How to Pick a Color Scheme

Having trouble picking the perfect color scheme for your next decorating project? Check out these inspirational ideas that will help you choose the ideal hues.

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  • 1 of 17

    Take Colors from a Rug

    A rug is the foundation for a room. Draw from colors featured in a pattern rug to create a cohesive look.

    Editor's Tip: To add more dimension to your color scheme, incorporate different textures.

  • 2 of 17

    Use Fabric as a Cue

    Find a fabric you love and use it to inspire a room's color scheme. See how to successfully base a scheme on a fabric with these smart tips.

  • 3 of 17

    Be Inspired by Art

    Art adds personality to a room. Using it as a foundation creates a great color scheme as seen in this European-inspired bedroom.

    Editor's Tip: If choosing a wall color from your artwork, go one or two shades lighter to ensure the art will pop.

  • 4 of 17

    Pick Your Favorite Color

    You are sure to love your room if you choose your favorite color to be the base of the scheme as in this orange and blue bedroom.

    Editor's Tip: Balance bold hues with white, off-white, or one harmonizing shade through the accents and secondary elements.

  • 5 of 17

    Stick with a Classic Combo

    Blue and white, green and blue, red and brown -- you can't go wrong when you stick to classic combos like this blue-and-yellow cotage living room.

    Editor's Tip: To jazz up a classic combo accessorize with punchy accents.

  • 6 of 17

    Dress Your Windows

    Use window treatment fabric to set a color scheme in your room. Draw from the fabric's main hues, then distribute those hues throughout the room with pieces of furniture and accessories.

    Editor's Tip: Try to incorporate similar colors through your furniture. For example, the yellow from the Roman shades appears on the dining chairs.

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    Dark Color Schemes

    Consider the mood you want to set in a room. See how dark colors can bring depth and richness to a space.

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    Bright Color Scheme

    On the converse, bright colors can create a peppy vibe and can bring life to cavelike rooms.

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    Use Hues of a Collectible

    Be inspired by colors featured in your collection, such as the pair of green glass jugs in this display, that complements the beach theme throughout the home.

    Editor's Tip: Display your collection in a spot everyone will see, such as in an open bookcase or on a floating shelf.

  • 10 of 17

    Draw from a Pillow

    Pick shades from a color-filled pillow just like this one. To make the pillow the feature piece in the room, choose a light tone for the wall color, such as soft salmon pink in this case.

    Editor's Tip: Relying on color combos featured in window treatments, pillows, or upholstered furniture is a sure bet for a good scheme because the combinations were created by design professionals.

  • 11 of 17

    Consider a Theme

    Decorating themes often incorporate a color theme such as this beach-inspired bedroom, which features classic blue and white.

    Editor's Tip: To give a theme a modern twist, brighten up the hues, such as swapping the light blue for a bold aqua in this case.

  • 12 of 17

    Look in Your Closet

    Love the look of your favorite outfit? Translate it into a room. Start with the color scheme, then accessorize with items that radiate the style of your clothes.

    Editor's Tip: Bring pieces of the outfit with you as you shop for the accessories in the room. You never know what you might find; for example, the houndstooth pillow in this living room matches the houndstooth coat.

  • 13 of 17

    Draw from an Accessory

    Charming vases, frames, and other accessories offer inspiration in their lively hues -- such as this display of green picture frames. The pretty Kelly green of the frames inspired the rest of the home's color scheme.

    Editor's Tip: Be sure your accessories are showcased prominently in the room to support the scheme.

  • 14 of 17

    Set the Atmosphere

    Serene, cozy, vibrant ... Pick hues based on the way you want to feel when you walk into the room. For example, the relaxing white and linen beige tones used in this bedroom present a cozy atmosphere.

    Editor's Tip: Make a list of the words you want associated with this room, then pair those words with colors that come to mind to create the perfect scheme.

  • 15 of 17

    Base It on a Piece of Furniture

    When starting fresh in a room, choose a piece of furniture you want to center the room around. This living room's color palette was based on colors that work with the orange velvet sofa.r.

    Editor's Tip: If your feature piece of furniture is bold, such as this sofa, keep the rest of the furniture in the room should be more subdued. Then accessorize with pops of color.

  • 16 of 17

    Start with Wallpaper

    As wallpaper continues to make its comeback, consider it as the foundation of your color scheme. The whimsical white and gold pattern on the wallpaper in this room inspired the use of yellows throughout the bedroom.

    Editor's Tip: If your wallpaper is very bold, use it to dress up one wall, then paint the other walls in a coordinating color.

  • Next Slideshow Nature-Inspired Color Palettes

    Nature-Inspired Color Palettes

    Bring the great outdoors inside! Take your hue cues from Mother Nature and build decorating themes and color schemes that are sure to please through every season.
    Begin Slideshow »

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