02 October 2012

The new Casa P color scheme

Say, remember when I posted the idea board for our living room last week? Better yet, remember the color scheme up in the corner?

I didn’t mention it at the time, but that color scheme? SO CAREFULLY CHOSEN. And it’s just a little part of a whole that I want to tell you about today!

Back in our old house, I emphasized the idea of a “whole house color scheme”. I’m a firm believer in cohesion – there’s no single color I like better than harmony among all the colors of my house. Maybe coral is in now, and maybe it’s growing on me, but if it doesn’t work with the existing tones in my house? Forget it.

In our last house, I kept all the paint colors for our house on the cover of my ideas notebook, to make sure that my ideas fit into the larger aesthetic I wanted.

Of course, this is a good reason to stick to neutrals as much as possible, so when a bright coral strikes your fancy, it can have a place. But this place is already a bit of neutral overload, so I wanted to go ahead and define a color palette for the new apartment. It’s similar in many ways to the old house, because... we have a lot of the same stuff. Duh.

And how did I get started? Not with a napkin, but with those fantastic Olympic swatch cards I showed you recently.

But instead of literally shuffling the paint chips around on the “playground”...

I made my own digital swatches, using a combination of my favorite colors from the chips and existing colors in our house, and tweaking them until they worked together.

Ready for our whole house color scheme in the new Casa P? Ta-da!

Lots of neutrals, yes – three beiges, a brown, a black, a gray. And that light green and light blue are pretty neutral too, yes? With brighter red, green and blues to punch it up! Though even the bolder colors are “safe” in terms of design, I think – maybe tame, or boring – but I’m not really a risk taker so that’s fine by me!

Here’s the real test, though. I wanted to make sure that for every room in our house, I could pull out six colors that would define that room. Too many colors in each room is as bad as not having any defined palette at all, so I limited myself to six. At the same time, I wanted to make sure that throughout the whole apartment, each color in the palette was well-represented.

So I moved my virtual chips around...

... and came up with a scheme for each room!

(By the by, I use Adobe Illustrator to play around with idea boards and color swatches, but you can do the same thing in Powerpoint or any drawing program – doesn’t have to be fancy, just let you visualize your ideas!)

Most of the rooms ended up with at least two to three light neutrals, because I like neutrals but also because the walls and carpet are beige and there isn’t a thing I can do about it but embrace it. Likewise, many of the rooms get a dark neutral (brown or black), partially to “anchor” it... but also because there’s already large brown or black furniture in that room, helping to define the palette. For instance, we have a big dark wood dining room table and chairs in our kitchen – gotta count that.

Because I’m a bit color-obsessed (HOW EVER DID YOU TELL), I also moved the rooms’ palettes into the spatial arrangement of the rooms in the apartment. Do they flow? Will one room’s palette work seamlessly with the next?

Granted, all of those colors are overwhelming when put together, I know, but I think they’ll make more sense when you see the rooms separately. And as for the whole house, I made one final graphic that more accurately represents the color palette when you consider the colors proportionately.

It... looks like a weird bizarre face. Yes. A creepy blocky face. That is why I am not a professional interior designer, so I don’t send a client a potential color scheme and say “Here’s what I’m thinking for your home, a creepy face-palette! Haha!”

But I think you get the idea, yes? The light walls and carpet, a bit of dark furniture to anchor, lots of layered neutrals, and a few, sparing pops of color!

Again, I’m a big believer in a whole house color scheme, and if you’re looking for a way to get your house feeling more cohesive, this is a great way to start! If you don’t even know how to start, there are plenty of color palette tools out there (here’s a review of several at once) But for me, the easiest thing to do is mix and match colors until you have a palette that works all together and in parts, using your big binder of paint chips.

Wait, you don’t have a big binder of paint chips? Well, now you know step one! Come, let us hoard paint chips together!


Rachel C said...

I am so excited to see how your design comes together!