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How to plan your palette

I thought I’d compile my tips from my Top Tip Tuesday posts, as reading them in context will give you a better insight as to how to use them in your Interior design process;

To start, let’s talk about having confidence when decorating. The biggest obstacle to overcome is to trust your instincts. Just try it, and if it doesn’t work, you can always try another look. One approach to colour selection is to use an environment as inspiration for your home. For example, using the beach, a view, or an environment to ignite your inspiration may be the way to go if you don’t, have a particular pull towards a colour scheme. Colours that sit well together in nature will also work well as paint colours.

Colour Palette Concept Board - Hannah Redden, Bristol Interior Designer

Above is an example of a concept board I composed for a colorful family kitchen design. The 'Midwinter Stonehenge' plate was the inspiration for the theme. With the living room beyond the kitchen being decorated in an uplifting yellow, the plates tie the two rooms together.

Choose your palette carefully.

Consider co-ordinating your schemes and patterns you will use throughout your home as this is REALLY important. This has a HUGE effect on the flow from room to room. Even if it’s just one colour that makes an appearance, this assists with the mood and flow of each area. Start by picking a colour for the biggest, most centrally located room. This will probably be your living room or kitchen, and is a great room to get your started with a coherent colour scheme for your home.

Your colour palette.

Once you have a colour picked for your first room, a simple method to move on is to choose shades of the same hue for adjacent rooms or walls. You can choose a hue from a nearby paint swatch, pick the next colour up or down on the same paint card sample.


Work on upstairs and downstairs separately. If there is a true separation between floors, you can create different moods in the upstairs versus downstairs, rooted in the colours you choose. PLUS, just focusing on floor at a time helps keep the task feeling more manageable.

How to pick your palette.

If you love colour and have a certain hue in mind for a specific room, you can start there instead. Looking out from the bold-hued room, choose a softer, more subdued colour for the next rooms. You can, of course, put bold colours next to each other. Just remember your colour palette. If picking your palette stresses you out, choosing a soft, neutral hue for the main room will make picking the other colours easier.

Shades and Tints.

Have a strategy when picking colours for an open space. When much of the house is visible at once, as in an open plan living area, picking colours that work together is especially important. Using shades or tints (shades are darker; tints are lighter) of the same hue can work well in this type of space.


As you narrow down your colour choices and think you have the winners, DO purchase test pots of paint. Sample cards, even bigger ones, can be deceptive. Painting your own swatches will allow you to assess each colour in the room it’s meant for and check that the colours in visually linked spaces work together.

Live with your swatches.

When it comes to selecting colours don’t rush. Paint the samples on the wall and live with them for a while. Watch how the colours change throughout the day. It’s okay to do a bit at a time and live with it and review it.

One thing responds to another. Some of the most amazing interiors are put together over time. If there’s anything I’ve missed or that you’d like to hear more about do let me know and I’ll assist. Happy decorating! 😊

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