Tonal Shift: How to Take Your Home’s Color Palette from Sad to Stunning 1

Color has the capacity to completely alter the atmosphere and transform the interior of any given space. Studies have shown that color can influence behavior and affect mood nearly as predictably as scent — the latter of which is considered the sense most tied to memory. Unfortunately, homeowners seeking a change often turn towards neutrals like gray, beige and bone white — leaving behind an entire world of color. We forget that color truly defines an interior. It expresses the personality of the homeowner, properly welcomes guests and sets the tone for each room of the home. Sometimes, the only thing a home needs to transform from sad and gray to vibrant and inviting is a tonal shift. Follow below for five tips on how to take your home’s color palette from sad to stunning — just in time for Summer!

How to Transform Your Home’s Color Palette in 5 Easy Steps

#1 Start a Favorite Pattern, Artwork or Piece of Furniture

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Not sure which color speaks to your sense of style and unique personality? Start with a favorite pattern, artwork or piece of furniture to narrow it down. If the statement piece for your living room is a gorgeous brocade-upholstered armchair littered with stunning jewel tones, pull a blue, purple or green from that fabric and apply it to the walls. If your kitchen window boasts an herb garden, take color cues from a blue-green sprig of sage. For an entryway with glossy ceramic tiles, consider a matte version that matches. Drawing on pieces that comfort, excite or inspire you will help establish a color palette that works well for your space and for your lifestyle.

#2 Take on a Trend for a Space that Feels Funky and Fresh

Our second tip for taking your home’s color palette from sad to stunning is to embrace change. Take a fun new trend for a spin instead of relying on classic color schemes and univentive palettes. In her article “5 Weird Color Schemes You Should Try in Real Life” for Architectural Digest, Lindsey Mather recommends testing a few unusual palettes if your home needs a refresh. Her favorites include combining “orange and camel,” “burgundy and teal” and “lavender and emerald green.” We particularly love the orange and camel combination because it recalls the vibrant tones of desert flowers peeking through sandy desert landscapes.

#3 Look to Nature for a Timeless Aesthetic

Research has shown that both immersion in nature and views to nature have dozens of positive health effects for humans. Studies have demonstrated that access to nature can improve focus, shorten recovery time from illness or injury, boost mood and protect our mental and emotional health. Not only does nature nurture our hearts and minds, but the tones and textures of the organic world are incredibly beautiful, versatile and timeless. In their article “27 Nature-Inspired Color Palettes for a Calm, Beautiful Home” for Better Homes & Gardens, Ann Wilson and Jessica Bennett write that “with lush forests, rocky deserts, bright flowers, and fiery sunsets, nature is brimming with gorgeous color inspiration.” 

Remember that the color palette of nature is not limited solely to greens and blues. Earth tones like burnt sienna, terracotta and mustard yellow — as well as jewel tones like sapphire blue and citrine yellow — all reflect the natural world. We love the idea of picking our favorite flower as inspiration. In their article, Wilson and Bennett suggest adopting the “red-tinted and blue-shaded purples” of an “orchid or hibiscus” flower. 

#4 Mind the Mood

Consider the tenets of color psychology when choosing a color scheme for your home. Before picking a palette, determine which emotions and behavior you would like each space to elicit. For instance — as mentioned in our article “The Best Paint Colors for Productivity: How to Level Up Your Home Office” — a deep, thoughtful blue might work best in a workspace that requires focus. However, warmer tones might be more effective in the living room where guests are encouraged to loosen up a little and socialize. 

#5 Pick a Period from History

If the ideal, inspirational color scheme for your space still eludes, consider the history of your home or a period you love. If the Italian Postmodern period inspires you, consider a color scheme filled with bright and playful primaries. For a home built in the early days of American history, pore over this “Guide to Period-Appropriate Historic Paints” from Old House Journal. Then, head over to a Sherwin Williams location for paints from their Historic Collection Interior Preservation Palette.

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