Five Color Guidelines

When selecting color, follow these rules of thumb.

1. The eye is drawn to contrast. For best results, combine a balanced variety of warm and cool hues, light and dark values, and bright and dull intensities. Large areas of color are more pleasing if balanced in combination with proportionally small areas of another color.

2. Create one dominant focal point with color. Studies show that people feel more at ease and relaxed when one color is dominant and another is subordinate. Combining too many variations can evoke a feeling of chaos or be disturbing.

3. Create balance and harmony by selecting colors that are both warm and cool to complement the personal coloring found in both women and men.

4. Evaluate the lighting source—such as windows, lamps and light fixtures—as part of your color-selection process to ensure that it creates the desired results.

5. Consider the context in which a color will be used, where it will be seen, and the type of mood and feeling you want to create.