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Introducing Color Theory Part 6: Color Schemes in Practice

September 9, 2017

Color becomes quite intimidating when large projects require a variety of color schemes. It becomes a challenge generating a variety of color schemes suitable for each space.
When it comes time to develop a color scheme after the space has already been built, many of us come to this roadblock because it doesn’t cross our minds to think of the color selection earlier in the design development. In Pile’s book, it is recommended that as a designer, we should mentally think of a color concept in the beginning of the design project. As more details develop throughout the design process, that preliminary color selection is incorporated in the process and it won’t be a huge headache when selecting a color schemes! So where exactly should you start?

For beginners, first create a list of places that will involve the use of color. Common places that colors are typically involved: Walls, Ceiling, Floors, and then more specific places would be: trim, window treatments, furniture, art and accessories. It might also be helpful to keep a list of which location such as: living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc.

As previously discussed, grouping different colors help create a color scheme that is appropriate for the space. Start by collecting color chips, paint swatches, or samples and know the options that each material might come in or might not come in. It is important to know what is available, because it will either limit or expand your color presentation and scheme.

Another important tip to keep in mind is if the material is already available in that natural color. For example, wood paneling, if the wood’s natural color is walnut or mahogany, it is not necessary to stain the material and limit your options.

When collecting color chips, begin with one color first and then adding additional colors based on the relationship with the first color. This will guide you to which color scheme you are leaning towards. Consider the light that will also be in the space, as that will also effect the color selection.

There are so many different colors out there that picking just one color might be difficult. If that is the case, there might be a key color that is determined by the pre-existing architectural elements (brick wall, stone floor). Try relating a color to the featured structures of the house. You might also want to think of the orientation or climate of the space, as that could be the key to keeping the room towards the cool or warm colors.

Designers often start with a neutral scheme, or “all-neutral”. This color scheme creates calmness and dignity in the space and is considered a monochromatic color scheme. Often, this route is thought of as easy and safe because it would be difficult to make a major mistake with this color scheme. All-white scheme with primary accents is a bold color scheme and can become playful. This color scheme was developed in 1920 “with the De Stijl movement and the influence of the Bauhaus” (Piles 92).

If you are unfamiliar with the different effects of color, my next post will introduce a little about the psychological impact of different colors to the human brain.

Hope this post was helpful 😊
Here below are a few examples of different colors schemes that you could use.

All paint chips are from Sherwin Williams.

For Bath color selections. I thought of keeping the space clean and pure; so I leaned towards the cool colors and added a neutral.

Currently, we have a mock client asking for a Spanish style remodel.

I started out with these colors below:

Then based on the mock client’s preference as well as our team collecting a few other color chips; we collaborated to finalize the colors to tone the colors down a little.


Happy Saturday!!



“Be full of acceptance of yourself and others, without conditions or judging, knowing that difference and changes make life interesting. appreciate the gifts of laughter and fun in your life, and find contentment in knowing that you can always control your ability to look on the bright side” -Barbara Cage.

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