When you’re dreaming and scheming about updating your home, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed and flustered. You read one designer’s book and want to cover your home in shiplap, and then you watch a certain show and start thinking about bright pops of color, and then you read a book and know, for a fact, that some things are NOT for you.
It’s great to gather inspiration, but it can also get overwhelming when you want to do everything in your house—and it’s just not possible to be minimalist and maximalist at the same time.
When that happens, it’s important to have something to center you and ground you. That’s where a color story comes in.
Crafting a color story and hierarchy for our house has given me a guiding light, that keeps everything feeling like the same house.
Some people say that as long as you love everything in your home, it will work together. I don’t disagree, but I also think it can be more complicated than that, especially if you tend to love things from a lot of different styles.
Today, I’m going to walk you through the color story for our home, how I came up with it, and how a color story might be able to help you in your own renovation or refresh.
Foundational Color Choices
For your foundational color choices, start by looking at your style generally. Look at your saved photos on Instagram, the design photos you can’t stop staring at, or even your own closet to get a sense of your favorite shades.
For us, Blue is a crucial foundational color. Living in Minnesota, we have such a connection with water. I think a lot of people think of coastal design when they think of blue, but in Minnesota we have so many lakes that we actually have a strong connection to water as well. Dustin and I both wear a lot of blue and save a lot of images with blue design accents.
We also love green, especially in home decor. If you look through our pinterest boards and Instagram saves, you’ll find a lot of green as well.
That’s how we decided on blue and green as the top colors for our home. If you wear or pin mostly neutrals, don’t be afraid to pick black and white as your foundations. If you love yellow rooms, go for it! This is just a starting point.
Unless your style is bright and maximalist (more power to you!), you probably won’t want everything in your home to be colorful. That’s why it’s good to think about what kind of neutrals you want to incorporate into your home.
Because we love modern design, our home is going to feature a lot of bright white and black. We love the contrast look, and we were inspired by the existing black doors and the hope that we could swap out our windows for black windows someday.
We use black and white as a guiding light when we can’t decide on a shade for a light fixture, or when we think a room needs to be toned down a bit with a neutral.
If you love farmhouse style, you might lean more toward creamy white and shades of grey. You might have glam style and consider gold a neutral. You might love color and want bright white to contrast with your color choices.
I know we don’t often think too critically about our neutrals, but I think consistent neutrals really make a home feel connected, even as different rooms have different color schemes. Is your whole home high contrast? Warm and cozy? Cool and sleek? These feelings really come down to the neutrals and how you use them.
Generally, accent shades will be used for smaller items that are easy to swap out. I think in terms of pillows, blankets, pots, accessories, etc.
Each room might have different accents or color stories, so this is a space where you can get away with inviting more colors to the party. Again, how many and which accents you choose is up to you. In our home, we’re looking across the color wheel.
From our beloved blue, we cross to yellow for a contrast and a shot of warmth from shades of ochre and saffron. From Green, we pop over to red and pink, which we’re using toned down versions of in shades of blush.
The best part about accent colors is their versatility and the fact that you can add them in through items that you can swap out to completely change the look and feel of a room.
When you’re choosing accent colors, you can look across the color wheel to add contrast, or next to your main colors on the color wheel to create a calm room.
If you like a more neutral palette, you might choose to add subtle accents to give a touch of dimension. If you prefer more energy in your space, you might pick rich, saturated colors for your accents.
Create Your Color Story
Creating the color story for our home has been like making a guest list for a party—it’s not that we don’t like those who aren’t invited, it’s just not the vibe we’re going for right now.
But it’s become such a benefit because I often feel like constraints increase creativity. It also makes me feel confident that our home will eventually feel unified, even as we experiment with different things.
I want to know: would you use this strategy in your home? Tell me in the comments!