The  Language of Colour 

The standard colour wheel includes high intensity, pure colours. While you may not use these vibrant colour in your home as they appear on the wheel, the principles associated with this handy tool can help you create your desired affect.
There are 12 colours in the standard colour wheel that are divided into three designations: Primary colours (pure red, blue and yellow); Secondary colours which are a combination of two primary colours and include orange (red and yellow), green (yellow and blue) and violet (blue and red); and Tertiary colours, which are a combination of a primary and secondary colours. Tertiary colours are identified by the names of the colours used, such as blue-green, yellow-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange and yellow-orange. 

Frequently used terms regarding colour:

Another name for colour, hue refers to colour family, such as red, blue, or yellow.

A colour or hue that is mixed with black or grey.

A colour or hue that is mixed with white.

The relative lightness or darkness of a colour

Starting Point for Decorating a Room

Draw up a list and start writing down the basics - which key elements; couch, rug, flooring will stay, and which will go.

Determine a budget. Consider which changes make most impact for your dollar, such as paint, slipcovers and fresh accessories.

Generate ideas by creating a portfolio that appeals to you. Collect images from magazines, fabric and paint swatches, pictures of favourite vacation spots, flowers from the garden - anything to which can be drawn.  Don't worry about creating a theme or co-ordinating colours just yet.

Determining Your Colour Preferences and Developing Your Colour Palette 

Take a look at your collection of items and consider the following:

§        How do you want to feel in the room?  Calm? Energized?
§        Are you drawn to colours that are warm (red and yellow), cool (blue and green), or neutral (white, beige and grey)?
§        Where do your colours fall on the colour wheel?
§        Do you prefer many colours or various and tints of a single colour?
§        How does your colour selection work with existing elements in the room, such as the floor or large furnishings?

Begin grouping colours to see which ones appeal most to you.

Editing Your Collection of Ideas 

View all samples together in the room to see how things will look with the existing elements and actual lighting conditions.

§        Consider the size and scale of your room and its furnishings.
§        See the following pages to determine which colour scheme (monochromatic, complementary, analogous, or triad) dominates your collection.
§        You can use this scheme as a base concept for creating a colour palette for your room.
§        Sample paint colours on the walls to see how they work with the other decorative elements in the space, and to determine the overall feel or mood of the room.
§        Keep the concepts of harmony and balance in mind when editing your ideas.

Your final choices should please your eye, feel balanced, and create the mood or feeling that you want.