color choices: getting to the fun stuff

I went to the hardware store to choose a color for my beachside bungalow and found the right shade on the first card I picked out of the sample display. I knew exactly what I was looking for because I’d seen the color on a house in my city’s old town. A tiny place, literally on Main Street, was painted this pretty shade of aqua. I always thought it would make the perfect choice for a beach house.

On the other hand, the door took me a couple of shots. Again, I went to the hardware store with a color in mind, a bright and welcoming shade of yellow, and found the right one pretty much immediately. I went home and painted the door and then stood back expecting sparks to fly from the beautiful contrast. Nothing. It didn’t pop. It was just sort of…fine.

I stared at it a few days trying to figure out what was wrong when I decided the door needed a do-over, and I needed a little help.

Enter, a color wheel. I’d bought it a couple of years ago in the course of a real decorating project. According to the color wheel, the best way to compliment the blue-green of the house body was to choose a red-orange for the front door. I painted the inside of the front door the same color. It also worked because the interior color scheme was mostly blue and green, a “split-complimentary” scheme in combination with the red-orange front door.

Of course, color is a personal choice, so if you’re happy with your design, then you automatically have a winning combination. But if you’re looking at your house or room and you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, consider referring to a color wheel. It might not get you to the destination but it will point you in the right direction.

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