“Four colors and the flow.”
When decorating a room, using four colors is an ideal. There should be one Predominant color: color that you see first, and is used most in the room. One Subordinate color: second most used color in a room. AND one, but no more than two Accent colors. Accent colors are used sparingly as they work around a space.
Picking four colors to decorate a room with, is an easy thing. The colors can come from patterned fabric on a sofa or chair. They can come from colors used on an oriental or patterned rug. The colors could even come from a painting, or other kind of art object (fancy vase) that will be used in that room.
Now let’s pull the colors from the collage of oriental rugs, that are at the top of the first illustration. The rugs all have different patterns, but all share the same colors; (burgundy, gold, navy, and colonial blue). Looking at these rugs, if Burgundy is the most used color, and the first color that you see, than that is the Predominate color. If Gold is the second most seen color on the rugs, than Gold is your Subordinate color. If Navy is the third most used color, that is your First Accent color. If Colonial Blue is the fourth most used color, Colonial Blue is your Second Accent color. If you don’t like the second accent color, and there are other colors to choose from, pick one of them as your second accent color. See how EASY that was!
One more color to think about WHITE. White is a free color. You don’t ever count it as one of the four colors, even if it is part of “an inspiration piece” that you are using to pull your four colors from.
Now that you know how to get your four colors, you have to be able to use them in decorating. If this post were a chapter in a book, I would call it “Four Colors and the Flow”. The Flow is working the four colors consecutively from one room to another. If a room is compartmentalized, and you enter it through a doorway, you can use four colors in it for decorating. The next room could be four more different-unrelated colors if you want it to be that way. If you have rooms that open one into another, through large archways, or you have an open floor plan, the room(s) that you see through the archway(s), are part of the room you are in. So here is how the flow works. Look at the illustration…
When applying the flow to interior decorating, you are taking your four colors, and each of the colors has its turn, in rotation, depending on what room it is in, being a Predominate, Subordinate, or Accent. Burgundy might be the predominate in the living room, but will be an accent in the kitchen. What you want, are remnants of each of the colors, being in all the rooms, to tie them together.
Now look again at the illustrations. At the top is the collage (inspiration piece) where we pulled the four colors from. The first room below that is the Living Room. The walls are burgundy red, the predominate color (or the best I can do with colored pencils), the sofa and wing chair are gold, the subordinate color, and the Chinese blue and white lamps, vases on the fireplace, and pillow on the white wing chair are the First Accent color navy. The colonial blue, Second Accent is on the bench by the fireplace, and chair by the sofa. If this was a real room, I would also put two Colonial Blue and Gold striped pillows on the sofa, and a colonial blue throw on the gold wing chair. Color must ALWAYS be worked around a room, NEVER isolated!
The Hallway is predominately gold, followed by navy, colonial blue, and burgundy.
In the Dining Room, the predominate color is the wood tone of the table, chairs, and sideboard. Subordinate is navy blue (drapes, Chinese blue and white dishes and rug). The First Accent is the colonial blue striped walls, the Second Accent is burgundy on the chair cushions and carpet.
Finally, the Kitchen… predominate color is Colonial blue, with burgundy as Subordinate, and the accent color is gold (wood tone of table.) WOOD is a COLOR TOO!
Now you might say “I like White walls and White Drapes”. That is FINE! Use the four colors, taken from the inspiration piece for upholstery fabric, rugs, art works, painted furniture, and decorative accessories. ALSO, The colors of the paint chips that I use for this presentation are all Shades of a color (Darkest Value). Any lighter version of that color, on the same paint chip (tint) would work just fine. A tint is a shade mixed with white to make it lighter.
So now go and look through interior decorating magazines. Pick out the three or four main colors that they used to make up that room. Also, look for rooms that have three colors, and the fourth color is the color of wood, be it on furniture, woodwork, etc. Happy examining and analyzing!
Companion Post ..The Right height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011, The Right Way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011, Interior Decorating is ALL about Equal Balance 2-27-2011, Looking at Patterns used on Upholstery Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012, Mixing and Matching Fabric and Wallpaper Patterns 4-13-2012