How to Choose a Color Palette for Your Interior Design Project

November 16, 2023


Color can transform a space, evoke emotions, and create a distinct atmosphere. Selecting the right color palette is a fundamental step in any interior design project, but with endless shades and combinations, it can be overwhelming.

Let's look at how to navigate the spectrum to find the perfect palette for your space.

Understand Color Psychology

Before diving into samples and swatches, consider the psychology of color. Different hues can inspire various feelings and moods, such as:

  • Blues and greens are calming and are great for bedrooms or offices.
  • Warm tones like red and orange are energizing — suitable for living spaces or kitchens.
  • Neutrals provide a backdrop for furniture and art to stand out.

Assess the Space

Lighting and size influence how colors look and feel in a room. Use light colors to make small spaces feel larger and darker shades to add coziness to spacious areas.

Consider the natural and artificial light sources, as they can alter the color's appearance throughout the day.

Create a Color Scheme

A monochromatic scheme uses various shades and tints of a single color to create an elegant and serene environment. For a more natural and soothing space, consider an analogous scheme, which employs colors that sit side by side on the color wheel. A complementary scheme, using colors opposite each other on the wheel, introduces a bold and spirited vibe, perfect for more dynamic, energetic spaces.

Draw Inspiration from Key Pieces

In the western suburbs of Chicago, the unique Midwestern light can affect how colors are perceived. As you draw inspiration from key pieces, consider how the natural light affects your color choices. Allow the elements you already love to lead your color choices. A cherished piece of art or a treasured heirloom can be the perfect starting point for your color palette, providing a personalized touch. Use one or two predominant colors from these items as your anchor hues.


Testing is key to ensuring your selected colors work in your selected space. Invest in sample paint pots and observe how the colors interact with the room's lighting and your existing decor at different times. This process will prevent future regrets and help you visualize the final look, ensuring that your chosen palette brings out the best in your space.

Tips for a Cohesive Palette

Here are some quick tips for ensuring a cohesive palette:

  • Start with Neutrals: Begin with a neutral base and layer in colors for depth and character.
  • Balance Warm and Cool: Combine warm and cool tones to create balance.
  • Use the 60-30-10 Rule: 60% of the room should be the dominant color, 30% the secondary color, and 10% an accent color for a harmonious blend.
  • Consider Transitions: Think about how the color palette will flow from room to room for a seamless transition.

Trust Your Instincts

While trends can be a great source of inspiration, ensure your color palette reflects your personal style and the ambiance you want to create. Trust your instincts — if you're drawn to a color, explore it.

Your home is your canvas, so don't be afraid to experiment with hues that bring you joy.


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