As a homeowner, your choice in a color palette for your interior and exterior surfaces will say a lot about who you are. Looking beyond your personal taste, however, your color choices will affect your home’s curb appeal, home value, and can even affect your mood! It’s essential to create a well-balanced color palette, if you want your space to feel peaceful and homey.
Your choice in color palette is arguably the most notable detail of your design. White columns bring a stately, luxurious appeal. Black aluminum railings look homey and appealing or professional, depending on the other elements involved.
Whether you’re looking into a full-blown renovation, or just giving your front porch a “facelift,” it’s important to consider the final touches of architectural finishes, surfaces, and even small hardware as you work through your color palette.
With this article, we’ll discuss some different design options, like the new trend for vivid blues in interior design, and how to use neutrals. We’ll delve into blacks, whites, and minimalism. We’ll also explain how your chosen colors relate to your architectural finishes, hardware, and surfaces. But before we get into all that, let’s talk about the color wheel.
Understanding the Color Wheel & Color Theory
There is actual science behind a pleasant color palette! We think Canva.com says it best: “Color theory is a practical combination of art and science that’s used to determine what colors look good together. The color wheel was invented in 1666 by Isaac Newton, who mapped the color spectrum onto a circle.”
- The color wheel is the basis of color theory because it shows the relationship between colors.
- It helps us visualize how each color blends to the next, that a combination of blue and red make purple, for instance (more on that in a moment.)
- It also provides a visual that explains contrasting colors. Colors that are directly opposite on the wheel can be appealing as contrasting elements.
Color Theory: Primary and Secondary Colors
Newton’s color wheel identifies a total of twelve colors, and divides them into three groups:
- Primary colors – red, yellow, and blue cannot be created by blending.
- Secondary colors – purple, green, and orange, for instance, can only be created by blending primary colors.
- Tertiary colors – blended even further, like blueish green.
Now That You Have an Understanding of Color Theory, You Can Select Colors You Like to Develop an Appealing Palette.
Your first step in palette choice is selecting the main color to work with. All the other colors you choose will need to relate to this color as:
- lighter or darker versions
- more or less saturated colors, or more vivid versions
- your first color plus another color blended in
- a contrasting color from the color wheel
- a related color, one “step” over on the color wheel, like red is to orange
We should note here that sometimes all colors are the right color! Wait. What?
We mean to say that sometimes the best way to finish out your color palette is with a neutral tone.
All About Neutrals
Neutrals are based in browns and grays. Browns come from a blending of all the colors on the color wheel. That’s why they look good with everything! While they have a reputation for being dull or uninteresting, creative use of neutrals, particularly in architectural elements like columns, balustrades, and millwork items, can create a warm, classical appeal.
- Other neutrals are varieties of gray colors.
- Metallic tones are neutral too. Think golds, coppers, bronzes, and the like.
Neutral tones in the paint store will have natural-sounding names like:
These tones are almost always a winner, no matter what the rest of your color palette looks like! They are also excellent choices for the large working surfaces in your home, like countertops, kitchen islands, bathtubs, and laundry areas.
From an architectural finish perspective, neutrals are an excellent choice because homeowners will eventually decide to repaint an interior or exterior. Since neutrals go with everything, from brazen blues to romantic reds, you’ll won’t need to replace your architectural finishes every time you refresh the color scheme of your home.
Color Palette Basics: Monochromatic & Analogous
Monochromatic palettes are the easiest to do. The term monochromatic comes from Latin. Mono means one, and chromatic means “having to do with color.” Monochromatic schemes are based on a single color, with varying lighter or darker tones.
As of late 2019, one of the hottest monochromatic palettes for interior design is working an entire room in monochromatic blue hues. Blues look great on exteriors too! Indoors or out, blues love big spaces and sunlight. If you’re into blue, be sure your space has plenty of natural light.
There are a few different ways to work through a monochromatic blue palette indoors. You can mentally try a monochromatic blue scheme right now, wherever you’re reading this blog. Take a look around the room and we’ll mentally re-color it:
- Start with a vivid floor covering, like a vast ocean blue carpet, then go lighter as you build colors. The walls would be a few shades lighter than the carpet, the trim many shades lighter, and the ceiling white or near white. Add some neutral furniture and architectural finishes in white or neutral, and you’re done!
- Start with dark walls, add a neutral wood floor, white trims and architectural elements, and neutral furnishings.
- Finally, imagine glossy or metallic hardware and light fixtures. Our eyes love how light reflects off of water or gets bent through a blue pool, so bounce the light around your room with shiny, playful, hardware, and accessories.
Analogous Color Palettes
Analogous means multi-color. If this is your first interior design project, these can be a real challenge. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there! The color choices available in the modern design market are endless. It can make one feel overwhelmed and stressed, and possibly reluctant to move forward with the right color group because there are just so many choices!
If you want to make it easy, like really too easy, you can go to just about any DIY home store or paint store and pick up untold numbers of pre-selected analogous color palettes. Do you know those little cards with complementary paint colors? They’re worth a visit to the DIY store. You don’t need to work with their color choices exactly, but you can find pure inspiration with those handy cards. Just grab three that you like and start working from there!
The great thing about premade palette cards is that you can walk right through the aisles and hold them up to your choices in doorknobs, locks, light switches, and carpet samples. Jot down the names of the colors and styles you like, and then contact us when you’re ready for the finishing details.
Black, & Black and White Palettes – They’re Back!
Black is the new black! An old interior design adage says, “Every room needs a piece of black.” Even if you love whimsical pastels, blacks bring a certain hard finish and strength to an item or a room. While we don’t recommend it for walls yet (though interior paints have come a long way in the last decades), black is ideal for creating stark lines, sharp contrasts, and visual interest.
We think The Spruce Magazine says it best: “Black in accessories, light fixtures, trims, paint… [will] help to catch the eye and sharpen any decorating scheme. It will serve as an outline that sets off specific areas or objects. Black, by itself, is striking.”
- Black and white are a perfect color combination for any decorating style.
- Ultra-modern, contemporary styles combine black and white with sleek metals and dark granites.
- French country interior design styles also begin with this color palette.
If you’d like to try black and white, start with the kitchen floor. Kitchens look great in black and white, and since you’re cleaning them often already, the whites will stay crisp and lovely. You might also consider adding black hardware to white cupboards or painting dining room chairs in alternating colors of black and white.
If you think you like this palette, but you’re not ready to commit, try a black and white tile splash behind your stove. You can get a feel for it without breaking the bank.
- Black and white is a fun style for bathrooms. It’s easy to accessorize a white room with black hardware, architectural finishing, towels, area rugs, and accessories.
We should mention here that color palettes are all about balance. This is why black and white do so well. They are naturally balanced opposites. However, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” If you’re digging on black and white, keep it to one room.
Minimalist Color Palettes – When Less is More
Lately, professional designers have been successful opting for modest styles, clean lines, and fewer distracting decorations. Clutter is “out,” and simplicity is “in.” Throughout this trend to simplify interior space, designers have pared down the number of colors they implement in any given room or home. We aren’t saying that a color-lover needs to avoid minimalist palettes!
Generally, these palettes include tints and tones of one or two colors (three colors at most) with occasional “splashes” of contrasting color. Imagine a light grey living room with a light neutral floor, light neutral furniture, and a few brilliant red pillows.
- Many folks find minimalist interiors to be calming, soothing, and easy to keep clean!
Minimalist color palettes look amazing with rustic, antique-looking woods. Worthington Millwork offers outstanding finishes in faux woods that work beautifully with minimalist designs. Crafted with the distinctive look and warmth of real natural wood, we replicate the eras, and rustic looks, of authentic distressed, rough sawn, and hand-hewn timber.
The choice is yours, so choose well!
Generally speaking, you want to love the colors you pick. Most families will be living with their decisions for a long time, several years at least. So be wary of astonishing interior design trends (like the black and white checkered everything of the 1980s). These concepts are always fun and novel, but like any other trend, they won’t stick around long.
Color Palette Fads Come and Go, and Come Back Again
Speaking of trends, look around your space. Does it look dated? If you loved the browns, oranges, and olives of the 1970s color schemes, know these colors have come back in a big way! They’ve been adjusted, even grown-up and matured. If you loved that look, it’s time to tackle it again (just don’t forget to put a railing into the seventies conversation pit this time!)
No matter the color scheme you choose, the staff at Worthington Millwork would be happy to help you select the perfect finishing touches like:
- architectural columns for interior and exterior applications
- balustrade systems in stone, cast fiberglass, and polyurethane
- rustic faux woods
- column capitals and bases for an elegant appeal
- modern deck and porch railings, in either aluminum or PVC, for beauty and safety
- stunning entrances and door pediments
- durable exterior cornices
- and so many other design options!
Ultimately, your choice of color palette should be as unique as you and your family. We hope this article has given you some inspiration, or at least some good starting points with the color wheel.
If you’ve got a color palette in mind, give us a call today or shop online to learn about our American-made architectural products. Unlike the big chain stores, we stand behind our products. Our team of professional home professionals is here to guide you through the final steps of your home renovation or remodel process. Whether your ultimate goal is a heavenly loft, a relaxing bedroom, or a whole home makeover, we’re here for you.
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