Color Inspiration {Decorator’s Home Office Makeover}

A colleague of mine visited my newly redesigned office last week. We were talking color, and she asked where my inspiration came from.

You already saw the furniture I came to this office with. I didn’t have the funds or the stomach to replace or paint everything, so black was a given.

You might have noticed the little leopard chair with the recovered seat. Although it’s a neutral, it made sense to incorporate a brown into the office. The blinds would stay, and if all went well, I would keep the hardwood floor, so there would be brown tones in the room. So, oddly, a couple of brown pieces figured heavily into the inspirations.

I thought I really, really, really wanted a pink office, but I couldn’t find a pink that I could sit in. I’m much happier with the blues. What I knew for sure is that I wanted the bookcase to be an accent color, not the same as the walls. Here are my picks.

home office makeover

This is a color direction, but not a full color story. The yellow goes on the walls. The gray goes on the bookcase. The right white (you know there are a million white choices, right?) gets chosen for the trim.

So let’s talk accent colors. This is where most people go wrong, by not telling the whole story. Bring all of the colors together and play with them. This is where I bring in my pink.

home office makeover

Nice, but not quite right. Feels a little bubblegum to me. Let’s try another combination.

home office makeoverThese ended up being the colors that informed all the rest of my choices. I still carry these swatches around town in my purse, so I can pick up the perfect accessory if I see it. If you aren’t as confident with color selection, I can help you with your very own custom color kit that fits in your purse.

A trick that helps most people is to look at the swatches in the same concentration as they will occur in the room. So more yellow, less pink and blue.

At this point, there’s one more mistake to avoid. Many people will pick a color for the walls and never look back. However, it’s a good idea to use your initial color story to just inform your product selection. Paints can be mixed in a million colors, but your accessories and other choices are manufactured in limited selections. So start with a palette and adjust your choices after you’ve made a few product selections. The sofa that Yu end up loving may indeed be a blue, but it may be a shade different than the one you chose for your blue walls,for example. It’s great to be able to choose Color with No Regrets!

By the way, there are plenty of high-tech ways to do color selection, and I use boards when needed, like this one I made for a client,, but there’s no better way to choose colors than with good old color chips in the space where you are actually making changes. (Below, just in case you’ve been able to resist the siren call of Pinterest.)

I wanted a functional colorful office with lots of feminine touches. What do you think?

home office makeover