Merchandising and Interior Design Tips

The Power of Color

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Color is a powerful element when it comes to interior design. Different hues can alter the overall appearance of furnishings, as well as change the apparent shape and size of a space. Light colors appear expansive and airy, making rooms and furnishings seem larger and brighter with more “flow”. Dark colors on the other hand tend to be sophisticated and warm, giving large spaces and/or furnishings a more intimate feel.

Color also has the power to change your mood. So, when deciding on a color scheme for a room or home, it’s important to first think about what feeling you want to evoke.

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Color theory holds that the various hues on the Color Wheel behave in three basic ways: Active, passive and neutral. As an example, if you want your personal space to feel cool and refreshing, try layering various shades of green over a neutral palette.

For drama and elegance, think soft creams with accents of eggplant and violets. Blue tones provide peaceful and harmonious settings and can also lend a relaxed, coastal vibe. Wake up a room with pops of reds and oranges. Caution: To avoid overpowering a space, be sure to balance high-energy schemes such as red, orange or purple with large doses of whites and/or neutrals.

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How much color is too much? In selecting room or house colors, a good rule-of-thumb is to follow is the “60-30-10” philosophy. This simple guideline advises that sixty-percent of a space – such as the walls – be dedicated to a dominant (and generally neutral) color. Thirty-percent of the space – the carpet, upholstery and window treatments – would be assigned to secondary hues. Items such as accessories, artwork and rugs comprise the final ten-percent, adding the “pop”.

This formula works because it creates a sense of balance and allows the eye to move comfortably from one focal point to the next.


Today’s color palettes can also be based entirely on the tone-on-tone layering of neutrals. This quiet and simplistic approach makes it possible to notice a home’s intricate architectural details or unique furnishings, art and collectibles. A minimalist color approach also accentuates textural pieces throughout a home and allows flooring, lighting, finish materials and millwork selections to have a starring role.


When it comes to selecting room colors for children or teens, accent paint is your best friend. Whether it’s one wall or all four walls of a child’s room, accent paint allows young people to express themselves. Best of all, accent paint can easily be changed as the child grows up and their tastes and personalities evolve.


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