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How to Select a Color Palette

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Picking the right colors for your project can be daunting, but with these tips, you'll be able to select a color palette that will perfectly reflect your style.

interior design samples

In this blog post I'm going to share some tips on how to select a color palette for your next project. Color is a very important aspect of design, and if it's not done correctly, it can really ruin the overall effect. So follow these tips and you'll be on your way to selecting the perfect colors for your home.

leather sofa

#1 Start with Your Existing Furniture

If you just recently made a move to a new home and you've brought furniture with you, it's best to start with your existing furniture. Consider all your favorite pieces and what colors and patterns already present that you like most. Notice you have a ton of blue with hints of gold? Or all your pillows are in a houndstooth pattern? You might consider mixing old favorites with new purchases. Then while out shopping for new items such as art, area rugs, lighting and wall paint, take time making sure that not only do they match aesthetically, but functionally too.

#2 Use Art for Inspiration

Starting with a clean slate? Consider pulling inspiration from the largest pattern in the space. This could be an art piece you found or an area rug. Then pluck 3 or 4 of your favorite colors from the pattern. Whichever one stands out as your ultimate favorite, that may be your primary color or an accent. If you're looking to have a neutral wall paint, look to the patterns whites and beiges and grab paint chips to compare to the lighting in your home.

art mural

#3 Take a Spin on the Color Wheel

I always recommend that people use a color wheel when they are looking for an instant mood or tone to their design. What is great about this tool, if you understand how it works and what types of colors work well together then your options become limitless! Looking for contrasting colors that work well together, consider complementary colors, two colors opposite each other (ie. orange and blue). Need at least 3 colors, think triad. One hue with two additional hues equally spaced apart (ie. red-violet, blue-green, and yellow-orange). Prefer a bolder color choice, then the analogous color scheme may be for you. 3 - 4 colors directly next to each other on the color wheel (ie. green, blue-green, blue and blue-violet). Not only do they work well together, but they make for an interesting and aesthetically pleasing space!

#4 Take a Cue From Your Clothes

Most people buy clothes in colors they like to wear and they look good in. Similarly, you should dress your rooms in colors that flatter you. If you have a minimal, sophisticated flair, neutrals like black, white and tan may be best. Do you feel your perkiest in yellow? Try citrusy hues in accents and throw pillows. If you're a lover of denim, navy blues and rustic furnishings may be your go-to. If you share a space with someone, don’t be afraid to try some unusual combinations! Think about how the colors make you (feel). Gravitate towards and use more of the ones that make you smile and feel like yourself the most!

#5 Use the 60/30/10 Rule

A great way to create the perfect balance when designing your space is by dividing colors into three components using the 60/30/10 rule: 60% for dominant hues (walls), 30% secondary tones like furniture and upholstery and 10% of an accent color like for accessories and throw pillows. This ratio ensures there's just enough pop so that you have interesting accents without being overwhelmed or confused with too many choices!

Now that you know how to select a color palette, it’s time to get started! Be sure to start by considering your existing furniture and other decor. From there, take inspiration from art or even your wardrobe. And finally, don’t forget to use the rule of 60-30-10 to mix and match colors for the perfect look. What color scheme are you going to try first? Don't forget to subscribe to get more great design tips straight to your inbox. Then comment below on which of these tips you plan to use when selecting your own color palette. We love to hear from our readers.

About the Blogger: Hi, My name is Veronica Sanders. I'm the CEO and Principal Interior Designer of my namesake firm, Design with Veronica Sanders. I help busy professionals and trailblazing entrepreneurs create bespoke retreats for everyday living by combining personalized design with sophistication and joy.


Disclaimer: The DVS editorial team may highlight a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration; clicking a link to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a small commission.

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