When we talk to sellers and realtors about our staging strategy, and when we work in clients' interiors, at some point the conversation always gets around to "unifying the color scheme." This is our way of saying: pick 3 or 4 main colors and use them throughout every room.
With interior redecorating and decorating, frequently our clients have a cohesive color scheme buried deep within many, many colors at use in their home. To figure out which 3 or 4 colors will become the main scheme, we do some investigating. Which piece of art do they just love? Is there a pillowcase, napkin, or even a shirt, they're drawn to? Are any of their wall colors painted in a color they chose and like?
Usually a theme starts to emerge. There are a handful of main color schemes we run across again and again: sea colors (green/blue/white/grey/tan), neutrals (beige, white, grey, black, silver), earth tones (red, brown, yellow, orange) and brights (pink, yellow, lime, purple, teal, red). Do you know which group makes you feel great? This is YOUR color scheme!
So, down to the work of "unifying" it within your home. First, edit out the items that do not reinforce your color scheme. If you are squarely in the earth tones, take the aqua and the purple quilted pillow off your sofa! The fun thing about working in a client's house (versus staging, where we often bring in the color scheme through our own accessories) is the process of discovering everything that comes out of closets and basements in support of the color scheme. And every time, we hear "I'm so glad to have this [insert name of treasured item here] out--I just love this and never knew what to do with it!"
Weaving the colors throughout your house will give you a cohesive look. If there are 3 or 4 main colors we're working with, we "up the levels" of each color in a different way in each room. For instance, if we're working with a sea palette of green, white, blue and tan, we might accessories intensively with blue in the kitchen, then work with both blue and green in the dining room, and combine all the colors in the living room. This gives each room a unique character, while keeping the color scheme consistent and easy to look at throughout the house. (See photos below for example of how to alter color levels within different rooms of the same home.)
This strategy is effective with paint colors, as well. If you are someone who is drawn to color on the walls, restrict yourself to a range of complimentary colors within your palette and thread them throughout your house. It's about commitment and faith in the fabulousness of the end result--as much as you may love red, if you want a serene interior and you are working with sea tones, resist the urge to paint your half-bath red!
Also, choose which way to go with wall colors--either use your walls to express your color scheme, and keep furnishings and accessories neutral (white, off white, brown, black) or paint walls in light, neutral tones that support the furnishings and accessories in your color scheme.