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Bring unity to a home design by keeping the color selection simple

August 05, 2013

Design consultant Cindy Lee Bergersen is the first to admit that committing to a color scheme for the whole house may be overwhelming. By limiting the color palette, and enhancing it with beautiful hardwood flooring like Anderson's Gnarly Plank collection, homeowners can approach a project of this magnitude in baby steps.

Hardwood FloorsDesign consultant Cindy Lee Bergersen is the first to admit that committing to a color scheme for the whole house may be overwhelming. By limiting the color palette, and enhancing it with beautiful hardwood flooring like Anderson's Gnarly Plank collection, homeowners can approach a project of this magnitude in baby steps.

On her website, DecodingDecor.com, Bergersen suggested an easy way to test different colors without painting large practice swatches around the house. Instead, pick two hues and paint them onto a sheet of white foam core - available at arts and crafts supply stores - and move these sample boards around a room at different times of the day. That allows home decorators to see the effect of natural light and how the colors look in both light and dark corners.

It's also a chance to see the colors together in more than tiny swatches, which makes it easier to coordinate a final combination that will work well even if the shades are used in different room designs.

The whole house
Seeing the house as a whole makes choosing colors simpler. The same hues are repeated in the homeowners' selection of soft furnishings, including upholstery fabrics, rugs and pillow covers. Those colors, or shades of them, can be repeated in different rooms, but in a unique way in each space.

"Devise a color plan that makes sense for your whole residence," said Bergerson, who writes a home design column for Hamptons.com. "The goal is to give your rooms a cohesive look as a unified environment."

A good way to implement the designer's advice is to paint no more than four colors throughout a residence and to unify all of them with the same trim and molding. A wall color in one room design can be the ceiling color elsewhere in the home.

Same hue, different shades
Another method is to stick with one color family, which is different shades of the same color. The lighter tones work best in the public spaces such as dining, living and kitchen areas. Darker ones are good choices for private areas, including bedrooms and home offices.

In addition, the hallways should be painted the same neutral to tie different areas together. The ceiling can be a pale shade of the wall color used in a room. Or for a bolder palette, paint the ceiling in an accent color.