Welcome to your new home! You’ve just moved in and now it’s time to decorate, so you’ll just redo the same colors you had in your last place, right? Well… maybe. The same furniture, rugs, accessories and other décor that you love still look great, but unless you have the same natural light qualities, the colors are going to look very different. You may be on the verge of a color identity crisis. Color should reflect your personality as well as enhance your space. While that may sound like you have to start from scratch if you move, it’s easy if you take your time and use a few simple tricks. Oh, and you might think of these things if you’re not moving, but just redecorating!
- Don’t rush. Think about your color palette as a long-term relationship. You want to take your time to be sure you’re picking the right one. Paint poster board in your favorite shades, then move them around your house so you can see the color at different times of the day. Start a Pinterest board of images and color swatches you love to help keep it organized.
- Light it up first. Natural light is wonderful, of course, but at some point, the sun will go down and you’ll need to flip a switch. Choose your lighting, and more importantly, the color of your light, before you start thinking of paint colors. Lighter colors especially will look very different under different lighting. Modern energy-efficient bulbs are available in different colors and tones of light. Overhead lights will make a room look very different than floor lamps will.
- Form follows function. Or in this case, color follows function. Decide how you will use the space before you start rolling on the paint. Color will influence your mood, so think about your colors with emotive terms to create a palette that’s going to work for you. Don’t like beige? Well, what about Café Au Lait, Clamshell, or Lilting Laughter? They’re all forms of beige. How do you want to feel in that particular room, and what colors make you feel that way?
- Don’t play favorites. Sure, you’ve always gone for cream-colored walls accented with a steely blue, but don’t paint on autopilot, especially if you’ve moved. Look at your room’s light, scale, architecture, materials and furnishings before determining what color to paint. Will that same color palette look as good in the new space, or is it time to try something different?
- Life imitates art. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at the art on your walls and find a color you love, then find a paint chip to match. If it’s too dark, or bold, go for a toned down version of that same color. You might find yourself reaching for some unexpected, and highly successful, color combinations!
- Look down. Your floors are a huge part of the color in your space. Carpets and large area rugs absorb light changing the way your paint looks. High gloss floors bounce light around and can reflect their color onto your walls. Make sure to take a look at your paint sample near the floor as well.
- The big picture. Yes, you can paint different colors in each room, and even different color schemes, if that’s what you want. But consider going for a harmonious palette throughout your entire space to avoid a jarring visual. Want to go for something really different? Have fun in small bathrooms, finished basements and other out of the way areas.
- Nothing lasts forever. Color trends come and go, you might move again, you might redecorate again. Whatever the reason, colors can have a shelf life and are influenced by cultural trends. Unless you want to have a very dated looking room, or you like repainting often, stick to classic colors and leave the trendy stuff for accessories.