How to Create a Color Story For Your Home

It’s important to learn how to create a color “story” for your home because it helps tie all your rooms together making a cohesive design statement.

When it comes to pulling your home together and making a color story for it, a good place to start is in your entry.  And, the entry in this home has a nice color story with its warm reds and oranges in the artwork on the staircase and the reds and gold in the lower entry wall and runner.

However, is it really necessary for the entire house to be in red, orange and gold now?  Well, let’s say at least the public areas need to have a sense of belonging to each other or your home would be all chopped up and it would be difficult to relax and feel comfortable in it.

So how do we go about creating a color story? Well, in the past when we’ve created color stories for single rooms in a home, we’ve use an inspiration piece! And, it’s no different when you are creating a color story for your home.  Only this time, you need to gather fabrics with patterns and colors from all the public spaces in your home to see if it reveals a color story for you.

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For instance, here’s my group of fabrics. There is definitely a color story going on here.  Reds and gold for sure, and then neutrals and there is a certain brown in almost everything too.

I was surprised to see that I really am attracted to this group of colors.  So with my photo and a few arm caps of fabric in hand, I can go shopping to pull my rooms together with this as a guide.

Now I want to show you another home that is pulled together very well, in fact even better than mine because it only uses one main color plus neutrals.  As you can imagine, the fewer colors you choose, the easier it will be to make the rooms look like they belong together.

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So when you enter this home there isn’t an entry, you come right into the living and dining room.  Take a look; can you describe the color story for me? That’s right, blue and neutrals.  Now with a single color and neutrals scheme, you do have some options with that single color.  If you are using blue, it can be any blue from the same blue family, from powder to navy.

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See how on one color strip all of the blues look like they are from the same color family, just lighter or darker?  Any of the blues on one strip like this will blend together beautifully.  Then, notice I’ve shown a couple different blue color strips to demonstrate that not all blues are alike.  Blues from different colors strips may not work well together.

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Notice that there is dark blue in the artwork in the dining room and then the light blue on the sofa in the living room.  In both rooms the color is blue and the rest of the room gets its interest from wood tones and black or neutrals. This same scheme is followed throughout the house.

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Here are two of the bedrooms and a bathroom.  I think it needs to be said that bedrooms can have their own personality if you like because they are usually not visible from the main public areas of the home.

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This bedroom lightens up a bit with a spindle headboard and footboard and predominantly white bedding.  However, it gets a dose of character because of the mixing of wood tones and black painted furniture.  Its different, yet quite the same!

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This bathroom is all in blue but stays bright because of the white countertop.  Because the home is small, the use of fewer colors helps to make the space look larger.

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I also want to show you this artwork on the stair wall.  It too is in the blues and neutrals.  And, I have a couple things to say about that.  Because this art was selected to fill in a very large wall space in a stairway, it isn’t the most important art in the home.  No one will be starring at it during their visit, so it is just a splash of color and pattern to dress up a transition area.  Because of that, I don’t mind that it, too, is in the blues and neutrals.

However, the main art in your home should be an expression of yourself and your family and it doesn’t have to match the colors in your room.  I will say that if the colors blend, everything will look a bit nicer.

On the other hand, if you are an art collector, then your art should stand out and be dominant in the room, so choose more neutral furnishings to support THAT story!

So for your color story, when you go shopping, take a photo of your current color story along with anything else you possibly can like additional photos, fabric swatches, pillows and paint chips.

I even keep track of how my color story changes and develops as I add to it and move things around by keeping a notebook.  It’s full of magazine clippings of rooms that I really like and by doing this exercise of pulling out photos, I discovered that I was attracted to a new color, light blue.  So I’ve been working on ways to get that light blue tone in my home ever since.

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One of the ways was to combine it with the red.  And when I found this area rug, it really helped me bring all those colors together.  So you can see how a color story begins with what you have and can grow with things that you like or want to add.

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But there may be a step I’ve skipped over. When you get your patterns and colors pulled together, what if there isn’t a color story that is apparent?  Don’t you have to sort through your things and maybe eliminate what doesn’t work?  How do you pick and choose?

Let’s take a look at this photo for instance.  In this photo, there are several different blues represented from aqua to periwinkle.  There is also both orange in the wood tones and gold in the furniture.  It appears that the gold and orange are working well and are the colors of the main furniture pieces – the pieces that are difficult and expensive to change.  I think this family needs to decide which blue they are going to hang their hats on and go for it.

Of course, there are a lot of factors here that we may not know.  Ideally you would select the items you love the most and make a color story out of them and eliminate the others.  However, you may have to keep something that isn’t your favorite because of costs or how new it is.  In that case maybe you could slipcover a new piece so it fits in better with what you really love.

The point is, the rooms in your home need to look like they belong together, not like you took a few rooms from a couple of your neighbors and pushed them all together.  A color story will help you make sense of your home by forcing you to make color decisions and making sure that all your new color decisions follow that color story.

And don’t think this is going to happen in a day.  It will take some time to work through, but each time you eliminate something that doesn’t fit and bring in something new that does, you are one step closer to a well designed home.

Shari 

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