Get Your Own Designer Look #2: Balancing Act

It’s more about the mix of light, medium and dark shades than about color.

A brilliant way to kick up your style quotient is to view a room as if it were a black and white photo,

then assess the balance of light, dark and medium shades.

Good balance might mean a dark floor, light furniture and medium toned walls. Use darker toned throw pillows on the lighter sofa.

Color continuity is your friend. Start with the fabric. There are millions of paint colors available that will be a possible perfect pick, but not vice versa.

Don’t go giddy with color choices all the same.

It’s unnerving to feel like you are walking into another country just by going to a different room. A very sophisticated solution is to pick one color and vary the shades and tones of that color for each room. If you have your heart set on painting a rainbow of colors throughout, then use the same trim color everywhere to tie it all together.

A color scheme based on neutrals with only one, or at most two colors is an automatic statement of calm, orderly sophistication. Neutral doesn’t mean boring. Deep colors like navy/indigo, eggplant and dark tobacco have come to be considered neutrals. Think about it. These colors really do look great with virtually any other color.

Limiting the color palette and moving the colors around the room

for use in various places will give you the coordinated look that spells

“A pro has been here”.

A color or shade of a color from the rug could be used for the sofa throw pillows. A color in the sofa could be used to coordinate and unify two armchairs in a conversation group. By saving the “extra color options” for your accessories, art and rugs, they will read like wonderful pops of interest rather than be lost in the profusion of hues.

All Rooms Have Five Walls. Use your ceiling color to complement your overall scheme and integrate another pop of delight. A white ceiling doesn’t make a room taller as much as it provides contrast. This causes the eye to stop to register the change. Where your eye stops, the wall height is defined. In a room with no moldings, you have an opportunity to select a light to medium shade to paint walls, including the ceiling. By doing so, where the walls end and the ceiling begins isn’t blaringly apparent, and the room boundaries expand. At the very least, pick a lighter shade for the ceiling than the wall color, or go with a lovely neutral pastel such as café au lait or deep antique ivory.

Noah’s bright idea: Pairs add balance, cohesion and overall order to any space. Without at least a few pairs, your room will begin to take on the look of a furniture store. On the other hand, too many pairs will give you the dreaded “Ark Look” not the “Designer Look” you want. Pairs don’t have to match. Two pieces of art that are similar in size and topic can become a pair with matching frames. Two lamps that are more or less the same size can become a pair flanking the sofa if they have matching lampshades. Two different style upholstered chairs intended for use in your conversation can be covered with the same fabric to create a twosome.

Touch and Go: Pay close attention to the textures, finishes and materials you use and add as much variation as you reasonably can. Look for contrast and opposites: rough and smooth, shiny and matte, silk and burlap, leather and lace, glass and metal. A mirror does wonders for any and every room. Where can you put one?

Next Time: Get Your Own Designer Look  #3: It’s In The Mix


Related Posts

Get Your Own Designer Look #1: Vision Quest

Get Your Own Designer Look  #3: It’s In The Mix

Decor Aid: Where Do I Start?

Household Clutter Control #1:  Keep A Firm Grip On The Obvious

Mixing Decor For Two #2: Your Style

Wall Color Selection #8: Perfect Wall Color


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This part of a recent article I wrote for publication on It’s represented here as a foundation for further topic discussion, updates and commentaries…

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