Creating a Color Palette

When it comes to decorating a home, the color palette is one of the very first things that needs to be decided. It can can also be one of the most challenging parts of your home design journey, but it doesn’t have to be! Read below for some easy and helpful tips on creating a color palette for your entire home.

What colors do you like?

When you first start thinking of a color palette, it is easy for your search to become overwhelmed with current trends. However, it is important to focus on colors that you like, not what home design magazines have decided is popular. A great way to really figure out what color combinations you like is to search for inspiration in things around you like nature, photographs, or artwork. This can point to color combinations that you may not have thought of before. Also, a piece of artwork or fabric that you plan on using in a space can serve as a starting point for choosing the rest of the colors.

Yellow and red roses in sunlight, in a colour palette with compl


If you do not know where to begin, an easy rule-of-thumb for creating your color palette is 60-30-10. 60% dominant color – walls, floors or cabinets. 30% secondary color – your furniture, area rugs, and window treatments. 10% accent color – throw pillows and other decorative accents. Deciding on the emotion you want to convey in the room will help you determine where the colors will fall into this rule. If you want a dramatic space, choose a bold color as your dominant and neutrals as your secondary and accent. If  you want soothing, choose a neutral as your dominant and brighter colors as your secondary and accent.

Where to begin in your home?

Once you have decided on a color palette, a great place to start is in the largest and most used room in your home, likely your kitchen or living room. Not only is this where these colors will be seen the most, but there are other rooms directly next to this space making it easier to see your palette develop as you move through the home.  Each room gets different amounts of lighting which makes a big difference on the way the colors are perceived. Take it slow, working one room at a time and one floor at a time.

Test your colors

If you only follow once piece of advice in this post, follow this one! Colors vary drastically when you look at them in a magazine, computer, paint store, and even from wall to wall in the same room. Visit a store and get samples of paint, fabric, and wallcoverings in the colors and patterns you like. Try to pin down a specific color that you love. For example, you want navy blue but is that Hale Navy (Benjamin Moore HC-154) or Van Deusen Blue (Benjamin Moore HC-156)? Take the samples home and hang them in the rooms where you plan to use them. Leave them there for a few days to see how they look throughout the day, it may surprise you how your initial thoughts have changed.

Sunset at Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Mount Desert Island, Maine, US

Remember, the color palette you choose is just a guide. Do not feel that you cannot vary from the colors you have chosen. Go up or down a few shades depending on the room and what you want to achieve in that space. Don’t be afraid to have fun and throw in additional colors or use the same fabric in multiple rooms. Follow your own rules and create a space as you want to live in it.



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