Color Palettes - How-to Guide

It's pretty common to get stuck on how to create a fun but coordinated color palette. The key is to create a palette and stick with it. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured a video must be worth, well, a lot more, so here's the first in a series of Design Coaching videos to get you started!

You can use what you have and like as inspiration: •a piece of favorite clothing (I have some scarves that really inspire) •artwork or photographs •palettes from nature (think woods, misty scottish highlands, fall colors) •a rug

If you get stuck, here are some resources to jump start things: to browse blends)


1. Stick to three colors. two main ones and one accent colors.

2. Vary the look by shade and value of the same color. In other words, you can always go darker or lighter within the same color family, which is another way to create variety while sticking with the palette.

3. Stick with neutral colors for larger pieces like sofas. You can always pull in colors with pillows and accessories, or a throw.

4. Order oversize paint chips to check paint color and keep track of your choice. The video shows you how to order free through Benjamin Moore.

5.Create a portable reference chart. After I've pulled a few ideas I like, I match them to paint colors so I can create a reference board, which is just color chips taped to a piece of paper of card stock. I can carry this with me for shopping so I can make sure I don't go astray from my palette.

6. Don't try to match colors from a computer monitor. Remember, colors on a computer monitor are rarely accurate, so don't count on anything you see online for matching

Remember, color doesn't always have to hit you over the head -- it can be subtle. If you do prefer a more neutral palette, incorporate textures to keep it varied: wood, metal, mirror, sheepskin, nubby weaves, all add to the vibe of the room. You can also  add interest with a feature wall -- wallpaper, a high gloss paint, or a subtle glaze in a soft gray. Pretty!