Thursday, April 30, 2009

Color By Design - Checklist of Color Steps and Common Problems

Welcome to the seventh of a series of short articles about color: Learning about color, choosing colors, living with color, and color around the world. This month: A Checklist of Basic color steps and Dealing with Common Color Problems. This is a great reminder of pulling a scheme together, and a real quick summarization of previous articles.

A Check List of Basic Color Steps

LIST FACTORS THAT WILL INFLUENCE YOUR COLOR SCHEME:
* Physical
* Orientation and extent of windows or other daylight source
* Type and location of artificial light used
* Hours that the space will be used and for what purposes
* Atmospheric
* Mood - calm, restful, stimulating, dignified, playful, other…
* Your personal color preferences.
* Geographical
* Climate
* Regional preferences in color usage

ESTABLISH THE CHARACTER OF THE COLOR SCHEME

* Choose among warm, cool, or neutral
* Select the color scheme (based on the color wheel - analogous, complementary, etc.)
* Decide on the dominant hue or hues to be used.
* Gather color samples, photos of existing interiors, or other color materials (textiles, tile, wood, etc.)

SELECT COLORS FOR ONE OR MORE LARGE MAJOR AREAS:

* Floors
* Ceilings
* Walls

NOTE AREAS OF PREDETERMINED COLOR

* Existing furniture that will remain in the space
* Material of a known color: brick, stone, natural wood, etc.

ADD COLOR FOR SECONDARY ITEMS AND AREAS

* Large items of furniture
* Window treatments, such as curtains, draperies, shades or blinds.
* Floor treatments, such as area rugs

ADD SMALL AREAS OF ACCENT COLOR

* Strong values of an already selected color or of a contrasting color – art and accessories
* Materials of a special nature that will impact the total scheme: metallics, tinted glass, mirrors, etc.

Dealing with Common Color Problems

Problem - Color choices appear random.
Solution - Relate color to a carefully thought out plan – develop an overall scheme and stick to it!

Problem - Colors are too many or too varied.
Solution - Use restraint in the number of colors, particularly the number of strong colors.

Problem - Color in the large areas (floors / ceiling / walls) is too intense.
Solution – Select a softer hue and confine the intense colors to small areas and to areas used only briefly.

Problem - Color in a large room / space has too much contrast.
Solution - Let one color only dominate, not both; restrict one of the two contrasting colors to a smaller area.

Problem - Color is drab and monotonous.
Solution - Use strong color accents to liven up the restrained scheme – in your art and accessories.


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Cynthia Peacock is a professional Interior Designer (member of the American Society of Interior designers, ASID) and Principal of her own design firm, PEACOCK-Interior Design, LLC. Cynthia has worked on a wide variety of outstanding projects (residences, offices, hotels, ships) in her 16 year career as an Interior Designer, and finds that color is the constant challenge, joy, and reward. If you are color-challenged, and need gentle guidance, Cynthia may be contacted cynthia@peacock-interiordesign.com

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