Decorating Guides

Pick-a-Paint Assist: 11 Ways to Mine Your World for Colors

Where do you find the colours you love? And just because you love a color, does that mean it is ideal for your walls? Let us take a better look at colour inspiration. Here you’ll find tips for how to get your creative juices flowing and zero on the colour palettes that talk to you.

Lear & Mahoney Landscape Associates

1. Be motivated by a landscape you adore. Choosing your paint colours based on colors which occur together in nature requires some of the guesswork from paint picking. The shore is the quintessential case of shooting the landscape into a colour scheme — the colors of sand, water and sky work beautifully as paint colours, in addition to on furniture and accessories.

Debra Kling Colour Advisor

2. Snap pictures of colours that inspire you on walks and travels. Carry a camera and catch those small details which inspire you as you watch them. Taking quick snapshots with your camera mobile is nice — the point is much more from the noticing than at the quality of your photos. Sometimes the spirit of a place really shines through from the colours used there, therefore mine those old vacation photos for inspiration, too.

Holly Marder

3. Notice the subtle colors that move you. Not everyone is drawn to bold, clear colours; that’s only one little slice of the spectrum. Focus on the subtle colors and particular shades that move you, as these can become amazing color palettes. Maybe you’re drawn to the rich glow of leather and old timber. If you love blue, can it be midnight, light aqua or feminine blue? Get specific.

The New York Botanical Garden

4. Consider performing a color-a-day experiment. This clinic is a workout for your creativity and visual sense. Look for shades of one colour to photograph daily, until you have covered all of them. Keep your eyes peeled for fairly veggies in the produce bins, graffiti on a brick wall, a row of colorful binders on your workplace — nowhere is emptied.

Envi Interior Design Studio

5. Look to the branding of good restaurants, stores and other businesses. Shops are usually great places for finding colour schemes, because great care was taken to design them in an appealing way. The next time you walk into a shop or restaurant and find yourself enjoying the atmosphere, stop and ask yourself why. Take a better look at your surroundings — is it that the paint colour that makes you feel good? Try to begin naming what actually works for you.

Residents Understood

6. Pay attention to shop displays. When you are inside a shop, pay particular attention to amazing displays of objects and flowers — notably colour combinations that capture your eye. Notice which colour was used in a larger swath and then colour punctuates the arrangement. As an example, you might be drawn to a screen of sunshine-yellow mugs, however upon further believed realize it is the deep blue tile wall in the background that actually makes it for you.

Shannon Malone

7. Consider the design of your house and the area you live in. What colours are typically used to play up the sort of house you’ve got? Noticing doesn’t mean you need to follow suit, but it might help guide you on your process. Southwestern houses, for instance, often feature rich earth-tone colours, which complement the landscape beautifully.

Holly Marder

8. Aim to complement what you already own. Look at what you already have in your house — do you are inclined to be drawn to bright, statement-y furniture with bold colours and patterns? If that’s the case, you might want to stick with neutral walls which won’t compete. If your furniture preference functions to white, white and more white, possibly a subtle (but not white) neutral will add interest to a clean aesthetic. Assess the finishes on your house (flooring, counters etc.) too, as you may use them to find complementary wall colours.

9. Cast a wide net in that which you browse for inspiration. Decorating books are all wonderful, naturally, but also look at looking to graphic design, garden and photography books, and all sorts of magazines for inspiration. Save pictures that call out to you and begin a collection.

Dayka Robinson Designs

10. Experiment with inspiration planks. A board which works for another person might not work for you — thus try out different methods before you hit something which feels fun. Some might love the physical action of cutting and tacking up tear sheets into a board; others might find that fussy. Collect items at a tray or basket, create an ideabook onto , slide your finds to a binder or stuff everything into a big folder.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

11. Learn how to translate what you see. Deciding colours for your walls is a highly personal process. The best way to find out about what works for you will be to begin paying more attention to shade … everywhere. Whether you’re deciding on colors on your own or working with a specialist, this will hone your colour sense and make picking paint a much better experience all around.

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