Choosing Color Scheme Part Four
Serving Austin & the Dallas Metroplex
Doris Younger, ASID, RID | TX Certified Interior Designer #2977

Choosing Color Scheme Part Four

Use color to create a mood within your room design.

Think about the emotional and physical needs that you have for each room of your home separately. Let’s start with the family room, as an example. When you walk into this room, how do you want it to feel? Analyze the way you plan to use the room. Then ask yourself questions such as these: Do you want the room to help you relax you after a long day at work? Or perhaps, you would prefer it to revive you as you relate to family? Perhaps you plan to entertain there and want it to be a place that stimulates conversation? Do you want your colors to reflect the mood of the lovely garden outside the window, or a special view? Is the room too bright or too dark for your purposes?

Remodeling Color Choices

These are a few of the many questions you should ask yourself as well as the family members who share the space. As your interior design firm, we will be asking these questions and many more. As your interior designer, I can guide you in creating a mood that enhances the the room design and mood. For example, say your color preferences are reds, blues and greens. For a stimulating setting, we would keep these colors fairly intense, with plenty of contrast. But if you prefer a quieter setting, we would quiet the intensity of the colors, and limit the amount of contrast. It is also important to control the percentage of each color used. A red, blue and gold color scheme (known as triadic) would feel like a circus tent, if an equal amount of each color is used. But if you choose one color to dominate, and use the other two colors as accent colors, the whole scheme calms down.


Colors should FLOW throughout your home

It is not necessary to use the same color scheme throughout your home. However, using a new color scheme around every corner will have a “Jack in the Box” effect that is disquieting. In addition, it will make your interior spaces seem smaller. There are good ways your interior designer can assist you in transitioning to new colors, and/or to use the same colors in ways that don’t seem repetitive. Let’s use the example of home owners who love blues, greens & yellow and would like to incorporate those colors in their room design. Their kitchen is open to the family room and the breakfast room. The kitchen has a south western exposure which makes it overly hot during dinner preparation time. The coolness of blues with green as a secondary color will psychologically take 10 degrees off the temperature. However, their dark Family Room faces east and has only two small windows. Painting it a soft yellow and using green as the second color, with small blue accents will lighten, brighten and warm the room design visually. Yet the colors will flow right into the kitchen with ease. This is because at least one major color is borrowed from the room next door. In large homes, these transitions can be tricky. This is an area where a professional interior designer’s assist can be helpful, and it is a fundamental part of the room design service I provide my clients.

Any professional interior designer will tell you

“There is no such thing as a neutral neutral!” When color issues arise, it is tempting to throw up your hands and say “Let’s do it all in neutrals. That way we can’t go wrong.” UH OH! Unless you use pure black and white (which can only be created under laboratory conditions) all neutrals are simply grayed or browned down versions of their color base. Take the color red. Add the color opposite on the color wheel, which is green. If you add enough green, the red will eventually look brown. Add white, and it will appear pinky beige. At first glance, that beige is “neutral.” But place it next to a yellow-based beige and you will see the red popping out. The wrong neutrals combined together can create a very expensive and disappointing mess. Because the base color can be hard to detect, this is a very easy mistake to make. As an interior designer firm, we can assist you in avoiding this room design nightmare. Of course, the correct neutrals combined can be fabulous, especially if texture, intensity and value (light and dark tones) are properly considered.Lighting-Colors

The interior designer as referee?

Or, what do you do when family members disagree about colors/mood and so on in the new interior design scheme? Wouldn’t it be great if husbands and wives always agreed about color and room design! However, in the real world, we find this is unlikely. On the positive side, this can be a wonderful way to find a color scheme that helps bond the family together. For example, If a woman prefers green, while her husband loves red, consider using red and green together as base colors throughout the house. Let the red dominate in the rooms most important to him, with green accents. Let the green dominate in the rooms she is most often using with red accents. The color will flow and both husband and wife will be happy with their favorite colors in view. But they will also be reminded, through accent colors, of their “other half” and their joint willingness to work in creating a beautiful room design together. A couple, who were really struggling with color issues for their Living Room were given the assignment to find one large piece of art, or an area rug that they both really liked. It took awhile. But once they did, the colors were borrowed from the wonderful painting they found and both were pleased. Great color schemes in room design, like great relationships, require creative compromise. A client once said that “my home does not look the same as it would if I didn’t have to consider my husband’s preferences, and vice versa. But his preferences remind me that he is here and an integral part of my life. I like the fact that he is in my life, and I see visual reminders of that fact every day. Because we took notice of each other’s preferences as we planned the interior design for our home, it actually turned out better than it would have had either of us done it alone. It inspired great creativity! Thank goodness we had an interior designer who could help guide us through the process.” There is a general rule of thumb that most designers use. When it comes to a man’s home office or den, a woman’s home office or project room, or a child’s room, give them the colors they want and keep them happy. These rooms generally have a door that can be closed if it is too disruptive to the rest of the home’s color scheme. A well-chosen “neutral” flooring and/or wall color in hallways leading to such specialized rooms can help. Having an objective professional interior designer act as a sounding board is invaluable when family members disagree and even when they do agree! Keeping the focus on what’s best for the room is the goal. The best interior design, among many other things, must incorporate a carefully constructed color scheme, and we at Doris Younger Designs can help you in doing just that. Color Disagreement Suggestions: 1) Who will use the space most often? 2) Can you agree to alternate by room whose color will dominate? 3) Can you see this as an opportunity to learn more about, and understand other family members better? 4) Remember; focus on what’s best for the room.

Incorporating Practicality into your Room Design with Color

If you are building something new, adding on, or remodeling, you will have far more freedom of color with your interior design ideas and plans. If you are doing a simple redecorating of your home, you may have fewer choices if existing counters, flooring, etc. must be retained. In any case, there are so many choices to make that the task can seem daunting! So let’s get practical. Look first to your lifestyle. If you come home and become a “couch potato” . . . it just doesn’t make sense to choose a silky white fabric for the sofa, no matter how much you love it! However, as your interior designer, we might suggest an alternative such as white washable slipcovers, or white leather so that you get some of the look you want and be able to maintain it too. Light colors and dark show the most soil. If your family is easy on your room interior, this may be less of an issue. But if you really LIVE in a room, and/or have kids, pets, etc., this becomes crucial for the best interior design plan. Medium colors in carpeting that are somewhat “muddy”, or that are more than one tone, will hide soil best. Flooring is a huge investment, and the right color and texture advice from your interior designer can save you far more than the cost of interior design service. If you must be practical in the color portion of your room design, you will save light, clear colors for counters, washable surfaces, window coverings or room accents. Again, as your interior design firm, we specialize in tailoring the room’s color plan to the way you live while incorporating what you love. Color can bring your entire room design to life. While it can be a horror if mistakes are made, when done well, it is a joy! Let’s get started, shall we?

Just for Fun with Doris Younger Designs

The evolution of furniture from utilitarian to artful is often a key to the manners, mores and means of other times and places.  In that spirit and just for fun, here are “romance” stories about some of those pieces picked up over thirty five years of studying and practicing interior design.  Are they true? I don’t know for sure but if not, I’m sure at the very least they contain seeds of truth in the development of traditional furniture styles and, as I said, just for fun……. Read More fun stories here.