Style Palettes

Lost in the world of color science and don’t know where to start?  Now that you know all the terms, how do you figure out what colors to actually use?  If you know your style of the room, here are some sample color combinations that these styles incorporate.

Cottage Style Color Palettes

The primary color in cottage style is white – usually oyster white, the decorating palette uses primarily a one color scheme, a color paired with white.

Blue and white is a classic combination that works in any room, for a variation, blue and yellow is a hot look for cottage decorating this year.  Since blues are cool colors, they add an elegant touch to the warm atmosphere of cottage decorating.

Since cottage style is all about warmth and comfort, you can also go as warm as you can with reds paired with white.  Think of a classic red and white gingham, that’s about as warm as you can get with a cottage style.

If you’re trying to spice up your cottage look, introduce a complementary palette which can add a more formal look to upgrade to an English cottage style, or a monochromatic scheme of browns or greens for a more urban look to your cottage.  You may need to update a few of your cottage pieces, but it will take it from last year’s trend to this year’s.

Contemporary Palettes

Neutrals, black, and white are the main colors in a true contemporary room. The palette is usually spruced up and accented with a bright and bold accent color and basic black is used to ground the room.

For true elegance in a contemporary room, try a monochromatic palette – different shades of the same color.  Use neutral furniture to break up the effect.

Traditional Palettes

Traditional rooms tend to use a complementary color palette.  Think of more traditional upholstery, they tend to use a complementary palette of burgundy, green and gold. 

Urban Chic Palettes

Urban chic is bold, and so is a split complementary color palette.  Brown and blue as a color combination was a defining look for urban chic, but that palette has seemed to run its course.  With yellow being the hot color for 2009/2010, urban chic decorating uses it in a hot way – metallic gold will be paired with silver in this sophisticated style for the new 'in' look.

When it comes color, choose what you love and you’ll love what you choose.  Define your palette for your style.  In a pinch, try one of the color visualizer tools offered by the major paint companies, they can give you a push in the right direction if you’re still lost.