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How to Coordinate a Room with Color

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By : Fiona Creech    99 or more times read
The colors in a room play a dominant role in how a room is put together and the effect that is created. Colors that are haphazardly thrown together usually result in a decor that looks incomplete and displeasing and even if the furnishings are of high quality, the overall appeal will fall short. On the other hand, a room that is decorated on a modest budget can be stunning just by the way that color is used, repeated and accented in the space.

There are several ways to use color when designing a room. Here are some approaches you may consider.

Decorate Around a Main Color
An easy way to tie a room together is to use one color as the theme of the room and then repeat throughout the space. For example, in a living room, you may choose a tan and blue printed fabric for the couch, with the same blue repeated in the window treatment and throw pillows and in accents like vases, wall art and an area rug. You donít necessarily need to use the same color as a solid; use it in patterns and as an accent in other pieces. For example, the blue that is dominant in the couch may be a minor accent in the area rug.

Cool and Warm Colors
Another approach is to decide whether you want a warm or cool palette, or a neutral one and this will help narrow your choices. A neutral palette can be monochromatic or it can be accented with colors that lend a warm or cool ambiance. Red, yellows, oranges and pinks are usually warm colors that create a cozy feeling, while blues, greens, and purples are considered cool. Keep in mind these classifications are general guidelines: You may find a green that has warm yellow undertones or a red with cool blue undertones.

Coordinating Several Colors
Another good decorative approach is to choose one neutral color for the room, one dominant color and two or three accent colors. You can tie all the colors together with a large wall art or area rug that contains all the colors. You may find it easier to work from the opposite direction: Choose a wall art, pillow or area rug to use as your inspiration and repeat those colors in the other furnishings in the room. Choose the neutral color for the walls, a mid toned color for the major furniture and area rug, and the brightest color as an accent in vases, toss pillows, candles, lampshades and other accessories.

When using three colors, a 60-30-10 proportion is a good way to achieve color balance: 60% of the room is done in the dominant color, such as the wall; 30% represents the secondary or upholstery color and 10% refers to the accent color repeated throughout in accessories.

Professional Designer Tips to Remember
When selecting the colors for a room, many decorators recommend choosing the wall color last because paint is available in many more shades than fabrics, upholstery and furniture. Itís easier to coordinate paint with chosen furnishings than the other way around.

A color wheel is the professionalís tool for choosing and exploring color pairings and combinations. Colors next to each other on the wheel are called Ďanalogousí; using analogous colors within a room creates a harmonious mood. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel and they provide contrast, balance and juxtaposition.
Home design expert, Fiona Creech of, is particularly skilled in designing with large metal wall decor and leaf wall art.

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