After you have decided the decorating style you like, focus on your taste in colors, especially those that go with your favorite style. Think about the colors in your closet. Think about the things you already own.
Color is the single most important ingredient in decorating. Colors send messages. They create mood and can make you actually tingle with excitement. They can be dramatic or tranquil; they can suggest styles. Colors have the ability to enlarge or minimize a room or a piece of furniture. Think of how a dark, drab room can be changed by a coat of white paint.
Moods and styles can be created with color. A formal mood as in a classic Victorian house is best accomplished with roses, blues, beiges, wine, royal blue, and pinks. Since pinks are soft and restful, they are good for bedrooms. Pinks and greens may be used in country cottages. For a contemporary look, use blues, greens, off-whites, lemon yellow, and grays. For country French, use yellows, blues, and whites. For southwestern, use terra-cotta colors with primary colors and turquoise as accents.
Use yellows to make gloomy rooms look sunny and cheerful. Paler shades give a softer look. If you add blues or turquoises to green, you create the effect of water. Dark blues and greens are good bedroom choices, but red - a stimulating color- may not be. It is good for kitchens, though.
Consider the amount of light in the room you are decorating. How will each color look in the available light? Both artificial and natural light affect the colors you choose, so bring home as large a sample of the color as possible to view at different times of day and in different lights. Incandescent light enhances warm colors and washes out cool ones. Fluorescent light weakens warm colors and enhances cool colors. A color's value is changed by the surrounding light. Low light darkens value, but too much light can make a color seem washed out and weak. Your color scheme should include tones that everyone in your house likes.
There are several ways to use color effectively and inexpensively. One way is to use a basic color or two or three main colors throughout your home so that accessories, furniture and draperies can be used in more than one room. Any number of colors may be used in a room if they are similar in value and intensity. Alternatively, you could have a different color scheme in each room, which is fun but not economical. Painting all the walls in your house one basic color saves money on paint.
A monochromatic color scheme in which you use one color in varying shades and intensities shows off textures, shapes and accessories and makes your room look larger.
The easiest color scheme to use is the three-color scheme two main colors and one accent color. Think about the subtle colors in a beautiful sky and keep your color tones in balance.
Don't be distressed while choosing a color scheme for a room or even a whole house. Follow your instincts and the colors in your closet. The colors in your room can be the same colors you would want to wear together in a favorite outfit.
Keep in mind that colors actually affect your perception of surroundings. Following are some general rules:
Again, follow your intuition and your heart to your favorite colors and a meaningful decorating style.
Exerpted from The Cheapskate's Guide to Home Decorating by Jo Wray. It's available at your local bookstore and online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com
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