Color accounts for most of our response to something, whether it is the dominant color on the walls that surround us or the accent color in two pillows on the couch. Our response to color is significant, which is why you will want to take some time planning the color scheme in your home.
Color is completely personal – everyone has their favorite – so you probably already have an idea about which colors you would want to use in your home. But to create a feeling of unity, you will want to ensure your color choices achieve a harmonious flow throughout the entire house.
Go With the Flow
The key to creating a balanced flow is to paint rooms with colors that relate to one another.
If your rooms are separated by closed doors this might not seem necessary. Paint your hallways a neutral color and each room that branches off from the hallway can be a different color.
If you live in a home with a more open floor plan, you’ll want to give each space its own identity but maintain a similar theme throughout to achieve cohesiveness. Colors that relate draw the eye from one room to the next to create a pleasing flow.
By creating a colorful relationship between spaces, your home will have a harmonious feel.
Pick Your Favorite
If you love lots of color, you can achieve flow and give each room its own character by selecting one hue to be the unifying thread. This color can run throughout the open spaces of your home in various tones and amounts, giving each room its own color personality while achieving cohesiveness. This joining element can even be achieved through woodwork – baseboards, door and window frames, and molding at the ceiling.
Even consider using the same color, just in different tones, throughout the public spaces of the home. You’ll get a little variation while still maintaining a visual flow.
If you want to be more subtle, you can keep walls neutral and highlight color through accessories, fabrics, and furniture. Use this color in various places throughout each room instead of concentrated in one place.
Crosslink with Color
Many homes now feature rooms that connect physically and visually, separated only by a partial wall. To paint each area a different color, use the partial wall or peninsula as the dividing line.
Unify the two areas by using the same trim color throughout, and reinforce that connection by bringing touches of each area's color into the other. For a smooth transition, choose two colors that are closely related and similar in value. Use the color wheel to help you determine complementary colors.
If you paint adjoining rooms in strongly contrasting colors, one way to connect them is by using flooring or area rugs that include both colors.
The wall and rug hues don't have to match exactly; one can be slightly darker or lighter than the other, and the eye will still perceive them as closely related.
Hardwood floors or neutral carpet throughout adjoining rooms are another way to visually connect the spaces and down-play contrasting colors on the walls.
Unify with White Trim
Painting all of the trim throughout the house the same color of white is a no-fail way to create a sense of flow from room to room, even with contrasting paint colors.
There are many shades of white, so select wall colors first, then choose a white that works with all of them. A sour-cream white contrasts crisply with bold colors and harmonizes with softer ones. In developing the color scheme for your house, select colors that create the mood you would like to achieve and that also emphasize the area's openness and the way the spaces flow into one another.
White trim ensures that these spaces look connected, and reinforces the effect with subliminal cues or markers to make people feel anchored as they move through your house.
Choose a Limited Palette
Open floor plans, whether in a suburban home, a condominium, or an apartment, allow architects to maximize the feeling of space without increasing square footage. That doesn't mean you have to paint all of the connecting spaces one color.
Continuity can be achieved by limiting your palette to two or three colors that you use in different amounts, applications, or intensities throughout the house to produce a wide range of effects. Each room will have its own personality while your home maintains a unified look and feel.
Getting just the right color may require several trips to the paint store until you get the right shade. It's important that the wall colors in adjoining spaces be of equal intensity so they balance visually. In the upholstery, rugs, and accessories, however, the color scheme can play out in a range of tones to create variety and interest.
Play with Light
It's a simple fact that light changes the appearance of any given color. Take the same can of yellow paint and apply it to two rooms, one that receives little natural light and another that's flooded with sunshine, and it will look like two different colors.
To achieve a feeling of continuity between two room and still give each room a subtly different feeling, exaggerate this effect: Choose two closely related hues and apply the lighter one to the sunniest space, imbuing it with a sunny feeling all day long.
Armed with these tips, you’re ready to head to the paint store and begin choosing the colors for your home.