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Using Color, Pattern, and Texture in Home Decorating

Part of the Home Decorating For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Color, pattern, and texture are the stylistic building blocks of your home decorating palette. You use these three elements to create the style, mood, and feel of each room in your home.

Creating with color

  • Paint small spaces in whispers of a cool, light color.

  • Cover big spaces in a cozy, warm, confident color.

  • Light, cool colors make walls seem to fade away into the distance, making rooms seem spacious.

  • Dark, warm colors make walls seem to come closer.

  • For the best color schemes, pick neutral colors that you'll never grow tired of.

  • Distribute colors naturally, with dark colors on the floor, medium colors on the walls, and light colors on the ceiling. Use the law of chromatic distribution:

    1. Put neutral colors on large surfaces or objects, such as the floor and sofa.

    2. Use stronger shades in a smaller amount on smaller spaces or items, such as a short wall or a chair.

    3. Employ the strongest accent color in the smallest spaces and places.

    4. Scatter accent color around the room to make an impact.

Playing with pattern

  • Mix patterns such as checks with florals or large-scaled patterns with small-scaled patterns.

  • Not sure when enough is enough? Play it safe! Use three different patterns that contrast in scale but relate in color.

  • More is more when you confidently mix up to five patterns. To do so, let one large-scaled pattern dominate over one medium-scaled floral and another geometric, and toss in two small-scaled accent patterns (your choice of floral or geometric). Make sure the colors in the large-scaled pattern are repeated in all the others.

  • Place pattern everywhere! Put the same pattern on the walls, windows, and furnishings.

Toying with texture

  • Traditional rooms look best in refined, smooth textures.

  • Contemporary spaces need more textural interest.

  • Feminine rooms need elegant and subtle textures.

  • Masculine decor calls for nubby, tweedy, and rugged texture.

  • The more neutrally colored the room, the more important texture becomes.

  • Heavy textures "eat" space, so use them only in large or cozy rooms.

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