• Jun 16, 2015
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The Do's & Don'ts of Color Combos

Color Designer Q&A Articles Blues/Purples Grays/Blacks Greens Living Room Outdoor Pinks/Reds Traditional Transitional Vintage Yellows/Oranges

Color combinations have the potential to make your home more personal and to tie your room together.  However, making color combinations work is easier said than done.  Some color combinations create an unpleasant effect, while a combination of too many colors could make your room look too scattered.  Even lighting can affect your color choices.  Make your colors come together beautifully with our color combo do’s and don’ts!

Do use complementary colors.

paint colors

Photo Credit left to right: Photos.HGTV.com, RoomStyler.com

Complementary colors make choosing a color palette easy for you.  These colors are meant to be used together – red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple.  While these original color combos look great together, you may also want to use different shades of each color.  For example, combine yellow with a light lilac for a beautiful, bright room.Don’t use Christmas colors.

Don't use Christmas colors.

Although red and green are complementary colors, you run the risk of making your home look like Santa’s workshop if you choose to use them.  Instead, get the same complementary effect by combining green with a paler pink shade.

paint colors

Photo Credit clockwise from bottom left: ButtercupBungalow.Blogspot.com, Lushome.com, Passiondecor-de-marieclaude.tumblr.com

Do use the 60-30-10 rule.

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The 60-30-10 rule is essential when using more than one color in your room.  It says that your room should have a dominant color, a secondary color, and an accent color.  Design your room with 60% of your dominant color, 30% of your secondary color, and 10% of your accent color.  In the design above, Catherine-Lucie Horber used the 60-30-10 rule by making 60% of the room white, 30% blue, and 10% purple.  This rule also applies to designing, decorating, or painting other things like the exterior of your home or a piece of furniture.

Don't use more than three colors.

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The 60-30-10 rule focuses on only three colors for a reason.  Using too many colors could overwhelm your room and make it look mismatched.  Sticking with a maximum of three colors makes your space neat and tied together.

Do use sunlight to your advantage.

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If your room has windows that are north facing, cool colors are a good choice.  This lighting will show your colors as they are in the most natural way.  If your room has windows that are south facing, the sunlight will be intense on your walls and furniture.  Accentuate this type of sunlight with warm colors like the photo above.  If your room doesn’t have sunlight at all, consider which colors you’d like to use based on what kind of lighting you have.  Learn more about lighting with Benjamin Moore’s Color Guide for Home Decorating.

Don't ignore lighting when choosing colors.

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Seriously consider how you want your colors to look in your home before choosing them.  Do you want your colors enhanced or muted in your home?  Lighting makes a big difference for colors.  Depending on what kinds of natural light and artificial light your home has, your furniture and paint could look completely different in the store than it does in your home.  The designer of the bedroom above chose cool colors for this room because of the natural light it gets in the morning.

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