If you think it is hard to pick one paint color for a room or an item, how do you pick colors for the whole house? How can you tell what colors will go together and where do you even begin?

The first thing to do is take note of which rooms are visible to one another. You need to know what spaces can be seen from each room, so make a floor plan and notes as you walk through the house. This is true for more than just adjoining rooms because often you can see further away and you want the tones to complement each other.

Start by picking the color for the largest or most centrally located room. This is likely the room that is most visible from all angles of the house and typically ends up being either the kitchen or the living room. You want to go with a soft and natural hue for this room and this will help you choose the colors of other rooms. If a decision just cannot be made, you can always go with white for the main room.

If you don’t want to start with the main room, the next best option is to start in the room where you want to use the boldest color. If you already have a certain color in mind start with that color and find the room it is best for. Once you look out from a bold colored room, you can start to envision the hues and colors that will complement it. Beware of putting bold colors next to each other; while this can look unique, it can also look like a disaster.

Once the color of the first room is decided, you can then choose shades of the same hue for the nearby rooms. Select the hues closest to your original color location on a paint chip. Pick the next color up or down from your starting color or you can have the hardware store mix white with your original color to make it lighter. This method allows you to create interest and depth and you remain confident and comfortable with your colors going well together.

When it comes to open spaces and much of the house is visible at once, it is especially important to pick colors that go well together. Using shades and tints of the same hue works best with this arrangement. Remember that a shade is typically darker and a tint is lighter. With a wide-open setup, you can also use an ecological approach. For example, if you want a beach theme, using natural sand and peach tones, with light blues as a guide, will help you select the colors you want.

Always keep upstairs and downstairs spaces separate. You can easily create an entirely different mood for each floor and by keeping the project limited to one floor at a time, the task is more manageable. In connecting areas such as landings and hallways, you want to stick with natural hues. This allows for your eyes to rest between areas of more saturated and perhaps bolder colors. If on the other hand, you chose white or beige for your rooms, then the hallway could be a good place to add some fun color. Just going a shade or two darker is enough to make a dramatic impact.

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