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Step 9: Create a color palette

The intensity of a color will depend on the light exposure.

Colors are essential to create a specific atmosphere in a room. They are fascinating especially when it comes to the psychological effects of colors. But let’s keep the focus on our project. This isn’t a course about colors, their contrast, how to pair them etc., this is a pragmatic approach assuming that you already have an idea about the style and atmosphere you want to create in your current environment. Therefore, let me give you some straight forward recommendations to help you decorate your room.  

First of all, I’d like to sum up what you have done so far: 

  • You’re clear about what this room will be used for.
  • You have determined what pieces of furniture and accessories you will keep and what you will replace.
  • You researched and found out which type of atmosphere you want to create.
  • You assessed the amount of light entering into your room. 

The step by step approach 

  1. From what you will keep, are there items or accessories that you could easily change the color of? For example, do you have the possibility to paint a piece of furniture in another color? If so, separate these things from the rest of the items you won’t and can’t change the color or appearance of. 
  2. Assess the current colors you have in the room. For example; the floor, certain pieces of furniture, textiles (curtains, upholstery fabrics) … everything you believe where you won’t change the color. 
  3. Keep the wood colors as a beige/brown tone and don’t worry if you have different wood colors in the room.
  4. Metallic colors: Rarely will you be able to stick to one metallic color, especially if you’re renting the place you live in. It really isn’t the end of the world if you have an old brass color for the door handle and a piece of furniture with a silver or copper color. 
  5. Group these colors; the neutrals/beige-brown, the whites, the greys… what other colors stand out?
  6. Is there one color that stands out? For example, an orange lamp or seat? This could be considered as an eye-catcher. You might consider this piece as an accent color for the room. 
  7. Do the colors you could identify match the atmosphere you want to create? Compare it to the images that inspired you for your new environment.  
  8. Is there a tone or a color you would like to add or to remove? 
  9. Ideally keep the color palette up to a maximum of three distinctive colors. A lot of people identify a wood + white or beige + another color. That should create the base of your color scheme. If you’re happy with that, it’s ok. If you’re missing something add the color that is missing to the atmosphere you want to create. 
  10. Capture the colors. Take photos or different paint colors from your last painting class, mix the colors and paint these on a piece of paper. There are also other possibilities like using a color scheme generator such as www.coolors.co. Use what works best for you. 
  11. Keep this color palette as a reference for your project. 

If you want to incorporate a lot more colors, then add colors with a similar level of intensity like pastels or vivid colors. For example, you might enjoy colorful chairs and paint each of them with a different color, or upholster them with fabrics of different colors. Most important for the style would be to remain within one color intensity among the chairs.  Another option to add color would be different colored cushions on your couch or a collection of colorful glass vases etc…


Now that you have created your color palette we can start thinking of textures in my next post (Step 10). One thing is very important… don’t create unnecessary stress if all the colors don’t reflect 100% the situation you’re trying to achieve. Perfection doesn’t reflect life. By following these steps your new environment should reflect your situation, who you are and what you like. At the end of the day it’s really about feeling good isn’t it? 

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