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Understanding colour schemes

CHOOSING a colour scheme for your home can be exciting, fun and a great creative outlet. Sometimes a single colour scheme is chosen for an entire home, with only minor adjustments made in shading and scale.

At other times, colours are chosen room by room. Either method is acceptable, and both can be challenging and fun.

There are many things that can go into colour scheme choices. Determining the colour scheme before you make any purchases or other design decisions will benefit you in several ways.

The definition of `colour scheme' represents the primary and secondary colours you will be using in your design project. Most people find that up to three primary colours and a couple of secondary colours work well. By making this decision at the beginning of the project you will ensure consistency in your selection and purchases.

Choosing Your Colours

How do you go about deciding on these colours?

1. Look around your home and see what colour selections you have made in the past. Take a couple of minutes to re-write that list, organising it into three categories: colours you really enjoy, colours that are okay, and colours you would rather not see.

For example, you may have listed moss green, buttercup yellow, and light blue as colours you like and have used in other areas of your home. Those colours make you happy. Your list of `okay' colours included light brown and navy blue.

2. Consider the space you are going to decorate, or re-decorate and decide which of those colours you want to use.

You may decide to use moss green and light blue as the predominant colours for your project with accents of navy blue, buttercup yellow and deep gold.

3. You have added a new colour, or shade to the colour scheme by the inclusion of a deep gold. It will fit in nicely with the rest of the colours in your home as it is in the yellow/brown family.

There are some homes that use the exact same colours in every area, but using two or three primary colours throughout our home, with two or three secondary colours as accents, is the most successful way to home design.

Popular Colour Schemes

The popular European scheme focuses on rich and sometimes oldfashioned colours. These are mainly dark reds and dark gold, as well as blues and purples. They should not be totally matte, or too metallic, but just enough to reflect light a little bit. To go specifically for a French feel, light gold, light maroon and blue create a truly French theme.

If you fancy going further than Mediterranean, a tropical theme focuses on greens, light blues, and browns, as well as highlighting colours, and shades that bring the room to life such as red and yellow. White also works well, as it fits in with the feel of clean air on tropical islands.

Or maybe keep the ocean feel, but bring it back home to a local seaside theme. Light brown, sea blue and medium green as well as sandy orange can all be used to give this image. Light grey also goes well if you are aiming to create a rocky feel or perhaps the tone of a typical rainy day at the seaside!

Or go east with an Asian style theme that thrives on blacks and whites, highlighted using red and blue, which gives the room depth and a small amount of gold can also be used to create a luxurious feel.

The most important thing to remember when choosing your colour scheme is that your personal preferences are going to be far more important than what anyone else has to say. If you prefer red and orange tones, then that should be a focal point for your colours. Remember to balance your colour choices with either neutral or contrasting colours for a unique look that brings more into the home than one or two colours will.


Planning the Right Colour Scheme For Your Home

* Step 1

Make colour choices based on the style of the house itself. The colour schemes chosen for an old Victorian home, a beach cottage and a Spanish Hacienda are not likely to be the same. Each styles evokes a particular motif that will undoubtedly have an impact on colour options.

* Step 2

Choose colours based upon the decorating motif. Different motifs like jungle, Oriental or Southwestern and all of the decor that will go with them will have an impact on the ultimate colour choices made.

* Step 3

Pick colours based on the family's personal tastes. Many people have definitive ideas about the colours that should go into their houses. Such preferences should always be taken into consideration in choosing a colour scheme.

* Step 4

Make colour choices based upon the furnishings to go into the house. Most people can't afford to buy all new furniture when they move into a house. Therefore, the colour scheme of the home must complement their existing furnishings.
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