How to develop your color skills

One of the best ways of learning about decorating color schemes is to look at books and magazines. Make notes of the schemes you like, why you like them, and in this way you'll develop your own sense of color.

It's a great way to improve your confidence in your home decorating skills.

But to help you in a practical way, we've prepared a series of color charts. These are grouped (approximately) into colors groups - yellows, reds, and so on.

The charts will show you how to use colors in your own home decorating schemes.

If you want to, you can use them just as they are. Or see if you can make up your own. Look at the colors in relation to the color wheel, and note how the accent colors are sometimes contrasting colors to the main ones.

How to use the charts

All the schemes are based on actual room settings. The charts are split into Main colors and Accent colors.

Under Main colors, the top left color is the one which determines the room color - usually the wall color, but sometimes the floor color if that was the most dominant. The other colors are used on other main areas such as floors and ceilings. Sometimes only one other color was used with the dominant color, sometimes as many as three.

The main color used in a room can sometimes be cleverly disguised.

A room with a lot of decorative items in it, such as rugs, pictures, upholstery and ornaments, may have its main color dictated by these items. For example, these may all contain a particular shade of red. When you look at the room, you remember it as having this red color, as this is the color which predominates.


bedroom colors

This photot shows a bedroom scheme using traditional colors and textures


Under Accent colors are the (usually) more vibrant or deeper colors used in the room. These are colors used, for example, in fabrics, rugs, pictures, pillows or scatter cushions, and throws. When an accent color is a gold or sliver, it's usually used in ornate picture frames, or on a decorative piece of furniture.

Accent colors are normally ones with stand out, perhaps by contrasting with the background colors.

Here is an example page showing you a real room setting using a color chart.


light blue scheme

The photo on the right shows a bedroom using blue color scheme


This is not "painting by numbers"!

When you look at these charts don't feel you have to exactly match these decorating schemes, or use all the colors.

You may decide to go with the main ones, but only use one or two of the accents. Or you may use just two main colors, and you have a rug which brings in four or five accents, and it looks good in the room.

In other words, just use these as inspiration, a starting point. Feel free to experiment and change the sample schemes.

As mentioned above, these are based on real decorating color schemes. Use them as a basis for your own colors, or just study them to see the sort of things you can do with colors in the home.

And don't forget texture. Many of the beiges in these schemes actually come from textured floor tiles, textured walls, fabrics and rugs. This gives the scheme an interest which is not apparent from just looking at the sample color schemes.

Links to the color charts

Here are the links to the color charts, which are divided into approximate color groups.




Orange, Violet, Pink





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