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A SIMPLE PALETTE


CHOOSING COLORS FOR YOUR HOME
It isn't rocket science to choose colors for your walls, but it can sure feel like it.  It is a lot easier if you keep it simple.   If you choose a simple palette and carry it throughout your entire house, your home will feel pulled together and the design will flow from room to room instead of feeling 'chopped up'.  

Take the room above as an example.  The palette is simple:  Gray/White/Tan.  
The dominant color in this room is gray, then white or cream, and the accent color is tan.  
For blog purposes, I'm going to pretend these rooms are all in the same house. 
Continuing this simple palette to the dining room - the grey and white are dominant, the tan has been deepened to the wood tones and black (a neutral that you can use no matter your palette) has been added for drama.  Formal dining rooms are meant to be a little dramatic, right?

In the bathroom, tan/beige is dominant, with pale gray walls and dark gray towels.  The granite is a mix of both grays and tans and there are white accents in the molding, beadboard wainscoat and mats for the artwork.

The kitchen's dominant color is white.  The stool seats are dark gray, the sofa lighter gray and the backsplash has beige/tan in it.


 The formal living room is predominantly gray, next most used color is tan in the seagrass rug, wood tones and fabric accents, and white is the accent.  Black is used for contrast and to ground the room.

In this room, Tan is the dominant color, with white as secondary and gray is barely acknowledged.  Black is used for contrast and as accent. 
Simple, right?
You can also change the saturation of colors from room to room - another hue of gray, from silver to charcoal or even black, can take the place of a lighter gray.  The tan can range from beige to deeper brown.  Although each room will be different, the colors will flow throughout the house.   If done correctly, any piece of furniture or accessory from one room will look equally at place in any other room, and the house will feel unified....

QUESTION FROM SHERRY
Hi Claudine,   Thank you so much for your blog. It has so much information, very detailed explanations.  I've been browsing a lot of interior design blogs for the past few days, I find yours gives the most useful information.  I need a little help picking a living room paint color. Please see attached photo. I bought Benjamin moore eggshell paint already, but haven't mixed the color yet. I had "Honey Harbor" in mind before reading your blog. Now, I am not sure anymore...haha....Here are some information about my living room:
1. Behind the TV, there's a porch facing west; and the blinds are closed for most the time. So the room does not get much sunshine.
2. The floor is hard wood with cherry red color.
3. Leather sofa is from Sears, Natuzzi, dark brown.
4. TV bench is from Ikea, dark brown with glass door; and I found somewhat matching coffee table with glass top.

I sewed the pillow/cushion on the sofa from ikea fabric. Wanted to give some bring colors to the room. (I love knitting and sewing!).  The current wall color is builder's white. I wanted something neutral beige color (to match the dark brown sofa?), but would not make the room darker. But after reading your blog, I am not sure that will be the only option now. 
So, I am open for any suggestions.
Thank you very much!  Sherry


Dear Sherry:
So happy you enjoy the blog.  I loved seeing the photos of your living room.  What we seem to be lacking is a defined color palette.  All of your pieces are well chosen and very neutral - with the exception of the small touch of color in the fabric you used for your pillows.  Since I don't know the colors you love or the things that inspire you, I will assume that the red in that fabric is something you love and want to use in the room.   We have RED, you need to choose one or two more colors that go with your red - say gray and gold for example. 

Benjamin Moore Barren Plain

this room above has a simple palette of red/gray and black.
this room as the same palette of red/black/gray

You can take the gold and use a pale version - such as the Honey Harbor you were thinking of for your wall color, change your lampshade color to red, hang gray and white or gray and gold curtain panels to the sides of your windows, add pillows in grays and gold to go with the red/white you have
to your sofas, and add a gray area rug.    Below you can see how red really makes a strong impact in a room - and because of that it needs to be balanced throughout the room 
so its not too heavy on one side.

Alternatively, with that same palette, you could paint the walls a silvery light gray (Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray or Silver Moon for example), add gold toned curtains, the same trick with the pillows, and a red or gold toned rug. 

via
Benjamin Moore Hazy Skies wall color
Bring more light into the room by painting your moldings and trim fresh white, adding more lamps for task lighting, some white accessories in the form of lamp bases, pottery, etc, and keeping the wall
color light.   I would definitely paint some color samples onto the walls to see how the colors look in your space before deciding on a color.    
Good luck!  Let me know what you decide on.

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