Decorator’s Best Friend: The Color Wheel

As you move into your first place, one thing becomes abundantly clear. Decorating is HARD! Something that your family made look easy growing up is much more intimidating when you have to start from scratch and do it yourself.

When I moved into my first place, decorating was too overwhelming for me. I had a couple of pieces that I liked, but my boyfriend had free reign and we ended up with a bachelor-pad look. It worked out great for our first place together, but as we moved into our second, we both realized it was time for a more grown-up decorating style. Which leads me to some pretty great advice (in my opinion).

As far as colors go, USE THE COLOR WHEEL!

Personally, I hadn’t thought about the color wheel since I was in elementary school. But while doing some research on decorating, I stumbled upon that advice. And it really made my job much easier…and it can make yours too!

Here are a couple steps to establish your color palette:

1. Choose your first color!

This can be your favorite color, the color of your sofa, or one of the colors in a set of curtains you found and love.

2. Check out the color wheel!


The Adobe color wheel  (picture above) is one of the best I have found!! You can move each arm around and the colors automatically update to show you complementing colors. In the top left, you can choose different types of complementing colors as well! I used this to figure out how to match my orange and yellow patterned curtains with the rest of the house!

Also check out this color map from an Australian Design start-up called Canva.

3. Consider monochromatic, analogous, and complementary schemes.

Monochromatic uses different shades of one color. This could be good to use in one room, if you can connect it with other colors within your apartment.

Analogous schemes use colors side-by-side with each other.

Complementary schemes are bold, but the most interesting (and what I ended up with). Here, consider colors that are directly opposite from each other on the color wheel.

4. Use throw pillows, accent trinkets, lamps, and blankets to complete the look.

Once you establish your color palette, decorating becomes much easier! If you see something that you love and it fits in your palette, you can get it without feeling stressed about messing up your look! Make sure to utilize small pieces — pillows, picture frames and like — for pops of color.

Have fun!!!

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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