Many people start their decorating with a piece of furniture, a theme, or a personal collection. While all of these things are important, I always start the design process by choosing a color palette. Our palettes consist of four complementary colors that will be used throughout the house, creating consistency. This is the foundation for the whole project.
If you’re like most of my clients, you have probably stared at the big white wall in your living room and felt lost. Then, when you try to choose a color, the abundance of options is simply overwhelming. To help me choose color palettes for my clients, I use a unique process that takes into account not only the style of their home, but also their preferences and personal coloring.
From this technique, I have developed Allison Smith Color Seasons: 16 exclusive four-color palettes, inspired by nature’s complementary colors. You may know which colors you want to design around simply by how you respond to the different palettes. However, I suggest you complete the following five steps before you select your personal Color Seasons palette.
Step One: Take the personal Color Seasons quiz
To help determine which colors are right for you, I’ve created a quiz that mimics the process I use with clients. Your answers should lead you to the Color Seasons palette that’s your natural fit. And besides, it’s kind of fun! For each question, check the box next to the answer that best decries you. your perfect choice might not be listed, so go with the option that most closely resembles your preference.
Step Two: Find your personal season
First, check your answers and add up how many A, B, C and D selections you have. Now, find the season that best matches your personal features and personality:
Mostly As: Your color season is Winter. The strength of black, white, and rich, bold colors tends to appeal to you.
Mostly Bs: Your color season is Spring. These palettes feature clear pigments common to spring-flowering bulbs.
Mostly Cs: Your color season is Summer. Colors from the beach, such as sand, coral and ocean blue complement this season.
Mostly Ds: Your color season is Fall. Shades from nature, such as greens, burnt reds and oranges, as well as golden hues, predominate in fall palettes.
Step Three: Choose bold, bright, subtle or soft
Once you’ve narrowed your Color Seasons palette into Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, it’s time to match your personal style within each season. All seasons are broken down into Bold, Bright, Subtle, and Soft, for a total of 16 personal palettes. Consider both your style preferences and the mood you would like to create as you select the intensity of your Color Seasons palette. The palette descriptions can help you make this decision.
Bold: Fearless, stimulating, strong colors
Bright: Cheerful, illuminated, crisp, clear colors
Subtle: Color without noise, a more relaxed awareness of color
Soft: A calm, soothing touch of color
Though you may think your choices are limited, I have specifically designed only four palettes per season to help you make confident choices. Each is thoughtfully chosen and designed to be used as a group. Too many choices are overwhelming, and our goal is to get you the Color Seasons Palette that works for you.
Step Four: Be free to experiment
If you feel like experimenting on your own with color, try staying within one overall season to keep your look consistent. Use my formula to help with this process: Start by choosing your predominant color, then follow through with your accent colors. For example, your predominant color is Spring Subtle, but you use accent colors from the Spring Bold and Spring Bright palettes.
Allison Smith Color Seasons paint is available in sample jars to help you make these decisions. Be sure to use a white board to test the color. If you sample a color over an already painted wall, you compromise the true color of the paint. I’ll give you more details about Allison Smith Color Seasons paint and ideas for using the colors in your home in an upcoming blog on Palettes.
Step Five: Think fabric, accessories and more
Your Color Seasons palette is much more than a choice of paint colors. You’ll use it throughout your home for coordinating upholstery fabric, pillows, window coverings, area rugs and accessories. In the next few blogs we will go over each palate and show you some examples of it’s implementation. For now, check out some success stories in our Decorate With What You Own section.
What season did you end up with? Do you like your results, or do you prefer another palette?