How To Choose a Color Palette For Your Home

It’s Not About the Paint Chip

Last month I celebrated four years of being a small business owner! I’ve crammed more training and experience into my brain than I could ever imagine. I’ve learned something from each and every one of my clients and am so grateful that I get to guide them through their design decisions, big and small, to create the home they love. 

So, you’re building a home or doing a huge renovation. You think you’ve got it all together with your images, your Pinterest pages, your Houzz idea books, and then there’s an audible screech! “OMG, I’ve got to choose paint colors from this ginormous fan deck??? What???” You’re not alone.  

There seems to be a huge misconception out there when it comes to choosing “colors” for our homes. On countless occasions, I’ll arrive at a consultation where the client is ready to show me the myriad of colors they’re obsessed with. Then I ask, “Well, what color are your cabinets? Have you chosen the countertops and flooring?” Silence….. “No. The painter is ready to start on Monday and I need to choose my wall colors!” Panic ensues. Thankfully they’ve called me before making some not so good decisions in the heat of the moment while the painter is pulling into their driveway.


Let’s Learn the Definition of a “Fixed Element”. 

This is where all of your paint color selections should come from. Fixed elements are just that; fixed. They don't move, they become the foundation of your palette. They dominate, they call the shots, they dictate what the best paint colors will be. This is where your entire home’s color palette is born. 

Some examples of interior fixed elements are a fireplace, flooring, countertops, cabinetry, tile, laminate, LVT flooring, etc. You’re not going to be changing these surfaces on a whim to keep up with the latest decor trend. They're here to stay awhile. 


Let’s Learn the Correct Order for Choosing Your Color Palette: 

  1. Choose your cabinets. Decide on either wood stained cabinets, white, off-white, or cream. The tone of the cabinets will lead in deciding future colors. Get a sample piece of the stained or painted wood, or better yet, a cabinet door. This goes with you at all times. 
  2. Choose your countertops. You've done the research on laminates, granite, and quartz, so you’re ready to pick the color. NOTE: a heavily patterned granite sample will visually multiply and dominate a room. If that is the desired look, that’s fine. Just know that it should be the only pattern to use in the room. Everything else should have little to no pattern . For this reason, I often specify a “quieter” quartz option for my clients. 
  3. Choose your flooring. Again, you’ve learned the ups and downs of tile, wood, vinyl, bamboo, etc. Beware of heavily patterned options. Your eye will go immediately to the busiest pattern, in this case, the floor. I’d prefer my cabinetry be the focus rather than an overbearing tile. Again, if you’re in love with a certain patterned tile, go with it. Just keep your countertop a solid color. Hold your door sample vertically with your countertop and floor samples horizontally to get a realistic view of the items together. 
 
 If you’ve chosen white cabinets, go for a wood floor in a neutral brown (walnut) stain. This is a beautiful timeless look which will carry you through any decorating trend for years to come.

If you’ve chosen white cabinets, go for a wood floor in a neutral brown (walnut) stain. This is a beautiful timeless look which will carry you through any decorating trend for years to come.

 If you’ve chosen wood stained cabinets, aim for a wood or tile floor in a contrasting color to complement the cabinet, not clash with it. Pick up a tone from the tile that matches to tone of your cabinets.

If you’ve chosen wood stained cabinets, aim for a wood or tile floor in a contrasting color to complement the cabinet, not clash with it. Pick up a tone from the tile that matches to tone of your cabinets.

 The classic white kitchen with white tile flooring is also a great option.

The classic white kitchen with white tile flooring is also a great option.

Gina Pardoecolors, home design