By Deb Barrett
Color Your World
Our homes have become colorful places — with "ooh-la-la" red on walls to turquoise haze in our bedrooms! Whether you're venturing into color for the first time or are re-thinking a current color scheme, it's important to know how color impacts a room and its window treatments.
The first thing to consider is the actual room you are decorating. What will you use it for? Does it receive plenty or little sunlight? Answering these questions will help you decide what colors to choose. For example, you may not want bright colors if you are trying to create a relaxing bedroom. If you will use your room only at night, choose colors and fabrics in that lighting.
If your room features south facing windows, use colors on the windows to drop the room's temperature a degree or two. A general rule is to choose warm, muted colors and soft textures for north and east windows. If you are dressing south or west windows, use cooler colors.
Create the mood
Warm Colors (red, red-orange, orange-yellow, orange, yellow-green, yellow) — These colors tend to stimulate, are informal and casual and create friendly interiors. People talk, take risks and are noisier in warm rooms.
Cool Colors (blue, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, green) — These colors are relaxing, more formal, and less approachable. People tend to be more reserved, better behaved and less talkative in cool interiors.
Get Comfortable with Color
Once you're ready to make your color decisions, think of colors you are comfortable in. Open up your closet and look at your clothing. The colors you feel most comfortable wearing also will make you comfortable in a room. Select one or two colors you like best to start with when building a color scheme for the room.
Plan to use three colors for your room. One should be dominant, or about 60% of the treatment (the blinds, the drapery panels, the dominant fabric). The second color should cover 30%. This is contrast lining, under sheers, coordinating valances, banding and top treatments. The third color should accent the room. It accounts for about 10% of the color, and is found in the details like cording, ruffles, tiebacks, buttons, etc.
- Analogous Color Scheme
This color scheme can be either warm or cool. It's the use of colors that are next to each other on the color wheel (yellow, yellow-green, and green). Choose one color to dominate, one color to complement, and use the over-lapping color as the accent. Vary intensity and values so the colors don't compete with each other.
- Complementary Color Scheme
This scheme uses colors opposite each other on the color wheel (red and green). It pairs a cool color with a warm color. Let one color dominate and use the other as a complement (remember to vary intensity here too). The largest areas on the window treatment are most beautiful when neutralized by its complement. To draw attention and create a focal point, use brighter colors against lighter values of its complement.
- Triadic Color Scheme
This color scheme is built by three colors that form a triangle on the wheel (red, blue and yellow, or green, violet and orange). This color scheme works well when doing kids or thematic rooms.
- Split Complementary Color Scheme
This color scheme is made up of three colors. Choose the first color (your dominant one) and find its complement (opposite) on the color wheel. Then use the color on either side of the complement as the other two colors in the scheme. For example, if you choose red, its complement is green, then use blue-green and yellow-green as the other two colors in the scheme.
Color is personal — though color schemes should be appropriate, above all they should make you happy. Rules were meant to be broken — or at least bent a little!
Until next time!
Deb Barrett, owner of Window Dressings, Kaneville, IL, is an award-winning window fashions designer, professional speaker and author. She has built a reputation for cutting edge couture treatments, winning the Window Fashions National Design Competition five times, including its Award of Excellence. With more than 30 years experience in the window treatment field, Deb shares her talents through speaking, media tours and writing. Her work frequently appears in popular decorating magazines including Windows and Walls and Decorating Ideas, and she is the author of Tools of the Trade and Soft Furnishings Sketchbook.