School of Redesign
When choosing a color scheme, how do you arrive at the three basic colors?
Take inspiration from an existing pattern already in your room... in window coverings, upholstery, fabrics, cushions, etc. If there is no pattern already i the room, then your first job will be to introduce one. Pick a pattern with colors you like, one that contains some of the colors already found in the room's carpet, window coverings, etc. Identify three color families in the pattern: the main color, the secondary color and the third color, which will act as the accent color.
When determine color placement, you must first consider the main focus of the room. If you have chosen your colors from a sofa pattern then you use the predominant color of the pattern as your main wall color.
It is wise to select the secondary color for your walls if you want to maintain the sofa as a focus. Consider, too, that your eye is attracted to the lightest color in a room first.
So, if your walls are not the first think you want to be noticed, do not paint them the lightest color.
The main color does not have to be the lightest or the background color in the pattern. It will, however, be the most prevalent color you will use in your room.
If you choose as your main color, the dominant color in the pattern, then you will probably lose some of the emphasis and impact of that pattern in the room.
The secondary color will not be used as the main choice, but may appears as a piece of furniture or a carpet. The function of this color is to provide visual interest, variety and balance.
The third color is commonly thought of as the brightest or darker color that will be used the least. Since it is used so sparingly, a strong color tends to make a good accent color. It is contrast that makes for a great accent. White, then, can be an accent color, especially if the room in which it is applied tends to utilize darker colors.
In most cases, successful accents are those that are complementary to the main color.
Once these colors are established, you can place them in the room to produce the effect you want: light colors against dark colors for emphasis, cool colors against warm for strength and contract. The most neutral colors in the room should be used on the largest and most unchangeable items such as carpets, window coverings and major furniture pieces.
Remember, within the three colors you have chosen, you can expand your range by combining different values of the same color, for example, light and dark blue.