Color Combinations for Every Room and Every Mood
Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt overstimulated and on edge, even with no one else around? What could be causing such intense feelings? You may not realize it, but the colors we’re surrounded with have a way of influencing our moods and perceptions. They make us feel comfortable or anxious, and they affect how we perceive ourselves and others.
This phenomenon is referred to as color psychology. It describes how the brain and body react to certain tones. Artists and interior designers alike understand how colors impact moods and even cause physiological reactions, such as increased blood pressure, decreased metabolism, or eyestrain. Many of these innate responses have to do with the cultural significance behind a specific color. Warm colors (red, orange and yellow) are perceived as warm or hostile, depending on the shade, and cool colors (green, blue and purple) can feel soothing or sad.
From the ancient Egyptians, who used colors in a healing practice called chromotherapy, to the modern day, humans have not taken the selection of shades lightly. Whether you’ve done it subconsciously or on purpose, the colors you pick to adorn yourself and your home have meaning behind them. Creating a sense of harmony in your home often comes down to choosing a good color scheme. No matter your interior decorating style, these color combinations for every room will be compatible with any home!
For many people, the living room is the hearth of the home. It’s the social hub where family and friends come together to chat about life, enjoy entertainment as a group or celebrate special occasions. The space should feel warm and inviting without inducing drowsiness or giving people headaches.
Living room color combinations are possibly the most creative and versatile of them all. It’s an area where you don’t have to be afraid to go bold and can pick colors that truly come alive. Combinations of moss green, pink and olive green — or turquoise, jade and yellow — make sense and look fantastic. The goal is to make the space feel bright, airy and happy while striving for a balance between masculine and feminine details.
You may have noticed that variations of the color green appeared in both sample color schemes. This is because green is the easiest color on the eyes, and it also happens to be a good middle-ground between gender expressions. However, if you’d rather not have green be the foundation of your room, a foolproof idea you could use is covering the room in neutrals and then adding one bold color. You could anchor the living room with shades of gray or opt for the crispness of black and white, instead. Then you can introduce a vivid, saturated color through smaller decorations, or one big statement piece.
Furnishings like your coffee table or bookcase can have a dark wood finish and still coordinate well because they blend in as neutrals. Lighter wood stains might not look as good in comparison, because the eye will read them as a different tone. Instead of fitting in with the black or gray decor, they will appear more brown or yellow.
Aside from the living room, the kitchen is a common place where the family comes together, often intersecting in a flurry of food and conversation. Far from being solely a parent’s domain, it’s the spot where meals are prepared, snacks are swiped and lives are shared.
For this sort of environment, you need a cheery and productive color scheme. Dark hues run the risk of making it feel too gloomy, but pale colors are too calm when you consider the level of daily activity in a kitchen. Oranges, yellows, and warm neutrals are ideal, because they give off energy, happiness, and just the right amount of stimulation.
One suitable color combination for a kitchen is golden orange, butter yellow and cream. As long as you avoid anything too lemony, this will make the space feel sunny and welcoming. If you have a wooden kitchen island or dining room cabinet, the finish should be in an orange or yellow tone to exude that same warmth.
While you probably shouldn’t get too carried away decorating your bathroom, it’s still a living space where you should consider the mood you want to convey. After all, it’s often
the room you visit first thing in the morning and right before going to bed at night. In those situations, you don’t want an atmosphere that’s showy or tries too hard to wake up your senses.
When it comes to bathroom color combinations, a general guideline to follow is the paler the better. You might try to steer clear of Easter egg pastels, but otherwise anything goes. For instance, gray and lavender together are soft and luminescent — perfect for a house situated beside the ocean. Pale green and brownish beige create a room that is therapeutic and peaceful. Washed-out blue and mint green are heavenly side-by-side, especially with natural light streaming through the windows.
However, while green makes a good backdrop for the living room, blue is better suited for the bathroom. It’s another color that isn’t too hard on the eyes and it feels more soothing. Powder blue, wispy blue, slate blue, cloudy blue — the choice is yours. Pair it with subtle grays for a calm and cool yet vaguely sophisticated vibe. You could insert a few accessories to tie the scheme together and install a bathroom vanity with a pale countertop.
If your house includes a dining room, there’s no doubt you’ll want to dress it up to be the gem of your home. This is the space for sitting up straight, dressing fashionably and keeping elbows off the table. When your guests come in, you don’t necessarily want to inspire envy, but you do want them to be quietly impressed with your décor.
Dining room color combinations are another area to seek out middle ground. Your aim is to make the space formal and elegant without feeling stuffy. This delicate balance comes into play when purchasing furniture, table linens and window treatments, but it’s also a factor in the color scheme you choose.
Many contemporary dining spaces match up deep, handsome colors with the neutrals beige, cream and brown. It doesn’t matter if you pick bold colors for the walls and insert neutrals through your accessories, or vice-versa. Some excellent ideas include velvety purple, spicy orange, forest green or rich magenta. Your dining table, dining chairs and wooden hutch should hone in on the hues of the neutrals in the room.
The master bedroom should be your personal sanctuary. Already draped with the softest linens and filled with luxurious details, it should be a sumptuous getaway with cozy and intimate colors to match. Such a statement is easier said than done, so here are a few ideas.
This is another place where you shouldn’t shy away from darker shades. Deep, warm red tones would work well in your bedroom, as long as you find colors that are more comforting than jarring. Rich shades of purple, green or blue would also do nicely, especially those with red or brown undertones.
One winning color combination for the master bedroom is berry red, burgundy and chocolate brown. Though it’s a dramatic color scheme, it’s low-contrast enough to not be shocking to the senses. In fact, its intensity ends up feeling relaxing in a way.
This combination will pick up the tones in your wooden furniture, so a solid wood bed with a warm finish is a great fit. A wooden dresser or nightstand should have red undertones as well, but if you have a blanket chest or accent bench it doesn’t need to match as strictly. Then you can inject pops of bright colors through accessories for a little personality.
Encourage Concentration in Your Work Space
Whether you work from home and need a dedicated office or you decided to transform your extra room into a library, some spaces call for a little more focus and deep thinking. The color palette shouldn’t act as a distraction, but it should at least be enough to keep your brain awake and on-task.
So if colors shouldn’t be too bright, too pale or too gloomy, where does that leave you? One option is to mix colors and neutrals together for more understated shades. Aubergine is simply purple and black, mahogany is red and brown, and gray-green speaks for itself. Matching up any of these colors will promote productivity, concentration and learning as soon as you walk in the door. Even the wood desk, bookcases and office chair you select can mesh with the scheme.
Let Kids’ Rooms Be Vibrant
Just like your children, their rooms should feel young, playful and fresh. You shouldn’t feel obligated to mirror interior design trends, because it could turn what’s supposed to be their personal space into a place they can’t have fun. Your only concern should be reflecting their blossoming identities and letting their individuality shine!
Unless your child is an infant, you should try to think beyond blue and pink. Tap into their little personalities. What is it that they love best? Do they enjoy running around outside, are they enamored with animals or do they like pretending they have their own cooking show? Show them you care about their interests and give them a place where they can be themselves.
As you might imagine, the color combinations of kids rooms are often built upon a specific theme. Carefully selecting browns and greens will display their fondness for nature, or a nautical scheme of blue, white and red will align with their fascination with dolphins and whales. The accessories you feature, such as artwork or toys, will further solidify the theme. Your children’s furniture doesn’t have to be perfectly coordinated — as long as it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb compared to the style of the rest of the room, you’re fine.
Don’t Forget About the Basement
Ah, the basement. If yours is unfinished, your probably only use it for storage, if you think about it at all. However, if your basement is finished, that’s another entire living space you could be utilizing! With a coat of paint and the right decor, it could become a game room, a crafting corner, a man cave or anything else your heart desires.
So then, what color should that coat of paint be? If it’s a basement without any windows, dark colors might not be the best choice. Instead of creating drama or intrigue, they’ll just give it the look of a cave. To make the area feel both spacious and inviting, choose light colors with an undertone of gray or beige that make them register like neutrals in your vision.
It may be tempting to go bright and bold in this extra room, but that can be difficult to pull off. Some smart choices for hue on your palette include goldenrod, cloudy blue, yellow-green or pale brick red. Then put grays or browns alongside them, or lighter shades of the same colors. Any upholstered furniture you bring downstairs can also have similar tones, but shouldn’t match too exactly.
Some Other Considerations
If you want a good color flow in your home, don’t decorate each room in isolation. Line up the color palettes you’re considering and shift some of the shades to create continuity. For instance, you could select hues with similar undertones, as mentioned before. Though they may not match on the surface, they’ll all feel like they belong together.
Trying to achieve color flow is the perfect excuse to use your favorite color more frequently in your home. Take a look at your existing furnishings, fabrics, artwork or accents for inspiration. Then use lighter and darker shades of your preferred color throughout your home, thoughtfully determining how you’d like to see it transition from room to room.
Don’t just slap one paint color on the walls and be done with it! Utilize smart color combinations on the main walls, ceiling and trim. You could even consider adding an accent wall. The handful of colors you want to see repeated in your home can be alternated as primary, secondary and accessory colors. Incorporate them in small ways through pillows, window treatments, wall stencils or trinkets so all your rooms will share a color in some capacity.
Color Schemes for the Home
You don’t have to be an interior design expert to put together a good color combination. It’s all about knowing what you like, what provokes a certain mood, and what vibe you want to give each room. If you ever feel lost, there are even tools online that can help you discover unexpected color combinations you’ll love.
There are plenty of ways to bring color into a living space. You don’t have to go out and buy a new can of paint or swap out all the accessories to redecorate a room. Sometimes, all it takes is a bold piece of furniture to completely shift the tone of a space.
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