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Expert advice: picking a color scheme

Ros Anderson 1/14/2016 5:12:04 PM Home Decor and Design, Inspiration

If you’ve ever decorated a home from scratch then you’ll know that picking just the right colors can be fun – but agonizing! How do you make sure that each room works while the whole space flows too? Should you follow rules or your instincts? And what happens if you make a mistake? This is where a color consultant comes in, an expert who will suggest color combinations and schemes for your project, taking the stress out of the whole process. We spoke to color consultant Amy Wax, author of best-seller Can't Fail Color Schemes, about how she develops a scheme, the latest color trends… and if any colors are really off-limits.

How do you start working with a client on a color scheme?

"What motivates my process of working with a client has always started with exploring who they are, and what they are trying to accomplish in their home or office.  If a homeowner is trying to create a mood or feeling from a time period that they love, or if they want to create a quiet soothing mood in their home, both of those are concepts that I can accomplish by choosing the right colors for their space."

Do you look at a house room by room, or do you work on a concept for the whole property?

"My first step is to establish a direction for the whole property. I might not be working on colors for every room but incorporating the colors of every space is of utmost importance as the colors have to flow to create a cohesive design."

Do you have any specific rules?

"I do not have specific rules. Every homeowner is unique and their needs will give me a sense of direction as to where I will go with choosing colors for them. That being said there are universal concepts such as not choosing bright colors for a calming space, or understated colors in a more energetic space."

Can you tell us what’s on trend at the moment?

"Over the last year, I have found that people are using very understated colors, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, more energized colors; two extremes. The recent emphasis on cooler neutrals has been fun and inspiring to work with. Those colors would include both lighter and darker grays, with a hint of color such as blue grays, taupe/grays, you get the idea. I have also found people more open to intensely bright colors in small accents: corals, lime greens, oranges, lavenders and even brighter yellows. These opposing trends have opened people up to trying new ideas, and I love seeing that process happening more and more!"

What about the outside of the house?

"The exterior of a home represents the people that live inside. I explore what kind of statement they want to make with the outside of their home, while respecting the architecture, original design and neighborhood if at all possible. It is well worth investing in the colors of the exterior of your home. Having chosen exterior colors for many people, the architectural style, colors and details take on a new sense of importance once the process is complete. The end result is a sense of pride in your home, that makes the whole process well worth it."

Find see more of Amy Wax's work and books visit her website. Or check out her regular blog, Color911. She is also the creator of the Color911 decorating app.

To find out more about the colors we offer, check out our gallery.