What if your primary fabric (on a sofa or bed) is a solid color? Suddenly you're faced with too many choices. To narrow the field, refer to the color wheel for ideas about which colors will harmonize with your solid.
Think about how those colors make you feel. Are you comfortable with intense color on the walls or do you prefer softer, lighter, or more muted shades? After you narrow your choices, apply test swatches to the walls or to pieces of poster board to see how the colors work with your furnishings.
Denim blue upholstery with red piping, for example, might suggest yellow, red, coral, or periwinkle for the walls. Yellow would be warm, red or coral would be vibrant, and periwinkle would be calming.
Starting with a solid-color fabric yields a more evolved, less matched look. It also gives you more freedom to choose a color you love.
You can apply this approach to any color of upholstery fabric: Work your way around the color wheel or connect across it to find a partner for the fabric. Repeat the wall color in some other element of the room, whether accessories or floor covering, and do the same for the upholstery fabric to weave the separate strands of color into a unified whole.
Continued on page 4: Light and Color