How To Choose A Colour Scheme For Your Home

Choosing a colour scheme is a decision that largely comes down to your personal taste, but with so many colour combinations out there it can be difficult to get started. Hopefully we can help make the decision a little simpler with some ideas to consider before choosing.

Know your colours:
Red, yellow and blue are the three pigment colours that can’t be formed by any other combination of colours. All other colours spring from these three. Green, orange and purple are the secondary colours. Then you have the tertiary ‘hues’; Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green. A shade is a darker version of a colour and a tint is a lighter one. When it comes to designing your colour palette you want to create a harmony of these colours and the best way is using a colour wheel and following a set of colour principals. Otherwise your room just may not be too easy on the eye.

complementary wheel


Colour schemes:
There are standard colour schemes that are universal and ready to go. A monochromatic colour scheme works by choosing a single hue and exhausting all its tints, tones and shades. This might seem too safe but does eliminate any chance of clashing or getting it wrong. A complementary colour scheme operates under a high-contrast system by opting for two main colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel, often with a neutral base to balance it out. Flowers are a good example of a complementary colour scheme. Analogous is a scheme that combines three adjacent colours from the wheel to add more colour about a room.

Make a plan:
Take a recce of your home and which rooms are visible from each other as you should link base colours in these rooms to create a complementary colour flow. Start with the biggest room in the house, usually the kitchen or living room, this can be your base colour upon which informs the rest of the home. Alternatively, start with your favourite colour and work out a design that incorporates an element of it in to each room. Opt for colours with similar undertones. Limit your colour selection to three main hues, and test them out by painting a small patch on your wall, from a tester pot, and leaving it for a few days to see how you like it.


base colour



Consider the psychological impact of different colours and how they might aid your mood in a particular room. For instance a colour can be active, passive or neutral. A green bedroom is considered tranquil and easy on the eye whereas a red bedroom could be too stimulating and not ideal for trying to sleep. Your hall and living room should feel welcoming to guests so a warm, energising colour is advisable. If you have a clear divide between upstairs and downstairs you can try for entirely different moods on each floor.


Green bedroom


Other considerations:
A patterned wallpaper can be a great way to combine some of your key colours into a room in one easy step. A print, photograph or piece of art on the wall can be an answer to how to incorporate some bold or bright colours into a room without having to donate a whole wall. Don’t forget the ceiling, a lighter ceiling will make the room seem higher.

Historical palates:
You don’t need a Victorian home to use the dark Victorian colours of the period but can steal elements of the design and colour scheme for your home. A dusty orange-red paired with olive green can be reminiscent of neoclassical design. Don’t be afraid to look back in time to model your home on the greats.


Victorian style


How to do grey:
Often not considered due to its association with an office or industrial setting but grey can be a handy way to tone down bright colours and shades and it really goes with anything. You may even add a little grey paint to the other paints to soften a bright colour. Opt for a yellow-based grey for a warmer tone or blue-based for colder. Avoid using it in a room where you may want to be inspired as it’s considered to calm you down but drain creativity.


Grey paint


How to do yellow:
Yellow was the emperor’s colour in Imperial China and was considered the center of everything, prestigious but yet earthy. Sounds great in theory but is hard to pull off. Be wary that some cool yellows can look green in a certain light. Also be wary of pairing black with yellow as it can be too severe.