Working with Color - One Way

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Color can be scary when it comes to your home. So many often play it safe with their home, sticking to neutrals. There is no reason you can’t add a bit of color here and there and do it confidently. Personally, I’ve always gone the opposite way - I find a color, fall in love and immediately start painting everything that can’t run away from me. I do not recommend this approach. It’s expensive and, quite often, really ugly. I’ve been playing a lot with mood (or design) boards and I think it’s a great way to approach color - no mess, no money, great results.

Thanks to the fact that we now live in the future - you can put together a mood/design board on your phone, tablet or laptop. No mad skills required. Below are five steps to help you think through your next purchase or project and get to the finish line with confidence.

  1. Find your inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere - a piece of fabric, a painting you love, a television show or even your favorite article of clothing. Sites like Pinterest make finding inspiration easy. Have a movie or show you love? Check movie sites like IMDB for photos that strike a chord with you. Laurel Bern has a great post on how she pulled colors from Downton Abbey.

  2. Find your app. Seriously. There are apps for everything. I’ve tried most of the apps listed in this article. My personal favorites are Coolors and Paletton - try a few and see what you like. Coolors lets you upload one of your own pictures or a picture you’ve found online and creates a palette for you to work from based on that. I used Coolors for the picture at the top of this post. Paletton is great if you just want to mess around with colors in general. Another option - particularly if you’re working with a poor picture or super-detailed picture - try one of the watercolor apps. Upload a picture and it will turn it to a watercolor (in a variety of styles). Use that image to create your palette.

  3. Find some storage. I think Pinterest is a super-easy way to save your ideas and inspirations. Just make a folder and label it something you will remember. If Pinterest isn’t your thing, just make a folder in google or wherever you keep your pictures. Put your saved palettes and inspirations there. Old school? Get a three-ring binder, print your pictures out (or cut them from magazines) and put them in a safe, hands-on place.

  4. Find your happy place. Look at the palettes you’ve created. Check your cupboards, closets and knick knacks. Are there colors in what you currently own that are reflected in the palettes? If there are, odds are good you’ll be happy using that color. Make that your starting point. Most of us gravitate to certain colors for things like serving bowls, nail polish and random weird stuff we just love. CAVEAT - know yourself. I love, love, love color. Yet, if you know me in person, you know I wear black, white, denim and sometimes a bit of blue almost exclusively. I do this because I would spend all day in my underwear if everything in my closet didn’t match without me having to think. I love reds and greens even if I don’t wear them.

  5. Find your courage. Go to your local paint store and get some samples. Put a couple of layers of paint on pieces of copy paper and tape them to your wall or the piece of furniture or the cabinet door. Live with it for a few days - see it in different light throughout the day and night. Do this with multiple colors - you may surprise yourself!

Next up? We’ll talk about how to get started. I’ll talk about room colors in the next post. If you have any questions please ask - I’d be happy to address them in the comments.

  1. If you’re looking to paint a room pick up a few samples that the local store matches for you. Go up and down the intensity scale.