Decorating With Color: Unique Color Combinations

Some ideas to stray away from typical monochromatic color schemes.

With the technology to create any paint color imaginable, choosing which colors to design your room with can be a tedious mission.

To make that job easier, you must first decide how you want the room to feel. Warm? Cool? Relaxing? Energetic? Cozy? Festive?

Once you decide on the feel, it becomes easier to choose colors, and even easier to pick unique color combinations.

When it comes to pairing colors, it is important to consider the basics: primary and secondary colors. Primary colors are your basic red, blue and yellow. The secondary colors, the colors you get when you mix each of the primaries together, are orange, purple and green.

On the color wheel, red is opposite to green because the two colors contrast each other. Blue is opposite to orange, and yellow is opposite to purple. These are basics that you can tinker with.

Neutrals - browns and grays - are also safe to work with because they match with just about every color. They are neutral to every color.

You can pick up color samples at any place that sells wall paint, such as a hardware store. These samples can help you get a better idea of how the room will turn out, and how your colors will appear in the specific lighting you have in the area you're designing.

To be unique, you can select your colors from the paint samples, and then ask the hardware store to slightly lighten or darken the shade you selected, so that you end up with a color that is slightly different from the ones on the color samples. But with thousands of colors to choose from on the wall paint market, you may not need to adjust the color to suit your taste. Just keep in mind that there are thousands of more colors than what are on the color samples.

Many paint companies also publish small booklets with suggestions on color schemes, but many of these schemes are monochromatic, or include the same color throughout, just in different shades. This is the safe way to go, but can be boring.

For unique combinations, you need to stray a bit from the monochromatic color schemes.

If you are painting a small room, you could select two or three colors to make up your color scheme. The most popular choices tend to be monochromatic because you really can't go wrong. It's safe to do it that way, but it can also be boring.

Let's say you're working on a full bathroom. Keep in mind that you'll need to include the shower curtain and possibly a window curtain. There will also be floor rugs and accessories.

If your cabinets and tub are white, you could paint the walls a light brown, buy burgundy carpets and towels and dark brown sheer curtains and a shower curtain of the same color. Your accessories can be burgundy or even black.

This is a good example of a unique color scheme because it is not monochromatic and you have contrasting colors. Also, keep in mind that all the colors are considered "cool colors," meaning they have a cool feeling instead of a warm feeling. The brown is the neutral tone and the burgundy livens up the mix. This scheme is a good template to go by: one neutral color, white, black and a color of your choice.

Let's say you're looking to design a child's room. Bright colors would fit here. This is a combination that probably would not include neutrals. So, for a unique combination here, think of both warm and cool colors. This will help you end up with a bold and unique design. Try three colors, and make sure two are either cool or warm, and the third could be the opposite of those two. So, if you're pick an orange and a yellow as your two base colors, you could toss in a green, blue or purple.

If you want to combine four colors, it's best to pick three colors of one type - warm or cool - and let the fourth be the opposite. This way the contrasting colors are not overpowering.

And, if possible, you can accentuate your favorite color in the scheme with accessories, such as artificial flowers, unique picture frames and floor rugs.

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