You wanna know the best place to start when it comes to creating a home that flows (makes complete sense from one room to another)?
Yep. Creating a whole home color palette will make your decorating choices so much easier and help connect one room to the next so that even if the style varies a bit, it will still make sense.
Besides the fact that model homes have absolutely no clutter (or toys strewn about) there’s a reason why they feel so good, and the reason is color.
Now I’m not saying that I strive to have a home that looks like a model home because that isn’t real life, but I will say that when I started thinking about making a color palette for my home, I definitely took cues from model homes. And it just so happens that touring model homes is one of our favorite weekend activities. Free cookies for the kids, and inspiration for me, a win-win!
In model homes there’s typically a color scheme that’s carried throughout the house, but instead of feeling boring, it feels good and flows so well! How do they do it?
Well, they use a limited number of colors but use them in different ways in each space, creating a home that flows from one room to the next. The colors connect each room.
When we’ve chatted about what your biggest struggles are when it comes to decorating your home, most of you mention either color, where to start, or too many choices. Creating a color palette for your entire home is going to help with all three of those things because you will have chosen colors, which will give you a starting point, and that will automatically limit your choices. Your decorating decisions will suddenly become focused! How does that sound?
So, today I’m going to guide you through…
how to create a whole home color palette
I did this when we moved into our home and even though I haven’t gotten to every room yet, I have a plan for when I get there. Like you, I’m dealing with life and budget so a completely decorated home takes time.
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A few things before we begin…
The colors you use in your home are completely up to you. Do what makes you feel fabulous cause no one ever gets sick of that right?
- Stick to 3-5 colors for your color palette. For those of you who love color, this may feel limiting, but I promise you’ll still end up with a colorful home. For those of you with a fear of color, go with more muted shades of color so that you add color into your life without it being too in your face.
- We’re not talking about redoing your entire home tomorrow. We’re talking about setting up a color plan so that over time it will guide your decorating decisions and eventually you’ll have a beautiful home that is totally you and flows nicely from one room to another.
Ok let’s get to it!
We’re going to start with a few questions, and then head toward making some decisions.
What colors do you love?
Starting with your favorite color means that you won’t be getting sick of it any time soon. Now I’m not saying that if your favorite color is cobalt blue to go paint all of your walls that color, but you can most definitely use it as a starting point.
What colors are you already stuck with?
99.9% of us aren’t on an unlimited budget which means that we are always trying to figure out ways to work with what we already have. So think of things like already existing furniture, cabinetry, countertops, and flooring. What colors are already in your space and what undertones do they have? (Figuring out undertones when looking at these things is a lot like what we talked about when choosing paint colors. You want to look at the color and decide if the base color has red, green, blue, brown, or yellow.)
How do you want your space to feel?
Do you want your home to feel calm and spa like? Or lively with lots of contrast? Or how about uber modern? Color will help achieve the feeling you want.
Ok, now don’t get scared. I’m about to share a tiny bit of color jargon with you. It is necessary to get you going in the right direction.
- If you’re afraid of color, or want your space to feel modern and clean you’ll probably want to go with a monochromatic color scheme.
- Monochromatic means different shades or hues of the same color. (I have a lot of this going on in my home.)
- If you’re going for a calm or relaxing feel you will want a harmonious color scheme.
- Harmonious colors are next to each other on the color wheel. They go together because they’re essentially made from each other.
- If you love high contrast and lots of lively color you’ll want a complementary color scheme.
- Complementary colors are opposite from each other on the color wheel meaning they contrast each other. Each color stands alone.
Ok. Now let’s make some decisions!
Keep in mind that this is just a guide. If you have cabinets that have an orange undertone, but love blue and still want to create a spa or beach like feel, you absolutely can. I mean mother nature does it right?
Color 1: Pick a white.
This white will be your go to color for trim, doors, the insides of closets, and maybe cabinetry, and painted furniture.
Be warned, not every white is the same. They may all look white in the paint aisle, but just like every other color, whites have undertones that you will want to pay attention to.
You’ll want to choose a white based on the undertones in the items like cabinets, flooring, and furniture that you are stuck with.
For example if you have oak cabinets …
- and are going for a harmonious color scheme you’ll want to choose a white with a touch of yellow in it, or a barely off white.
- and are going for a complementary color scheme you’ll want to choose a white with a touch of grey or blue in it. A cool white.
Color 2: Pick a neutral.
This will be your go to color for walls that connect rooms like halls, and open living spaces.
Neutral does not mean tan or beige. A neutral can be a color but it is a very subtle shade or hue of a color. My neutral is considered a greige (a perfect blend of beige and grey.) If you haven’t already read 12 Perfect Neutral Paint Colors or How to Choose the Perfect Greige Paint head over and do so now. Both posts will help you understand color moving forward. (Go ahead…I’ll wait right here.)
Ok! Your’e back!
Color 3: Pick one saturated color.
This will be the starting point for the rest of the colors so like we talked about before, go with a color you love. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that this will be a color that is necessarily on your walls. We’re talking about a whole house color palette, so this is just going to be a main color.
If you love color this probably won’t be hard for you to do. If you are a bit fearful of color don’t worry. When I say choose a saturated or bold color that can be a lighter shade of the color.
For example, I love this deep blue. But on the walls a dark color like this can be difficult. So I move a few shades in on the color swatch and find another great color. A variation of the same deep blue that I love.
Color 4: Pick another color.
- If you’re going for a monochromatic color scheme this color will be a lighter shade of color 3.
- If you’re going for a harmonious color scheme this will be a color that is next to color 3 on the color wheel. It doesn’t have to be the same intensity.
- If you’re going for a complementary color scheme, go to the color wheel and find color 3. Then move directly across the wheel and choose that color or one up or down from it.
Color 5: Pick an accent color.
This will be the accent color in some spaces but may be the main color in other spaces. Since you’ll be using this color palette in your whole home, the colors you choose will be used in different ways in each room to keep it interesting.
Here’s my whole home color palette.
Most of the colors in my home are probably considered monochromatic. Lots of blues and greys. But the accents are definitely complementary to add that pop of color I love so much.
I keep this from feeling too kid like by picking colors that are bright, but sometimes muted and definitely not primary colors.
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Now that you have a color palette, it is all about using the colors (or variations of the colors) you chose differently in each room.
That’s right. You don’t have to stick to those exact colors. Remember this is just your guide. Going up or down a shade or 2 to make it work in the space you are doing is great.
The idea is to stick to your palette as a guide.
I started out with my main colors, and as my style evolved I added in my accent colors.
When I first started decorating the main living space this house, I painted the walls with my neutral, so I added my colors in on my window coverings and pillows. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure.
Here’s what it looked like early on…
In the same room, we created a large built in and I made it pop by painting the wall behind it a variation of my blue so it was darker.
This room opens up to the kitchen, so to bring a bit of the color over there we did a light blue glass tile backsplash.
And in the family room (the first room you see when you enter the house) I was able to break up the neutral wall color and go with the light blue.
Then I brought in shades of the blue and teal in the rug and accessories.
As we lived here longer and I had a good base for my color palette going I was able to add in more accent colors and it really livened up my family room. – You can see what my family room looks like in this post, but for now, here’s a sneak peak.
Don’t be afraid to use your colors in unique ways like painting an accent wall or a piece of furniture. As long as the same colors or shades of those colors are popping up throughout your home you’ll have a continuous look, even if the style of the furniture varies.
My home is still very much a work in progress, but now that I have chosen colors it limits my choices and creates flow from one room to another.
I am now starting to play with accent colors and finding what works for me when it comes to pops of color. Something that will help define each room and add personality to it. I’ll definitely keep you in the loop on that!
So tell me, what color are you most drawn to? What would be your starting point?