Lesson 1: Exercises in Color

Color Exercise 1-a

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In our first exercise (which is actually a series of exercises) you will
hopefully discover what your favorite colors truly are!

  • First go to your closet. What is the predominate color of your clothes and accessories? By color, I mean all the ranges of colors - their shades and tints. If you notice that you have quite a bit of red ties or scarf's, are they warm red (with touches of orange) or are they a cool red (with undertones of blue)? Orange may include peach, coral, terra cotta, burnt sienna or vivid pure orange. If you tend to wear a lot of blue because it looks great on you, then why not paint a room the same color and you will always be surrounded by a color that compliments your skintone?
  • Now walk around your house, look around at your home decor, and determine which room is your favorite, the room that just makes you feel good when you are in it. Does it have your favorite colors in it? Chances are, it does. If not, what colors are in it?
  • The next step is to go to a paint or home improvement store where they have free paint chips on display. Quickly glance over all the paint chips and without thinking about whether a color is just too dark for a room or not, grab the colors that you are drawn to. Once you get them home, lay them out and see if you can identify colors that you found in your closet. Do you see a reoccurring color? If so, I think you have found one of your best colors!
  • Can you incorporate these colors into your homes color scheme? Or have you already?

The reason that clothes and accessories are a wonderful key to finding your true colors is because we are more daring with clothes than we are with furniture and finishes. When spending $2,000 on a sofa, we are more tempted to "play it safe" and go with a familiar color than we are to branch out into a new territory or color. With a shirt, which is a much smaller investment, it is an instant "I love that color!" and we purchase it. With carpet and furnishings, we are afraid to trust our inner voice because we know it is a large investment and one we will have to live with for years. Everyone does that, it is human nature. However, if this exercise helps you determine your absolute favorite colors, then you will be more confident to purchase them and use them in your home.

Color Exercise 1-b

  • Grab a notebook and start at the front door of your house, just as a guest or delivery person would. Look around at the room (or rooms) that are visible to you from this viewpoint. Do all the colors blend with each other? Are you able to view another room whose colors jar a little with the one you're in? Write down your thoughts concerning your homes first color impressions and write down any colors that just don't seem to fit.
  • Next, take each room in your house - one at a time. Be sure to title each room on the paper so that when you go back, you will know which room your notes are about. During the next 8 lessons, you can use these first notes on the different rooms color schemes as a guide.
  • As you stand in the center of each room, write down the dominate color(s) in this particular rooms color scheme (may be anywhere from 1 - 2 colors). If you have white walls, one of the colors may be white (white is allowed, really!). If there is a color or colors that don't appear in quantity as much, they will fall into the following category - which is secondary colors. Again, there will generally only be 1 or 2 secondary colors. The accent color (usually just one, but you may have 2) will be used sparingly. Now that you have these, find your neutral. It may be one of the dominate colors, a secondary or an accent color, but you should have a neutral somewhere. It may even be the painted white trim in the room.
  • After you have walked through your home and noted each room, put a check next to the rooms that have a color scheme that seems to work for you and circle the ones that don't work, because 1) there are too many different colors used in equal proportions that end up fighting each other, or 2) because you just don't like the colors in the room.
  • At this time, you should have a short written analysis of each rooms color scheme (or lack of) in your home. The circled rooms are the ones you are not completely content with their colors. If you more than one room circled, choose one that you would like to concentrate on and using the information from this lesson, think about the changes that you could make to improve the room.

Simply put...You are finding the colors that are used the most often in each room and in your home decor, and a few colors that aren't. Don't be concerned if one of your rooms is hard to describe as far as dominate, secondary and accent colors are concerned. Some of the most striking rooms I have ever seen have been designed in shades of all white and ivory. You may have one of these rooms that defies categorizing in this way. This exercise is mainly a reference list and kind of an "eye opener" for you to really see the colors in
your home and how they are used in your home decor. Don't worry about it too much your room seems beyond the categories.

Exercise 1-b Tips!

  • Wall and floor color are typically a dominate color, just because of the quantity of the space involved.
  • Furniture is tricky - if it is a large piece of furniture, such as a sofa or bedspread, the color (or the dominate color if it is a print) will generally be considered either a dominate color or a secondary color, depending on how extensively it is used throughout the room. If it is a small piece of upholstered furniture and the color does not appear anywhere else in the room - it will be an accent color.
  • The main color in an area rug or carpet will generally be considered a dominate color and other, smaller colors in the rug may be secondary or accent colors, again depending on how extensively they are used throughout the room.
  • Throw pillows, afghans, home decor in smaller colors in prints will generally be accent colors.
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