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Playing with Color

Bright multi-colored rug with matching chair colors

How do you choose colors for your upholstery project? Whether it’s an accent chair, a sofa or a simple cushion, a new color choice can change the mood of an entire room. Here are four exercises to help you find what’s right for your personal taste.

Look to the natural world…
Imagine a pleasant outdoor experience you’ve had – not just the visual, but the sounds, smells, flavors and tactile senses that made that place special. Do you daydream of sinking your toes into a sandy beach and swimming in turquoise waters? Then a blue-green/coral palette might be the perfect place to start. How about that moss-covered boulder littered with tiny phlox flowers that you seek for moments of solitude? A chartreuse/fuschia combination might recall that peaceful setting. Whether you’re tapping travel memories or looking around your immediate neighborhood – you can find inspiration.

Imagine a chartreuse moss-covered boulder with fuschia flowers growing on it

A special place may provide the best color inspiration

One of many possibilities - chartreuse & fuschia fabric color combinations

One possible fabric choice inspired by nature

Browse
Visit your local bookstore or library to peruse recent magazines. Find inspiration in art, craft and home design sites and publications – really anywhere there’s color that coincides with something that touches your heart. I love to search Google Images and Pinterest. Another favorite is Sensational Color. As you browse, pay attention to the emotional element – find a color combination that feels right to you.

purple & gold - a royal combination

OsborneandLittle.com is a site that provides great color inspiration

The color wheel
More of a ‘left-brain’ approach, the color wheel provides an easy ‘at-a-glance’ guide for choosing two or more colors. Any combination that is complimentary (2 colors), split complimentary (3 colors), triad (3 colors) or tetrad (4 colors) is a workable medley. Choose your key color(s) by spinning the top layer of the wheel and see what works together!

There are 3 layers to a color wheel, which spin to help you select different color combinations

An affordable color wheel will give you a starting point for choosing fabric colors.

Your Favorite Things
Here’s one I love: Focus on a special painting or art piece at home. Choose an item that holds sentimental value for you, a gift from a loved one or perhaps a souvenir from your travels. Begin your fabric search using colors from that item. Tying fabric colors to cherished items has a way of bringing treasured memories to life…

Bright multi-colored rug with matching chair colors

Pulling colors from a favorite rug may be just the thing – here’s a bright multicolored design from Sonya Winner

These are just a few of many approaches to choosing color for your home. If you’d like to learn more about color, fabric and natural upholstery, join our mailing list to receive timely tips each month in your inbox.

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About the Author

CarlaHey there! I'm Carla Pyle. I love the stories that our furniture tells. For me a picture of my Granddaddy Milton's green upholstered arm chair brings to mind the vivid rhymes & colors of 'The Cat in the Hat' and his soft low voice in the telling. I love too that there is always an element of nature in furniture - the warm-toned curving grain of a walnut leg or the reflection of life in a mid-century chrome piece. The best part of teaching & sharing natural upholstery is that it ties all of these things together. Stories - of individual experience and of the planet - help us build happy & healthy homes.View all posts by Carla →

  1. M. PerryM. Perry03-05-2014

    I love this angle and the bright cheery colors. Made muy day. Thanks.

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