Ready for a change? Spring is a great time to shake off those winter doldrums
and get inspired by the fresh colors outside. Of course, the next question
becomes, where do I start? When tackling a decorating project or even just
trying to pick a paint color, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the process. Here
is a foolproof way to pick a color scheme, whether for one room...or even your
The easiest place to start is with a fabric. It could be your existing
draperies or upholstered furniture, any fabric that inspires you. If you are
starting from scratch, pick a "statement fabric" – that is, a fabric you love
for its wonderful color or pattern (or both!). Then, you can pick your color
scheme directly from this fabric with confidence that your colors will go
You can translate this process to any room in your house. Re-doing the
bedroom? Shop first for a comforter or "bed-in-a-bag" combo, and select your
paint and carpet based on the colors in the fabric. Wall-to-wall carpet in the
bedroom beats any other flooring – what could be better than the cushiony
softness of plush carpet under your bare feet, especially first thing in the
In any room, the simplest things to change are the paint and the carpet.
But perhaps you are starting with those items and don't yet have all the other
furnishings you will ultimately acquire. If you are moving into a new home, you
may have to pick the carpet and paint before you even start shopping for
furniture. If this is the case, start with the carpet, since paint can be
matched to virtually any color.
You will have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a neutral shade of
carpet that will blend with future purchases. Beige, camel, gray, taupe, and
even colors like terra cotta and sage green can work well as a backdrop for your
When shopping for carpet, place samples on the floor and try looking at them
in different types of lighting. If you are matching fabrics to carpets, it is
especially important to view the samples as a group from a distance, which will
provide a much a better idea of how the finished room will actually look.
Try to vary the carpet styles in your home where you have natural breaks.
You could carpet the upstairs differently from the first floor. Plush cut pile
in the bedrooms, a berber in the family room.
Paint lends refreshing variety to your rooms. Feel free to paint a
different color in every room of your home and let your carpet or all white
woodwork be the constant that makes the spaces flow. Select colors with an
awareness of how they look together. If you can see one room from the next, look
for colors that will complement and coordinate with each other. It will also
help if they are a similar "weight"; that is, relatively light colors, like
peach and yellow, or mid-tones that are neither too light nor too dark.
Color is the best bargain around. Opulent hues like emerald green or
sapphire blue cost the same as generic white and beige, whether you are choosing
paint or carpet. So, if you are on a budget, remember, color is free – there's
no extra charge!