How I Picked a Color Palette for Our Home

Well, so much for trying to write one or two blog posts a month 😬 As some of you already know, I started a new job in October, and I’ve had a lot less free time. This post alone took me weeks to throw together in 10-minute increments. I’m not giving up though! Kendall and I have tackled several house projects since September, and I’m looking forward to writing about them, too (eventually 😉).

In my last post (four months ago…), I mentioned that I created a color palette for our house, and I wanted to explain how (and why) I did this.

What I Did and Why

After we made an offer on our house, I started planning the colors we’d use in pretty much every room.  I combed through my Pinterest boards and created a new board for every room in the house. My goal was to collect inspiration and create a general color palette that I would use throughout all the rooms in our house.  I wanted each room to flow naturally into the next one, creating a cohesive and calming space. I also wanted to be able to easily move decor around from room to room, since I love to “shop my house” and swap out different pieces.  

After I created my Pinterest boards, I started to notice that my tastes leaned toward either light, airy rooms with natural or neutral colors (like olive, camel, grey, and blush) or deep, moody rooms with darker colors (like navy, hunter green, and teal)…  Pretty much two opposite ends of the spectrum. This confused and annoyed me. I didn’t really know where to start.

Then, I remembered the age-old design trick that recommends picking a color palette based on an inspiration piece.  I realized immediately that I already had one—my living room rug!

I purchased this rug in a 9×12 on Way Day last year for just under $200, and it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever bought for our home! The size really pulls the room together, and the colors bring a lot of warmth. The stock photo doesn’t do the rug justice, so here are a few styled photos to help you get a better idea of the color:

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In the stock photo, the prevailing color appears to be a terracotta shade, but in person, it actually has much more depth.  The middle portion is a beautiful dark blue/teal, and the trim a lot of colors, like sage, blue, pink, and peach.

If picking a few colors from this rug and using only those colors throughout the house sounds too restricting to you, let me put you at ease.  My goal is not to pick five colors from this rug and only use those in every room.  Instead, my goal is to make sure any color I choose goes with at least one (but hopefully more) of the colors in this rug, regardless of the room it’s in.  

I can create sooo many color palettes from this one rug.  Here are a few examples below:

See how no matter which way you look at it (horizontally, vertically, diagonally) the colors all seem to create a cohesive color palette?  That gives me a huge number of options for every room in my house!  

When I implement these colors, my first focus will be choosing colors for permanent things like walls, cabinets, or tile.  Then, I’ll choose accent pieces like curtains, decor items, art, rugs, and throw pillows. I personally try to keep my furniture pieces on the neutral side, but don’t feel like you have to!  A sofa or chair in one of the brighter colors would definitely be a beautiful statement piece.

How to Make a Color Palette

If you need a little help making a color palette of your own, here’s the process I use to create one:

  1. On Pintrest, create a mood board of several photos you like that look cohesive together and match your inspiration piece.
  2. Save each photo to your desktop.
  3. Go to a site that will generate a color palette from an uploaded photo.  (CSS Drive is the best, IMO.  It will give you lots of color options instead of just 4–5.)
  4. If necessary, crop the photo to a portion that has the colors you’re looking for (this will help prevent random colors from showing up in your palette).  See my example below:

Cropping out the rug (which brought in too many browns) and the tree (which added a random bright green) helped create a more accurate palette.

Or, use an app like PicMonkey to create your palette.  They have a really nice tutorial here.

How to Find an Inspiration Piece
Finding an inspiration piece is probably this trickiest part of the whole process. To give you a few ideas, I rounded up nine pieces that I think could inspire beautiful color palettes for a home!

1. Purple and Pink Dark Floral Wall Mural | 2. Leopard Walk Charcoal and Orange Wallpaper | 3. Mountain Meadow Removable Wallpaper | 4. Langdon Hand-Knotted Rug | 5. Silver Florid Dreams Rug | 6. Gracewood Hollow Lapointe Medallion Border Rug | 7. Abstract Shapes | 8. Looming Clouds Framed Canvas | 9. Mid-Century Color Block Art

I hope this was helpful!  This is by no means an official method, but it did work really well for me.  Please ask me any questions if you try to replicate the process and get stuck!

Do you have a color palette in your home?  If so, how did you create it?