Color Theory

Not Just For Quilters

Color is one of those things that scare folks out of their collective wits.

They may not admit to it, but most people are terrified to try something new because, well, because.

Color is a part of our lives. The clothes we wear. The way we decorate our homes. The color of the vehicle we drive. (Believe it or not, black, blue, red, silver and white are all colors…not exactly exciting colors, but still.)

If you are a crafter, color is an integral part of your projects. If you decorate your home, choosing the <cough> right colors can be a deal breaker.

It doesn’t have to be.

Karen Brown of Just Get It Done Quilts has a great collection of videos on YouTube that explain color theory. Her aim is to assist quilters, but I say, use what she teaches to help you choose colors in whatever application you choose. You can find her videos on YouTube by searching for Just Get It Done Quilts in the YouTube search box. On her page, you will find links to her Facebook, Instagram and website. Check them out!

By the way, she has some great free handouts for her color theory videos. She tells you where to find them in her videos.

Home Applications

If you are contemplating a home decor project, but don’t have a clue where to start, might I suggest finding an inspiration piece.

What’s that? An inspiration piece is something you might want to include in your decoration. It could be a knick knack, painting, pillow or piece of fabric.

The inspiration piece could be the starting point to finding the colors you will want to use in the room as well as setting the tone or type of decor. You can go Modern, Traditional, Art Deco, or expand into Cozy Cottage or something with more of a theme like, say, Bird Houses or Light Houses. You get the idea!

Matt Fox and Shari Hiller did an entire series on this a few years back, but you can find more on their website mattandshari.com. Shari did a great video explaining color theory and how you can use it to design a room. Well worth checking out!

It’s A Comfort Level Thing

Color doesn’t have to be intense, you choose the depth of the colors you want to work with.

Need something calming and quiet? Try pastels.

Looking for more energy in a room or on a project? The deeper, darker the tone could give you want to you are looking for.

Warm or Cool?

Warm colors have a red base while cool colors are blue based. This is good to know when you are considering intensity and energy in a room.

Color has an impact no matter what intensity you choose. I once worked in an office that had been painted in a lower mid level blue color. Pretty, but cold. Really. When the a/c was turned on we froze. The cool color on top of the cold air just made the rooms colder. Didn’t matter what the thermometer said, either.

Where to Start?

You have quite a few options:

  • Collect pictures from magazines of rooms you like.
  • Visit your local home center and collect paint samples – don’t forget the brochures with room samples, too.
  • Wallpaper samples provide not only color options, but design options. Same goes for – I kid you not – wrapping paper.
  • Fabric can give you some great ideas and when paired with wallpaper samples can be a great start to a beautiful room.
  • Head over to the scrapbook section of your local hobby shop to find some interesting, and colorful, papers.

Colors change every year. More precisely, “In Colors” change every year. As you collect your favorites, keep in mind that some of those favorites may not last very long. Others are classics. If you aren’t concerned about taking on a design that is not up to date, you can create some amazing rooms.

Don’t be surprised to find yourself combining colors that you didn’t think would go together. I’ve recently seen some combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of, but when put together worked beautifully.

Don’t forget, the designer who developed that favorite swatch you love, put together colors that work together. Saved you from that Edge-Of-Your-Seat panic. 🙂

Color theory can be the start of a grand adventure. Beautiful rooms, gorgeous quilts, amazing craft projects. Don’t be afraid to dip your toe.

About Janet

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