Are you worried about the color of your room? It could be you've decided on a certain style of decoration. Or you feel your home calls for a particular style to be used. But you're not sure the color you want to use will fit the style of decoration.

Color and Styles

This is a familiar concern in interior design. For example, the late Victorian style used dark greens, reds and plums. If your home is Victorian, you may want to use these colors exactly as you find them in descriptions and illustrations of Victorian fabrics.

But you can also change them, and bring them up to date. Many textile companies who hold the original fabrics and printing blocks often change the colors. You'll also find that many companies will bring out new colorways of old chintz designs, which are often hundreds of years old.

So, yes, be sympathetic to your home, but not to the extent you're worried about breaking style 'rules'. The only rule you should keep to is - if you like it, do it!

Balancing your Room Color Schemes

Suppose you have a good idea of the color scheme you'd like. You know it's going to be one based on hue harmony, and you've selected the colors. Which color should go on the walls? Or the floor? And what about the couch? To sum up, how do you make sure your room has balance?

One main color

One way is to keep all the main areas in one color (perhaps one of the pale colors) - walls, carpet or rugs, ceiling, drapes, couches - and then use accent colors with items such as pictures, furniture, scatter pillows, vases and lamp bases. Or bring in changes by using various tones and textures.

Colors for different features

If your color scheme has a number of colors - hues close together, for example - then use one for the walls, another for the floor, and so on. If you are unsure which one to use where, work from the darkest upwards. So use the darkest one on the floor, the next darkest on the walls, and the lightest on the ceiling. This will give your room a natural balance, because we naturally associate heavy with down, and light with up.


room colors foyer rug

If you have a wood floor, one of the easiest ways of deciding on the color for your walls is to use one which blends with the floor.

In this illustration the floor has a rich yellow-rust tint to it. The soft yellow is used for the walls, and the rust is cleverly emphasized in the center of the rug. The rug border also contains the yellow. Yellow on your walls provides a warm and restful background against which other items of furniture and accessories will stand out.



foyer colors

When painting your walls its a good idea to know in advance what your color scheme is going to be. But sometimes this isn't possible. You may be moving into a new home, and you won't be deciding on the colors until after you've moved. But you have to make a decision now and select a room color. What do you do?

Assuming the floor is already decided upon, the safest solution is to pick a color which is in the floor. In the photo above, if you look closely at the floor you can see that it contains many shades of color. They range from dark brown through reddish browns to almost off-white.

If you select one of the mid tone fairly neutral colors as illustrated, you'll have a background which blends well with the floor, but will also lend itself to most decorating schemes. Use a very pale version of the wall color for the ceiling, or plain white.




The importance of texture

Don't forget to vary surfaces and textures in your room. This can be done by using wallpaper instead of paint, or having a special plaster effect. You'll also have great scope when selecting fabrics for your couches, sofas, curtains and drapes.

You can use textures in the same way that you treat color. Similar textures can blend with one another, such as velvet pile carpet with upholstery velvet. Or you can have contrasts, by using a plain weave in conjunction with a smooth glass table top.

So if you think about the texture of an object as well as its color, you'll add an extra dimension to your home decorating.



dining room pale yellow wallpaper

The paint for the panels on the lower section of the walls, and the door, have been painted in a very pale yellow. The background color of the wallpaper is a slightly deeper yellow. The pattern of the wallpaper then brings in other colors - blues and greens - which give life to the room. These colors are then used in deeper shades for the chair upholstery cloths.

Patterned wallpaper is a very useful way of adding interest to a room while still allowing you to have the room color you want.


When you're choosing your paint colors, it would be great if you could build on the experience and knowledge of people who have designed successful schemes. In fact, there are certain color combinations which have proved successful over and over again. (This product only for residents of the USA and Canada.)

The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets


bedroom red wallpaper

Sometimes you may want to use a very strong or bright color on the walls, but you don't want the solid effect which a paint finish will produce.

Patterned wallpaper such as the one shown here contains the bright red of the curtains. Because the red is only used for the flowers, the walls are kept clean while still giving a completed look to the room.


Use a design you already have!

Another way of balancing your colors if you're planning your scheme around a rug or fabric, is to take your cue from the design. Suppose you have a rug, and 60% of it is a pale yellow background, 30% is brown, and 10% a cheerful red. Use the pale yellow for your walls, perhaps a slightly deeper yellow for the floor, the brown for sofas and chairs, and bring in the red in a few scatter pillows, vases and so on.

If ever you're worried about your ceiling, paint it white, or a very pale off white. You can't really go wrong by keeping to white.

Don't forget - you never stop learning. Wherever you are, look with fresh eyes at the colors which surround you.


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