A home is supposed to be a sanctuary, a place where you escape the
chaos of everyday life. But sometimes those sacred spaces get pretty
chaotic almost on their own. Maybe it’s clutter that’s overtaking your
space, or maybe it’s something far worse: room colors that fail to
harmonize. Repainting can be a big job, but if you go in with a plan you
can create the home you’ve always wanted.

The Key? Think Globally

It can be very tempting to think of your home as a series of rooms, each
wholly independent of one another. The truth is something different,
though. Houses are actually a series of rooms that work together to
create an overall atmosphere (plus, you know, a place to give you
shelter and to store your stuff). When you consider how your rooms
actually work together, you can choose colors that are far more likely
to play well together room by room. Start with the obvious: the
rooms that are literally connected to one another. Unless you have a
teenager, the chances are high that the doors will stay open long enough
for you to be able to spy one room as you’re going through another.
And, of course, you may have rooms that are literally part of one larger
space, such as a living/dining combo. Before you even walk into a
paint shop or start looking at samples online, take the time to map out
how each room interacts with the next. For example, a living/dining
combo are two spaces that work independently, but also together. You’ll
definitely want to consider each when you’re choosing colors, even if
those colors aren’t exactly the same. For example, you may want to paint
your living area a light blue and your dining area a light gray.
Carefully chosen colors can harmonize together.

Rooms Behind Walls

What about the not so obvious rooms in your home, such as the guest
bedrooms, the bathrooms or the utility room? Can they act independently
since there’s a transition? Yes, but mostly no. As you move
through one space, say, that calm living/dining combo we painted in the
section above, you want to maintain a similar feel in the next space. So
if your kitchen sits behind the dining area, rather than painting
orange, for example, look for a color that harmonizes with the grays and
blues. After all, you’re going to see the colors of that kitchen from
your dining room.

It may seem kind of silly to worry about
clashing colors that literally only overlap through a doorway, but those
colors are more than just colors. Those colors are attitudes, they’re
sensations, they’re hints at how rooms are meant to be used and what
kind of overall atmosphere you want your home to convey. When going
through a room transition makes it feel like you’ve stepped into a whole
different house, you need to address the biggest design element there:
the paint. Although contrasting colors have their places and
certainly can work in transitional spaces, you want to maintain
coordinated colors between rooms. To make that more clear, your first
goal is to choose the palette, and therefore atmosphere, that your whole
home should convey. That might be pastels or jewel tones or earth
tones, or whatever works for you, as long as it’s consistent. Your
second goal is to apply those colors in a way that maintains the
emotional effect you have in mind. Going back to that kitchen,
since our living room and dining were light gray and blue, you might
consider a light blue-gray, a light green, or even a light yellow,
depending on the palette you’re working with.

Colors are Moods, Choose Wisely

Sherwin-Williams has been predicting popular color palettes
for years. They’re a great place to start looking for your new “it”
colors. Other paint companies will also offer palettes among their paint
chips, giving you a lot of pre-designed options if you’re not sure you
can handle the job alone.

If you’re scratching your head about how
to birth the right mood in your own home, your favorite painter can
also lend a hand. If you don’t have a painter yet, check out the
HomeKeepr community for all the best painters in your area. Accounts for
homeowners are totally free, so you’ve got nothing to lose and a whole
lot of harmony to gain!