A Cluttered House Color Palette
What is a cluttered house color palette you ask? A cluttered house color palette is one that’s not clearly defined because of all the colorful “extras” found in the space. In fact, there’s a good chance you may be currently living with one.
Take, for instance, the photo below. It appears that pale pink and pale blue make up the palette, but there are so many extra colors that it’s not easy to tell that definitively.
While having a clearly defined color palette isn’t a necessity, it does add cohesion and flow to a house that an eclectic palette, such as the one above, can’t easily achieve.
Cluttered house color palettes occur most frequently due to inherited or gift items, color mishaps, and shiny object syndrome.
For instance, who among us hasn’t inherited a piece of furniture or decor that holds great sentimental value but really doesn’t “go” with anything else we own? Or, what about the watercolor of hot pink hibiscus flowers your brother painted for you?
Then we have color mishaps such as a new baby blue couch that looked gray in the store. Or, beige wall paint that’s reminiscent of Pepto-Bismol?
For those unfamiliar with shiny object syndrome, I assure you it is real. Window shopping trips that end with the purchase of multiple pretty household items that don’t fit into your “planned” house color palette are a prime example of this.
If you’ve jumped on the home and wardrobe decluttering bandwagon, the following five simple steps will help you declutter your current, or nonexistent, house color palette and nail your next.
1. Take A Color Inventory
The first step to decluttering your palette is by walking through your home with a ruthless color eye. Many of these items you may choose to incorporate into your new palette, but some you may not.
Determine which you wish to keep, and those you’d like to donate to Goodwill or a local thrift shop. I’m not one to tell anybody what should be kept, and what should not. Yet, inherently you’ll know which items fit and which won’t.
Next, decide if you wish to use your new color palette throughout the home or maybe just the areas where your guests will typically visit. If you choose the latter, more of your colorful items can be easily kept and displayed in the non-public areas of your home.
2. Note Any Color Commonalities
Study everything you’ve decided to hold on to. Note any colors that you repeatedly find and choose which could be the basis of the new palette you’ll be defining.
3. Choose Your Base
Every great color palette has a base color that all the others play off of. The best of these are generally a white, off-white, cream, greige, gray, beige, or taupe.
Before making a final decision on your base, determine which looks best with your flooring to ensure compatible walls and floors.
Below is a list of my favorite light to medium Benjamin Moore examples of each base color type. Base colors, in many instances, will be used as wall colors.
White – Chantilly Lace OC-65
Off White – Simply White OC-117, White Dove OC-17, and Mascarpone AF-20.
Cream – Linen White PM-28, and Navajo White PM-29.
Greige – Ballet White OC-9, and Fog Mist OC-31.
Gray – Intense White OC-51, Horizon OC-53, and Titanium OC-49.
Beige – Muslin OC-12, and Clay Beige OC-11
Taupe – Cedar Key OC-16, Big Bend Beige AC-37
** Do not skip sampling your base color. It’s the key to KNOWING you chose the correct one. **
4. Create the Palette
After choosing your base, it’s time to choose 2-3 more colors to complete the palette.
Take a look at the color commonalities you found in step #2. Is there a pair or trio of colors that you both love and like the way they look together? Do you like them with the base color you chose? If so, you’ve scored a color home run.
If not, let’s take a look at four different palettes you can create off of one favorite from the color commonalities of step #2.
- Monochromatic – This palette creates the least amount of color contrast. It’s perfect for those that want to incorporate sophisticated gradations of one color throughout their home.
- Analogous – Analogous palettes incorporate three colors that sit side by side on the color wheel. It creates more contrast than a monochromatic palette and is a classic take on color.
- Triadic – Color lovers that prefer living with greater color contrasts will right at home with a triadic palette. Comprised of colors spaced apart equally on the wheel this palette is more lively than a monochromatic and analogous, even in its lightest rendition. Select one of the three colors to be dominant and use lesser amounts of the other two for the best balance.
- Complementary – While the name of this palette may sound as though it’s low in contrast, it’s anything but. Complementary schemes are made by using two colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel. For those that desire color drama, a complementary scheme is exactly what you’re looking for. To keep this palette from overwhelming a space, use a stronger version of one of the colors and softer of the other.
5. Incorporate Your New Palette
Now the fun begins.
Decide if your base color will go on all walls, or if you would like an accent wall in a color from your new palette. Or, you could chose to paint most rooms in the base but paint one special room in its entirety with a color from the palette. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
The creativity in your palette lies in the way you choose to use it. Let’s use the triadic example from above paired with Linen White walls.
In the living room you have green sofa that you’ve paired with purple throw pillows. Your artwork incorporates the green, a large amount of purple, and small amount of orange. On your coffee table there’s a big, striking purple tray upon which you’ve placed a small orange vase with green mini-limelight hydrangea flowers.
In the dining room, you’ve painted the walls a soft shade of orange and have a green runner on the dining table. The chair cushions match the green of the runner and have small purple flowers in the fabric. Underneath the table is a large oriental style rug that’s predominately orange with purple flowers and greenery in the pattern.
As you read through the color descriptions you’ll notice that each room has its own look and feel. There is a cohesiveness inherent in the two rooms, but each has its unique take on the palette.
It’s truly just that simple! Choose your palette and develop the colors in varying amounts throughout your space.
If, after decluttering, your color palette still has you mystified you may need some personal consulting. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to learn how we might work together. firstname.lastname@example.org.