How to create a cohesive colour palette for your home

Creating a cohesive colour scheme in your home can feel like an overwhelming task. How many colours should I use? Should I stick with one tone of each colour, or can I use several? What about feature walls? Where do I even start?

Once you start researching the ‘rules’ of colour cohesion, what should be a straightforward and enjoyable project can become incredibly complex! To help keep things simple and fun, we caught up with Resene Colour Consultant Rebecca Long to talk through the basics of creating colour cohesion in your new home.

Colour cohesion starts with emotion

Creating a whole colour palette for your home helps to give your home flow and to create a sense of continuity and cohesion. And while cohesion is an important factor, you also want to ensure that the colours and tones used in each space reflect the activities and emotions of that space.

Start in the heart of the home

A good place to start thinking about colour choice is in the areas that are most often used, such as the living and kitchen spaces, and move outward from there. Once you’ve got this nailed, you can start to have a little more fun with areas like the master bedroom where you might try something a bit different.

Build colour around permanent fixtures

When you’re planning a colour scheme for your new build, it can be helpful to look at permanent fixtures such as benchtops, kitchen joinery, and flooring and consider colour choices that help pull them all together.

Whereas there are thousands of paint colour choices, the colours you can choose for your floors or benchtop are more limited. It’s very easy to fall in love with a specific paint colour, but then trying to find complimentary fixtures to fit can be difficult! Instead, pick from your limited ranges and work your way out.

Layering with texture and lighting

When planning colours for whole house cohesion, a good guide is to stick to either three or five colours (odd numbers work better than even). That could mean black, white and one other colour, or it could be layers of tonal variations.

Once you’re happy with your basic palette, you can also start to think about bringing in texture and lighting. Fabrics, tiles, and timber all help to add dimension and tactility. Carefully positioned lighting is another great tool to help change, enhance, or completely transform a colour.

Add drama, or harmonise

Keeping to 3-5 paint colours may seem limiting, however this gives you the freedom to enhance your palette with bold furniture pieces, rugs, and accessories. Add in contrasting shades to create a little drama, or harmonise with complementary shades.

Make use of neglected spaces

Neglected or small spaces such as hallways, staircases, and landings provide an excellent opportunity to bring in colour. Just a small amount of subtle colour can transform often overlooked spaces, drawing in the eye, and even creating a feature – especially when combined with carefully considered lighting.

How to get started

A great place to start creating your whole house colour palette is by flicking through home design magazines or websites. Start saving images that you like – but don’t overthink why you like them!

Once you’ve collated a reasonable amount of imagery, head into your local Resene store and have a chat with one of their in-store colour consultants. With years of interior colour design experience, Resene’s consultants can help you identify the links between your images and start to tease out the thread that ties them all together. Before you know it, you’re on your way to creating a cohesive colour palette that you’ll love. Then the fun can really begin!

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