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Expert Tips for Adding Color To Your Space

Expert Tips For Adding Color To Your Space

I love, love, love color!  Raise your hand if you love color too.  For years as a hairdresser I told my clients, “color is your friend”.  It is no different in interior design, and if  you are more of a neutral person, that’s okay, I have something for you too!   Decorating with color can be scary, but I am here to tell that you have to let go of that fear and go with your instincts and choose a color scheme you will love.

There are words associated with color in interior design that I am not going to confuse you with, heck, they confuse me.  Instead, I prefer to remember them this way using color wheels…

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Primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

Primary colors are a great starting point, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to decorate your space in primary colors, unless it was a child’s bedroom.

Mixing two primary colors together get you secondary colors. Blue and yellow make green, yellow and red make orange, and red and blue make violet.  Think of them as the children of the primary colors.  These secondary colors are very vibrant and you have to be careful when decorating with them alone.

Tertiary colors are the colors you get when mixing a primary and a secondary color together.  Think of them as the grandchildren of the primary colors.  Still, you may be thinking these colors are just too much, way too bright to use in my decor.  Used as an accent color in very small doses these colors are perfect.

You can change these colors by adding white to make them lighter, black to make them darker, or gray to darken them just a little bit.  Taking primary, secondary, or tertiary colors and then adding white, black, or gray is how we have such a huge array of colors to choose from.


It can be overwhelming to try and decide on a color scheme, but don’t let it scare you.  The paint isle at your local hardware store will have paint chip cards in every color of the rainbow.  Also, look around you for inspiration, inside and outside.  These are the best places to find color inspiration for your space.

Steps to choosing a color scheme

  • Knowing your design style is the first step to choosing colors for your home.
  • Choose the main color for your space.  This color should be more on the neutral side, wether it is white, beige, or gray.  This will be the foundation for your space (used on walls and large furniture pieces) and you can add color in as accents.  You could go bolder, but remember, this will be the foundation you will be building on and if you ever want to change accessories neutral is the way to go, unless you love a funky teal couch then I say GO FOR IT!

Choosing a color scheme for you space made easy

Choose your accent colors

  • You could use a split complimentary color scheme…pick one color then the two on each side of it’s compliment (opposite on the color wheel).  Remember these could go lighter or darker if you wanted.  You want to have one of them be the main accent color.  Think of your favorite color.  What are the complementary colors for that color?  Your favorite color could be your main accent color, then use small doses of the other two colors.  After all, it’s your favorite for a reason, why not surround yourself with it!

Split complementary can be used for bold or toned down color choices

  • A tetradic (there is one of those words, rectangle is easier to remember) color scheme is a great way to add even another layer of color to your space.  This color scheme is used taking 2 pairs of complimentary colors (two sets of colors opposite on the color wheel).  This color scheme works best if you make one of the colors your main accent color.  Head over to your local fabric store and look at all the patterned fabrics, it is a great place to get inspiration for this type of color scheme!

Go bold or go soft with a tetrad (rectangle) color scheme

  • You could choose a monochromatic color scheme.  3-4 colors all next to each other on the color wheel in any shade you want.  Again, check out the paint chip cards.  These all come from the secondary color violet, but white, black, or gray is added to get the pretty array of colors you see here.

Monochromatic is an easy way to add color and depth to your space.

  • For the neutral lovers out there, shades of white, beige, or gray should dominate your space. Neutral color schemes are fresh and clean looking.  When I think neutral, I think farmhouse and all things Joanna Gaines.  Consider adding a pop of color somewhere to break up the space and give it visual interest.  Using accessories with lots of texture will also up the wow factor.

Clean, fresh neutral decor

Choosing a color scheme for your space doesn’t have to be scary and I hope this post has helped to give you the confidence to choose colors you will love.  Which color scheme is your favorite?  Will you be changing your color scheme anytime soon?  I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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Expert tips for adding color to your space because color is your friend

Until next time,

Susanne

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32 Comments

  1. I just moved into my new NYC apartment, and this post is going to be a huge help when decorating! My roommates and I are definitely leaning toward a monochromatic color scheme, so this post is a great visual to work off of. I love seeing your “top pics” at the bottom of the post too- totally gives an insight into your style!

    1. I am glad it helped Ally! I love a monochromatic color scheme, but as you could tell I am eclectic all the way with my design style, lol!

  2. My favorite is neutral with a pop of color. But I loved learning about the other color schemes, will definitely use it for the kids room and my office!

    1. Hi Wenda! I am glad you found it helpful, neutral is so clean and fresh, I wish I could make myself change to neutral, but you don’t pick your design style, it picks you, lol! And I am eclectic all the way 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend

  3. Hey Suz! Nice post! You got color all organized and easy to manage! Love!!! XOXO Susie from The Chelsea Project

    1. Thank you sweet friend!! It can be so overwhelming, I am glad you liked it 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

  4. Now this is definitely something I’m bookmarking for next time I’m trying to update a space in the house. We are moving in a few weeks (help! haha) and I will be redecorating for sure.

    1. Hi Cassie! I am so glad you found this useful! Moving can be such hard work, but a new spaces to decorate and make your own can be so fun!! Good luck with the move and let me know if you need anything (other than physical labor, lol!)

  5. I love this article! It’s so informative! We will be moving soon, so I use your knowledge! Thanks for that! I love turquoise and white

    1. Hi Magdalena! I am so glad you liked it! I love Turquoise too!! Try throwing in some navy blue it is amazing with turquoise!! Good luck with your move, let me know if you need anything 🙂

  6. Awesome tips in here. Its so easy to get lost in colour as there is so much to choose from!

    1. Hi Abby! It can be overwhelming, when we were kids who ever knew there were that many colors outside the 64 box of crayolas?!! Have a great rest of your week!

  7. Sometimes I find it so hard to pick out a color choice and I end up just using the same ol colors but these steps seem very helpful! Thanks! Bookmarking this for the future 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley! I am so happy that you found this useful, let me know if you need help choosing colors 🙂

  8. Loving the Monochromatic colors! I need some help in the color department. Thanks!

    1. Hi Susan! I am glad you found this helpful, and I love monochromatic too…my dining room and kitchen are done in a monochromatic color scheme 🙂

  9. So I’m so thankful to have taken Art History 101 as a requirement for college graduation. I never actually thought I would use it again but I totally do… EVERYDAY! I did a recent post about flower pot gardens and having to use the color wheel to determine the most appealing color matches! I definitely use it in interior design in my home too! Definitely something worth learning!

  10. I love colors too! But incorporating color scheme at home is my weakness. Thanks for all the handy tips!

  11. Thank you for the suggestions! I always wonder what else to mix with my accent colour. My house is your typical farmhouse (ahaha yes I love Joanna Gaines!) but with light grey walls. My pop is from navy blue accents, so this was perfect for figuring out what other colours I can pair with it! xx

    1. Almost all the walls in our home are light grey, I only have a few left to paint and they all will be 😉 I love navy blue, it really gives a room depth 🙂

  12. These are such great tips! Thank you for sharing it out so simply! 🙂 We need to think of decorating our house to get it ready for sale so I will be keeping some of these in mind – there’s a lot of neutrals but we need some touches of colour! 🙂

    1. Hi Mica! I am glad this has helped you! Just remember when staging your home for sale, less is more 🙂

  13. Great informative post Suzanne. Colours and patterns can be scary to use. I enjoyed reading the colour wheels. It will be helpful when trying to blend colours that are a little bit different. Thanks for the info.

  14. I’ve never taken an art class, so I always feel like I don’t quite understand the whole color wheel thing. But – thanks for explaining these principles of color. Pinning for future reference.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

  15. Hi Susanne,
    Where has this artical been for the year we have been working from home? I have sat looking at the walls willing them to change over night. Not only is it informative and so easy to read. The language you’ve used is simple and effective.
    I couldn’t do your design style test. But managed to jump onto another site and now that I know what it is Although suspected it from my choice of furniture. I can now complete the look I have only dreamed of. So excited! Thanks from over the pond.

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