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Navigating the Introduction of Color

Color is a powerful creative tool that must be used thoughtfully within the context of interior design. Despite this, the majority of people don’t spend enough time carefully considering the potential impact of color as a critical design element within their homes and workspaces. At Julie Schuster Design Studio, our approach to creating a color palette is personalized for each project based on the needs and preferences of whomever will be living there. The colors in our living spaces should evoke a sense of support and joy, whatever our needs! Some aspects to consider:

Guiding Tenets

Whether your approach to color is informed by more traditional Color Theory and Color Psychology, Wellness Design or Feng Shui principles, there are common guiding tenets that should be observed and respected:

  • The 60-30-10 Rule is an interior designer’s best friend as it is a way to ensure color palettes remain balanced. Your dominant shade makes up 60% of the room – this will usually be a neutral or subdued hue to open up the space. Your secondary color makes up 30% of the space and is typically a bit bolder. Finally, your accent color is your boldest shade and should make up the remaining 10%.

  • Colors Should Be Tweaked to Meet the Specific Needs of a Client or Space: Tint a color to make it lighter by adding white. Shade a color to make it darker by adding black. Tone a color to slightly darken it by adding gray. You get the idea! Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore are my trusted resources when it comes to identifying the perfect shade of paint.

  • Understand Color Temperature: No one likes being in a room that’s too hot or too cold. The same can be said for the “color temperature” of a room. Reds, oranges and yellows are vibrant warm colors that bring a sense of lively intimacy to a space. Using too much warm color in a small spaces can make things feel claustrophobic. By contrast, blues, purples and greens are cool colors that can be used to calm down a room and bring a relaxed feel. Using too many cool colors in a spacious room can leave it feeling unwelcoming. But knowing how to break these rules in just the right ways are what a good color consultation can do!

  • Look for Cost-Effective Opportunities to Introduce Color: If you’re unsure about committing to a color scheme, get experimental and see what resonates with your spirit: paint a feature wall, add pillows, throws and blankets, art and flowers. Pay close attention to your intuition and be guided by it.

Colorful Collaborations

When introducing color to design projects, I often remind my clients that color is an essential component of the overall design strategy that should reflect the people that live within the space. From my experience, the best results are achieved through a deeply collaborative process between designers and homeowners who choose colors wisely to create the intended atmosphere in each space.

For example, this Art Deco Contemporary Design Project in Manhattan demonstrates a strong color story throughout. We introduced a dark tone on the accent wall in the entry foyer then led into the Scandinavian dining area embracing the quiet, neutral colors of gray, blue and taupe. This soothing gray continued into the adjoining living room and a statement was made with a splash of color. In another wellness design project showcasing successful color introduction, this Contemporary Elegance Design Project is an example of the balance between light and dark contrasting honed black granite counter tops against light bamboo cabinetry.

Color needn’t be daunting. In fact, it is often one of the most enjoyable aspects of the interior design process. Set up a color consultation in February 2021 to receive 10% off.

If you enjoyed this topic and like seeking design inspiration and advice on how to achieve physical and emotional wellness in your home, join our mailing list today.



Julie and her team have a passion for creating beautiful, engaging and functional spaces, focusing on both the physical as well as the emotional well being of your environment. Click on the links below for package details:

FULL SERVICE E-DESIGN PACKAGE A design collaboration done between client and designer done entirely o​nline. Purchase the package below, submit photos of the space and existing furnishings you like to see incorporated in the design and a sketch of the space with measurements.

COLOR CONSULTATION PACKAGE Need some assistance in selecting paint finishes for your home? A design collaboration done between client and designer done entirely online. Purchase the package below, submit photos of the space and and fabrics.

FENG SHUI RESIDENTIAL PACKAGE Whether it is directing the flow of chi through the arrangement of furnishings, design or colors; Julie and her team can help you to create the spaces that support your vision of a balanced life, rich in the areas that matter to you.

HOME STAGING PACKAGE There is no second chance to make a good first impression. When the time comes to sell or rent your home, ease the transition and maximize return by helping your home look its very best.

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