(Photo credit: Chic on a Shoestring Decorating)When choosing a color palette for your home, it’s just as important to consider the look of each room individually as it is to create a harmonious feel throughout the entire house.
One common misconception is that in order to have a cohesive look, you must use the same color in every room. In reality, you have many options to coordinate paint colors through all the rooms of your home.
Homes with clearly defined rooms
(Photo credit: Benjamin Moore)When you live in a traditional home where every space is separate from one another, it can be difficult to see the space as a collective unit. To avoid a disjointed look, strive to create what Benjamin Moore & Co. senior interior designer Sonu Mathew calls “visual rhythm.”
“When you’re planning a palette for your home, narrow it down to three to five colors that you love,” Mathew says. “Partner [the palette] with three or four more colors that all work well together and get started in the most used space. Choose one of your colors as the 'leading' color. This color would be used in the largest proportion (i.e. the walls) and the other colors would be 'supporting' colors which are woven in on trim, ceilings, painted accents, home accessories and furnishings.”
As you move from room to room in your home, alternate the “leading” and “supporting” colors and remember you don’t have to use every color in every room.
Homes with an open layout
A unified color palette really lends itself to homes with open concepts – commonly emphasized in universal design – because its purpose is to create a feeling of connectivity and flow. Enhance this feeling by sticking with the same color on your trim or ceilings and trying the following color tips when it comes to the walls.
“You can create an obvious delineation of space by painting a room in one color and changing to a completely different color for the next space,” Mathew says. “To bridge the two colors, use a graphic treatment like a stencil, vertical stripes, or even framing and hanging artwork at the line where the two colors meet.”
If using two separate colors isn’t for you, another idea is to create subtle shifts in movement by using a variation of the same color.
Interior decorator Kate Boylan Striegel, who authors the blog Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, recommends picking up a paint swatch book from your local hardware store. You’ll easily be able to see how numerous colors work together, both with each other and with existing pieces in your house.
“Choose one color you love on the paint sample swatch and use the color above or below it - or both,” Striegel says. “This will keep your colors cohesive but add some interest to your space.”
“Renters are usually dealing with a very neutral palette in their spaces,” says May, who owns Lori May Interiors in Atlanta. “Add in rugs, furniture, art and accessories with texture, color and pattern.”
May says accessorizing doesn’t have to be expensive. “Check out local thrift stores to find unique pieces or bring back small pieces of artwork or objects from vacations.”
Beware of overdoing it, though.
“It’s jarring to go from one room to another and see different colors and styles in each space,” May says. “Too much furniture and too many accessories create a cluttered look. If your home flows from one room to another, it gives a certain feeling of calm and intention.”