around. For the rest, useful tools like the colour wheel can help you take a look at all the colours, and choose the ones that please you the most. Nowadays there are plenty of online tools, which not only show you all the colours, but they also show you which colours match them, which ones complement them and which ones contrast them. There are primary, secondary and tertiary colors.

  • Primary colours – red, blue and yellow. They are pure and cannot be created.
  • Secondary colours – orange, purple and green. They are created by mixing equal parts of 2 primary colours. For example, blue and yellow make green.
  • Tertiary colours – they are a mixture of secondary and primary colours, in various parts. The original colours lose their vividness to create a new, less bright shade. Decorators use white and black to soften or darken the hue.


interior colours

Creating a colour palette

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the colour wheel, it’s time to use it to create a colour palette that will fit your home and personality. There are 4 possible types of colour palettes:

  • Monochromatic – the monochromatic colour scheme uses tones of the same colour with the addition of black or white to darken or lighten the colour. For instance, in this palette you can use standard blue, dark navy blue and light sky blue. They are all hues of the same colour, and they can be used to create various interesting effects.
  • Analogous – the analogous scheme uses colours, which appear next to each other on the colour wheel. In this case, yellow should be used with orange or green, blue would go with green or purple, etc. These combinations usually create a very colourful and soothing atmosphere in the room.
  • Contrast – The contrast scheme is favourite to many decorators, because it brings more energy and introduces more colour to the house. Here a combination of two contrasting colours is used, like green and blue, red and purple, yellow and orange, black and white even.
  • Complementary – In the complementary colour palette, two opposing colours are used to create a bold and dramatic scheme. One of the colours dominates, while the other is used to compliment the first one. A popular combination here is blue and orange.

Once you’ve decided which colours you want to see in your home, it’s time to plan how to use them. There are a few highly efficient colour strategies you can consider:

From light to dark, vertically

The easiest and safest way to pick colours for your home, is to work vertically. In this case, you should use a dark colour for the floor, medium colours for the walls and furniture, and a light colour for the ceiling. When you think about it, this arrangement replicates the outside world, because in our environment, the darker colours are usually below our feet, the medium ones are all around us (trees, buildings, etc.), and the lightest ones are in the sky.

colour pallette

Choose colours from a pattern

Many people think, that they should pick colours for the walls and floors first, and look for furniture afterwards. But the truth is, that it’s a lot easier to pick the furniture first and decide on a wall colour afterwards, because paint is cheaper than furniture, and this way you won’t have to check every furniture store for the right sofa colour. And if you’re into patterned furniture, all you need to do is pick the colours you like from the patterns. For your walls, you should pick the dominating colour of the pattern. Or, if you want a more neutral wall colour, then you should consider the whites and beiges of the pattern.


 colour palette
Start with the formal areas

There are many rooms in the house, and most homeowners have issues deciding where to start. Professional designers advise to start either from the biggest room, from the most used one, or from the formal parts of the house. This usually means the living room and the entryway. First you need to choose the colour palette for these places, then pull one colour from this palette, tone it down and use it for one or more of the other rooms. For example, you can take the bright red sofa from your living room, tone it down to burgundy or amaranth, and use this new colour to decorate more private areas of the house, like the bedroom or bathroom.

Use the 60-30-10 rule

Many homeowners find it useful to use the 60-30-10 rule when choosing the colours of their homes. This rule is very simple – you just divide the colours into components. So, 60% is the colour of the walls (dominant), 30 % is the secondary colour (the upholstery and appliances), and the accent colour takes 10% of the room, which is basically your accessories. This combination works every time, because the ratio ensures the proper balance between the colours, and they all pop just enough to look interesting.

Warm and cold contrast

Most people aim for either warm or cool colours when they decorate their homes. But what they often underestimate, is the power of warm and cold contrasts. For instance, gray goes well with warm honey-coloured hues, some shades of red complement perfectly certain shades of blue, and so on. This combination is perfect for common areas around the house, because they create enough intensity to wake up even the sleepiest person.

The monochromatic look

If you have 1 favourite colour that you would like to display in full, then you should try the monochromatic arrangement. The best way to make this look work, is by balancing them with black or white. So, if you choose to have everything in the room blue, then white floors and walls will complement it best, making the room look saturated, but not too overpowering.


colour pallette

Use the rule of three

Limiting your colour palette to three colours is a strategy, that will guarantee you success in every kind of space. This solution in non-intrusive, it looks good in both big and small spaces, and it’s always on trend. For instance, a combination of navy blue, sunny yellow and grass green would be the perfect palette for a bedroom, because it’s fresh and calming at the same time.

Make small spaces pop

Many people think that painting a small room white will make it seem bigger. Well, they are right, but it doesn’t mean that this is the only option. In the last few years a new trend is on the rise – to paint a small room in a colour that will make it pop. So, instead of the boring white, try something bold and bright for your small rooms, it will provide them with more character and will make people look twice when they walk past them.

Jane Wilson is a business manager, a mother and a blogger from Melbourne, Australia. She manages the local branch of Fantastic Cleaners - a home improvement company, which provides a wide range of services to home and business owners. She also has a small blog, called Modern Housewives, where she shares all kinds of tips on topics like home maintenance and gardening, as well as interesting events around Melbourne.



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