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Choosing the Right Colors for Your Interiors

(Thoughts on Anastasia Zhei's post "Be the Master of Shade")

Although scientific, biological explanations about the psychology of color exist, the process of choosing colors to be used in your own home is often an objective, emotional, and personal matter. With an overwhelming amount of colors to choose from, as designers, we like to encourage our clients to explore their emotions and use their instincts when creating a color pallet. One is able to express their true self through the choice of color they use in each room of their home, defining each space and giving it meaning.



If you are looking to let go of tension, get rid of clutter, and create a calm surrounding, a simple white is your best solution. White is a sophisticated choice that can let your mind relax.

For a monochromatic scheme…

  • Incorporate varying shades of off-white to play up the sophistication.

  • Keep in mind: Not all shades of off-white compliment each other.

  • Use different color depths of one shade to easily ensure that all colors will be complimentary.

Monochromatic schemes are a great way to create a dreamy Bedroom or an elegant Living Room.

To liven up your white space…

  • Don’t go overboard; Use color in your accents so as not to overwhelm the space.

  • Texture is a great way to add depth without using bright colors. Different materials throughout the room add interest in a simple color scheme.

If all white doesn't do it for you, disperse small amounts of color

throughout the room. It will add a sense of drama while remaining sophisticated.



Although it has been around forever, beige is a great choice if you are trying to create a space that is elegant and timeless. However, instead of using beige everywhere, modernize the room by adding other earth tones to the mix. Layer different shades of gray, taupe, terracotta, and brown to add depth to the color pallet. When using an earth tone color pallet, textures are a must!

The high contrast of the shiny metal mirror, the glossiness of the leather ottoman, the hide rug, and the soft, neutral sofa create a calming balance in this beige on beige living room.

This living room is anything but boring. By using a brilliant color in the drapery, accentuating with statement pieces, and adding texture, the beige furniture suddenly becomes exciting.

P.S. This is a great way to experiment with bold colors and not break the bank. The major purchases (such as the sofas and chairs) will be in style for years, and the accent pieces can change along with your lifestyle.



If you have a need for excitement and are daring in your color choices, be careful not to make rash decisions that you may regret later on. There is a way to handle a bright color pallet without losing sophistication.

Unless you have the resources to redesign your interiors every few years, be sure to pick a color scheme that will be livable for many years. Too many bright colors can be tiring on the eyes and will end up looking dated over time.

This living room is a great example of using a bright color pallet that will remain timeless. A rich golden tone infuses the room with color and neutral accents keep the room from becoming overwhelming.


Advice to Consider



This is important. By determining which direction your room is facing, it will help you decide whether to use warm or cool colors. North-facing rooms benefit from warmer tones while south-facing rooms benefit from cooler tones. If your room is on the western side, the afternoon sun will raise the temperature in the space.

Psychologically, red or orange-based paint will make the room seem warmer. If you were to change the wall color to a teal or blue-green based paint, the room will immediately seem cooler.

Geography is also a major influence when choosing interior colors. Growing up and living in the Deep South, (Charleston, SC) I have realized how common the use of pastel colors is. After learning more about design, I now know that these colors are used to “cool things down.”



If you take a moment, I’m sure you may remember the color of your grandmother’s summer house, the way you felt while vacationing in the south of France, or what inspires you about your favorite work of art. Use these memories and experiences as a starting point to decide how you want to feel in your space. Cultural backgrounds can be incorporated into a room with the use of color and texture.

To exude the culture of Mexico, you may use brilliant shades of red, yellow, and green and bring natural elements of design into the space. In Scandinavia, you see lots of white with shades of blue, punctuated with natural woods.



What are you designing? Do you have children? Pets? By prioritizing your necessities and narrowing down your wants, it will instantly become easier to make choices. Colors have the ability to make dirt invisible, make you sleepy, and even give off the illusion of straighter walls. If you have either children or pets, a pattern as opposed to a solid will keep the walls looking cleaner, longer. To achieve this, you could use a special plaster finish or durable wallpaper.

In other words, do not paint the corridor walls with a flat white paint if you want it to last. A semi-gloss paint with more sheen is much more durable and will last for many more years. A saturated color (such as tan or taupe) is practical to hide finger marks and spills.

Thanks for reading,

- J.J.


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