Home decorating gives you the chance to play with all the colors in the rainbow. However, if you don't know a little bit about decorating, color selection and coordination, then your home decorating project can quickly turn a room with potential into an eyesore. Fortunately, it is easy to learn enough about decorating a room with colors to either correct past color mistakes or to ensure your next decorating project is a success.
The Color Wheel
The best tool that you can use for matching colors in a room is the color wheel. You can generally buy these at home improvement stores and paint stores, and, in some cases, you can even get them free. The color wheel is basically a pie chart that organizes colors based on their relationship to one another.
From grade-school art class you probably remember that the primary colors are red, blue and yellow; you may also remember that the secondary colors are a mixture of two primary colors. Secondary colors are green, orange and violet. When these colors are laid out on a basic color wheel, you get the following rotation of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. The colors opposite one another on the wheel are considered complementary colors. Complementary color pairs include red and green, blue and orange and yellow and violet.
More advanced color wheels, such as the ones you will find at paint stores and home improvement stores, will include further shades on the wheel. The array of shades will help you to identify where your color choice for the room fits in the color spectrum and what colors are best suited for pairing together.
You can use a color wheel in several ways. First of all, you can use it to find colors that will blend together. To find these colors, simply pick your base color and then look at the color tabs that are near this color. The closer the color is to your base, the more closely it will blend with your base. The second way you can use the color wheel is to find contrasting, or complementary, colors. To do this, select your base color and then follow along the diagonal of the circle to the color located directly across from your base color.
Matching Paint Colors
If you already have a palette to work with in a room and you are just trying to get a paint color that matches that, then modern technology will help you out. Most paint-mixing stations today have a laser that can scan a color sample and recreate it exactly as a paint color. You can take in a paint chip, a swatch of fabric, a photograph or even a piece of stone. As long as it is large enough to scan and small enough to fit under the laser scanner, the store will be able to create your custom color for you. This option is great for replicating a color that is no longer produced, inventing a unique color of paint or creating a paint for a restoration project.
Matching Colors with Wallpaper
Working with multicolored wallpaper might be trickier than working with a room that has walls painted a single color. No matter what type of wallpaper you have in your room, you will need to coordinate your trim color, room décor palette and fabric colors with the wallpaper's design if you want your room to look pulled together. To do this, you will want to use your color wheel to evaluate what colors are in your wallpaper and what colors will complement and contrast with your wallpaper's design.
The first rule of thumb for matching colors in a room with wallpaper is not to overdo it. If your wallpaper is busy and full of bright colors, then you will not want to overpower your room by taking dozens of different colors from your wallpaper to use as fabric and paint colors. Instead, use neutrals to soften the rest of the room so that the wallpaper pops, then add a few splashes of color here and there. This technique will create a much more comfortable and professional-looking room.
On the other hand, if your wallpaper is neutral, or if it is subtle, then adding brightly colored accents can help focus the room on an architectural feature or on a specific piece of furniture that you love. Your third option is to select one or two colors from your wallpaper to use as the color palette for your trim and fabric accents. These steps can also help you to match a room's colors to those in your bedspread, a piece of art or any other design inspiration.
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