{DIY Decorating} Color Theory

8 months ago, I sat on the floor of my new-old home, a fanned wheel of Benjamin Moore paint colors before me, absolutely paralyzed with indecision. Our 5 week reno was nearly complete, and I was fresh out of decision-making-mojo. But with a paint crew showing up the next morning, colors needed to be chosen ASAP. 

This week in reno 101, Lessons in color theory

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Our contractor - bless him - tried his darndest to explain color theory to me, sadly.. to no avail.He explained that with rich, warm hardwoods, our paint colors - even cool colors like blues - would have to be rich and warm too. "How is that even be possible??" I thought, "and why are we even talking about my floors? Don't people just look at walls and furniture and decor?" 

Ultimately, we sat down with one of my favorite photos from our time in San Francisco. I'd point to a color I liked, and he'd find me the "warm" variant of that color. I thought it was a bunch of tomfoolery, to be honest, but I ended up loving every single one we came up with - so I figured there might be some method to his madness.

Stonecutter  (Kitchen) /  Granada Villa  (Master) /  Turquoise Mist  (Living & Dining) /  Wickham Gray  (Bathrooms) /  Coastal Fog  (Hall)

Stonecutter (Kitchen) / Granada Villa (Master) / Turquoise Mist (Living & Dining) / Wickham Gray (Bathrooms) / Coastal Fog (Hall)

Then last month, it "clicked." I noticed while I was following seamwork's custom color palette that I had color coordinates all over the rainbow.. but that they each reflected some underlying warmth in my coloring I'd never looked for before:

So when our dog officially ruined our living room rug (which is both a cautionary tale of 1. leaving an old dog out of her crate, AND 2. buying anything from Wayfair), promptly putting us in the market for a new one, I figured it was time for a Custom Color Palette Experiment - Home Edition. 

If I follow the same seamwork tutorial.. subbing in floor and wall colors for hair and skin, what coordinates would it give me? Could I use it to find the right rug color for the space? Would it inspire other colors I can bring in (via decor like pillows and artwork) to really add dimension and visual interest? Would it tell me if I'm over analyzing all this - taking color palettes far too seriously? Ahem. Scratch that last one.

Anyhow, I was curious... so I turned off all the lights inside and followed daylight down to the foyer. I took a photo that included various dimensions of these "warm" hardwoods of mine, as well as both dominant wall colors in the first floor:

The following are coordinates for:

  1. Living Area Wall Color
  2. Hall Wall Color
  3. Floor (Midpoint)
  4. Floor (Shadow)

Interestingly - many of these coordinates jumped out at me as color matches (or near matches) I've already introduced in these rooms. Some were intentional - many were just dumb luck - pieces I'd collected over time because I loved them and had no intention of using them as part of a master plan for our decor. Scroll through to see those:

Circling back to my rug hunt, this color palette confirmed my desires for a very neutral color, several shades lighter than our couch. (Cushion pic for reference). I've been woo'ed by many-a teal or sapphire rug from Home Goods these last few months - but as my husband wisely suggests: we bought a Victorian home with high ceilings and intricate moldings that draw people's eyes UP. We don't want anything too bold/vibrant competing with that historic charm. 


With this in mind, I'll start carpet shopping as soon as I get over whatever virus has gripped me all week. We'll have it cut to just the right size, the edges bound, and know it will stand up to kids' play, standard maintenance (aka vacuuming), and... the perils that come with this pretty face:



Now to repeat this process on the master bath... towel racks and vanity mirror aside, there's nothing occupying the valuable wall space there and the whole space feels super sterile. You'll probably hear about that process, soon! 

What do you think of this application of the color palette process?? Do you buy it? How else should I put it to use? I'd love to hear all about your favorite home decor methods, in the comments below!