How to Combine Interior Colors Like an Expert

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What You'll Need
Paint samples
Color Wheel
Fabric Swatches

You don't need to be an expert to match interior colors like a pro. Here are a few steps to help you come up with color schemes that will give any room in your house a well thought-out look.

Step 1 - Set the Mood

The best place to start with interior design is not color or what you see, but rather what you want to feel. If you think about the ambiance or mood you want to convey with your interior design, it is easier to come up with the perfect color scheme. Is this room for relaxing with comfortable furniture and soft lighting? Is it a modern kitchen with strong lines and sharp angles? Is the room meant to be a blank canvas to display art or any other focal point?

Thinking about the function and vibe of a room can lead you to choose logical groups of colors. If you want your room to have a classic, sleek look, you can never go wrong with black and white. If watching a sunset is your idea of heaven and you want your room to have that same glow, go for different hues of warm colors such as reds, yellows and oranges. Maybe the beach is your preferred landscape--re-create it with light browns, beige, white and various shades of blue.

Step 2 - The 60-30-10 Rule

If you'd like to be more scientific about how you match interior color, use the 60-30-10 rule which tells you exactly how much of each color to use. Your main color should be used on 60 of the room, on the biggest canvasses such as walls. The second color in your color scheme should be used at 30 percent, on the next smallest parts of your interior design plan like rugs, furniture and even the ceiling. The last 10 percent of your room is reserved for the accent or accessory color used on small soft furnishings. Chrome, copper or another metal can be your 10 percent color, or you can use it on one accent wall. Use your color wheel to pick a family of colors and apply the 60-30-10 rule to hues in that group.

Step 3 - Natural Inspiration

Sometimes, following steps 1 and 2 is still not enough to help choose a color scheme for your room. If you're still unsure about picking colors, why not go for neutrals? Go outside and take inspiration from the great outdoors. Take your main color from slate, brick or limestone or choose another color inspired by sand, earth or bark. Easy accent colors to match with those earth tones are leaf green, sky blue or even the color of your favorite flower.

Step 4 - Historical Research

Looking into color schemes from other eras can give you some inspiration and fool-proof color combinations to follow. Every era from Victorian to 60's Modernist styles had unique color combinations used for furniture, home design and fashion. Look into some of these historic patterns and you may stumble upon the perfect color scheme for your room.