Home Decorating 3: Choosing Home Decor Base Colors ***
(Part 3 Of A 4-Part Series)
Click here for Part 1: AlsPlumbing.com Home Decorating 1: Finding Your Decor Style
Click here for Part 2: Alsplumbing.com Home Decorating 2: Planning
*** Base-Color Items: Wood Floors & Tile, Carpet, Cabinets, Trim, & Interior Doors, and Walls (to a lesser degree).
This multi-part article strives to provide a resource for those who are starting out in home decorating, or those who want a new look for their home. This article is intended to help you: determine your decor style preference, create a decorating plan, then make it all happen with modest investments of time and money.
This article will not likely be of value for someone: who is a seasoned home decorator, seeking to add multiple layers of decor, or has a large decorating budget.
We have included many links to additional resources that will make your Home-Decorating Journey: Informative, Interesting, Enjoyable, & Easier. The linked resources come from many well known & respected sources such as HGTV (Home & Garden Television).
Minimizing Risk When Choosing Home Decor Base Colors **
This section discusses Minimizing The Risk Of (Future) Outdated Home Decor Colors on expensive items. Base-Color Items are: ** Wood Floors, Tile, Carpet, Cabinets, Trim & Interior Doors, and (to a notably lesser degree) wall colors. Home Decor Colors on base items have a tremendous impact on the home’s future appeal, and its ability to sell quickly & for top dollar.
Because these items are expensive and stay with the home, trendy colors create notable risk. As trendy colors to out of style, base color items: outdate the home, tells when the home was built, create large expense when initially installed, and create a 2nd round of large expenses if the items must be replaced due to outdated colors.
Particular consideration should be taken when selecting trendy colors, as they will go out of style. Base-Color Items typically stay with the home until: the item wears out & needs replaced, or is worn from use and needs a new finish. Unless you are sure you are going to be in the home for that long, consider this rule. If the color wasn’t around 15 years ago, it’s likely it won’t be around 15 years from now.
Depending on your age, you will remember some or all of these highly fashionable colors and color-trends. None of which are around today…
Mauve Almond Bleached (both cabinets and trim)
Seafoam Green Designer-White / White-On-White (all white) kitchen
Sponge Painting Damask Wallpaper.
When the items above were installed, most were at the height of fashion. The problem is, highly fashionable colors & color-trends go out of style once the next trendy new “look” arrives. If the colors are outdated before the items wear out, you are faced with replacing items in perfectly good condition because of their color. BTW, this is exactly what the manufacturers want you to do. The sooner you get tired of the outdated color, the sooner you are likely to replace something that’s still in good condition.
Want to see several more? Click Here: ElleDecor.com Outdated Home Decor Trends
Wallpaper is a huge commitment. Wallpaper is difficult to install, and often even worse to remove. It’s extremely personal, and not likely to appeal to future owners. Give considerable thought before installing wallpaper. If you choose to install it, prime the walls first, as this allows for dry-stripping of wallpaper later. Skipping that step creates a huge mess when wallpaper is being removed.
There are many of us (including this article’s author) who have had nightmare experiences with wallpaper removal. After one or more experiences, there is often a knee-jerk reaction to discovering a home they are interested in buying has any wallpaper, much less is loaded with it. If you choose to install it, expect to remove it if you want top dollar for your home. Wallpaper is more of a luxury home decor item. It’s for those with the money to pay for professional installation and removal. If that’s not you, stick to painted walls.
Will Today’s Home Decor Colors & Color-Trends Go Out Of Style?
Were they around 15 years ago? There are timeless colors, and there are trendy ones. The colors shown above came & went. They were very popular in their heyday, but failed the “15 Years Ago” Test. The colors described below are more timeless. The two groups are neutrals and earth-tones. We describe both below.
- The more neutral a color is: Black, White, Gray, & Beige — the more timeless the color will be.
- Earth-tones are also less likely to go out of style.
- An earth-tone is a color drawn from a palette of colors found in nature: Browns, Tans, Warm Grays, Greens, + some Reds, Oranges & Blues.
- Earth-tone colors are muted, emulating the colors of: rocks, dirt, moss, grass, trees, & oceans.
- Natural stones like marble and granite have been around for decades upon decades. This makes them an item with staying-power.
- Stainless-Steel, quite stylish today, has also been around many decades. It’s safe it’s timeless too. One of the most enduring is a kitchen stainless-steel sink.
These stylish bathrooms include both earth-tones, neutral colors & natural stone. This kitchen shows neutral & earth-tones, natural stone & Stainless appliances.
Both doors are a neutral color, so quite timeless. More neutrals and earth-tones.
It’s currently pretty easy to have home decor colors that both high-fashion today, plus leaning toward timeless. Most of what is out there, for mainstream homes, is fashioned from earth-tones and neutral colors.
Keep these tips in mind when choosing base colors for: Wood Floors & Tile, Carpet, Cabinets, Trim, & Interior Doors, and (to a notably lesser degree) Walls. If the color (other than walls) deviates from earth-tones and neutrals, there is increased risk that it will go out of style.
Home Decor Colors And Visual-Flow Throughout The Home
Good Visual-Flow Makes A Home Seem More Cohesive & Peaceful.
Poor Visual-Flow Can Become Disjointing & Jarring.
Home decor colors in the same color-palate and style of furnishings will visually flow effortlessly. Many of us, however, prefer a home with rooms with different “personalities”. A good example is a formal living room versus an informal family room. They have different purposes, and thus will have different personalities. These personalities are largely created with different decor themes. These tips will allow for rooms to appear different from each other, without visually chopping up your home as you move within it.
Visual-Flow Throughout The Home Will Be Enhanced With These Suggestions
Use The Same Color (Or Same Color-Palate).
One color, color-palate, or similar color-undertones creates visual-flow. A visual-plane with several paint colors can be visually jarring.
Use The Same Flooring, OR Mix Flooring Materials Within A Single Color-Palate.
Same flooring helps with visual-transitions. ^ Different colors chopped this space into small areas
^ (center) One color-palate creates a graceful visual-transition between different flooring materials. ^
Keep Trim & Doors One Color. Doors can be a different color than trim.
One color provides visual-flow. One color for all doors & trim works well too. Pick any color, just limit it to one. Neutrals are best.
Carry One Style Throughout — OR Use The 80/20 Rule
Often a home has only one decor style throughout. Other homes may have completely different styles from room to room. For visual-flow between rooms, there needs to be some common elements of decor from room to room.
If this living room and dining room are in the same house, there is no visual-flow among them. Their decor styles and colors are too different. This demonstrates the benefit and merit of discovering your decor style before purchasing furniture.
The 80/20 Rule Increases Visual-Flow
If these living & dining room home decor colors were in the same home as the owner’s suite (on the right), they flow well. Though having different color-palates, these rooms share the same transitional styled furniture & decor. This is an example of the 80/20 Rule.
While the rooms on the left have a neutral, gray color-palate, and the bedroom has a neutral, beige color-palate, the majority of these two rooms share a similar element of decor (transitional). Also, mixing neutrals in different spaces within a home typically works well.
Do These Two Rooms Have Visual Flow (disregarding the floors)? YES, because they share have orange furniture & accents and eclectic-style furnishings.
How About This Formal Living Room (left) & Informal Family Room (right) In The Same Home? YES, because they have a similar style of home decor (country) + wall colors from the same color-palate. The more formal English-Country decor is in the formal living room (left), with the less formal Country in the family room (right).
Their accent colors are quite different — blue & gold in the living room with white & red in the family room. While these two rooms decor are notably different at a glance, they still follow the 80 /20 Rule. Your decor will likely have nuances — in this case, there are notably different colors on furniture and area rugs.
Does This Living Room (left) And Family Room (right) Work Within The Same Home? YES, their furniture style is different, but all other decor elements are similar. This includes: wall color, plants, and decorative accessories colors. The furnishings and area-rugs also share a neutral color-palate.
In this case, the living room is more formal (with transitional furniture), and the family room is more casual (with wicker furniture). This aligns with the intended use of the two rooms, and follows the 80 / 20 Rule. *
* 80 / 20 Rule of Decorating (a guideline, not a rule). For good visual-flow throughout the house – Keep 80% of all rooms’ decor similar in color and style. Then, personalize each room with 20% of the decor unique to each room. You can certainly adjust these percentages, as they are not set in stone.
Wall Colors (Same Color-Palates or Undertones) Enhances Visual-Flow
Mixing wall colors within the same room or visual-plane (a visual-plane is a sight-line that includes 2 or more spaces), may make a space more visually interesting.
To ensure a good end-result works, it’s best to:
- Choose Colors within the Same Color Family, or the Same Undertones. Using colors within the same family, or undertones, creates a more harmonious home.
Example: Beige with a green under tone (left). Beige with a pink undertone (center). A Color chart of beige’s with several undertones, including: gold, ivory, pink, green, gray & various browns.
- Many paint companies make it easy to choose complimenting colors. They assemble all of them on one color(s) sample. In the sample below, the beige (left) has a green undertone. The suggested accent color is green with a beige undertone. Also suggested are ceiling, trimwork, and accent-wall color.
- Notably different colors disjoints rooms that share the same visual-plane.
Example: Adjoining rooms painted different colors. Adjoining rooms in the same color.
- Disjointing colors (within the same visual-plane) can work well in large homes. In a small home, it can create a dizzying array of colors, or a “patchwork quilt effect”.
Alternating neutrals with accent colors visually-softens bright colors while punching up neutral colors.
- Bright accent colors, side by side, may become too bold & competitive.
Bright / Bold Accent Colors Side By Side
All neutral home decor colors from the same color-family may make the room visually one-dimensional.
Alternating Neutral & Accent Colors provides a visual-break from color to color.
BTW: We show photos to demonstrate what we described. This is not to say a photo shows a “bad example” — rather only to give a visual-representation of a description.
- Enhance With Accessories. Accessories help tie different color rooms together. Consider adding 3 items within each room with the same accent color. Examples: accent (throw) pillows, decorative accessories, floral arrangements.
- Same Color Moldings. Matching trim-moldings color throughout the home helps bring different colored rooms together, while still allowing each to have its own color personality.
Best Colors For Resale
From a home resale standpoint, the best two current wall colors are within a neutral beige or gray color-palate. But for those who want colors beyond what’s “safe”, there are ways to incorporate more colors within a room, without having to repaint when you sell. Different color-palates can work, though ensuring visual flow among rooms becomes more entailed.
Frequently Used Ways To Subtly Add More Home Decor Colors
Accent-Wall: One Wall With A Different Color Than The Other 3
If you want rooms with different wall colors. Here are two of the easiest ways:
- Paint an accent-wall a different shade (or undertone) of the primary wall color.
Light gray walls with an accent wall in mid-tone gray.
- Paint an accent-wall an accent color that compliments the primary wall color.
Light gray walls with accent wall in complimenting blue.
- TIP: Choose paint samples that provide a complimenting accent wall color.
GRAY Is A Combination Of White & Black (neutrals) Paint Colors.
These Accent Colors work well with Gray:
- yellow, royal purple/blue
- orange, blue
- red, emerald, green/blue
- magenta, bright (Kelly green)
- purple, chartreuse, yellow/green
- royal purple/blue yellow
- blue, orange
- emerald green, blue red
For more color:
- use a chair-rail to separate two shades of the same color
- include an accent wall in a complimenting color
- accents in a complimenting color
Accents that go with you when you move are the easiest way to add color to any room. Simply remove them before listing the home for sale, to ensure the color-scheme is as neutral as possible. Using two shades of the same color (with accent wall or chair rail) is the next best way to add color without having to repaint. Having an accent wall in any color you want requires only one wall to be repainted to neutralize the color-scheme for selling.
Two shades of same color on walls. Accent wall in complimenting color Walls in one color + complimenting-color accents.
BEIGE Is A Combination Of White & Brown Paint Colors.
These Accent Colors work well with Beige:
- Beige: blue, brown, emerald, black, red, white.
- Light-brown: pale-yellow, cream-white, blue, green, purple, red.
- Dark-brown: lime-yellow, cyan, mint green, purple-pink, lime.
Beige walls & darker beige / taupe accent-wall. Beige walls (with green under-tone) and complimenting-color accents.
Want More Home Decor Colors On Walls Within The Same Space?
From a resale standpoint, adding additional wall colors increases the likelihood that you will need to repaint when getting ready to sell. If the additional colors are assorted shades within one color-palate, that risk is lowered.
Shown: A foyer with 3 shades of beige paint from Behr Paints. To see more Behr Paint colors, click here: Behr Paint Colors
This Section (part 3 of 4) detailed the future problems that choosing trendy Home Decor Base Colors can cause. Base-Color Items Include: Wood Floors & Tile, Carpet, Cabinets, Trim, & Interior Doors, and Walls (to a lesser degree). Because these items have a long lifespan, their manufacturers offer trendy colors for those seeking a home at the height of fashion.
In most cases, these highly fashionable Home Decor Colors are a trend, and go out of style long before the items need replaced or refinished. This creates the desire to replace or refinish items that are in good condition, only because of their outdated color.
We detailed how to minimize the risk of choosing trendy Home Decor Colors, by choosing neutrals and earth-tones colors. We discussed the “15 Years Ago Question” for Home Decor Colors. Was the color around 15 years ago? If not, it won’t be around 15 years from now.
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