The California Paints Blog

Combining Your Interior Paint Colors with Kerrie Kelly

Posted on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 @ 08:36 AM

Kerry KellyWe're excited to kick-off our first guest blog post with one of our favorite interior designers, Kerrie Kelly. We were first introduced to Kerrie through our 2010 Color Challenge. Based out of Northern California, her sense of color and design caught our eye and her work never ceases to amaze us. We've loved getting to know Kerrie and couldn't think of a better person to feature on our new blog. Take it away, Kerrie...

Tips for Coordinating Interior Colors

Individual colors are interesting, but the real fun happens when you bring colors together in a room. Endless color combinations are possible, but keep a few basic color principles in mind. A monochromatic combination uses shades of a single color, and can be serene and elegant. The key to success is to use materials that are similar—but not identical—in lightness or darkness and in brightness or dullness. An analogous combination consists of colors that lie side by side on the color wheel, such as blue, blue-violet, and violet. A complementary color combination is made up of colors that lie directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green. Approximately opposite colors work well, too; for example, sage green {like California Paints’ Wainscot Green} pairs beautifully with violet. Sometimes combinations are more interesting when the colors are not direct opposites. Beyond these suggestions, keep these tips in mind.


  • KEEP COLOR INTENSITY SIMILAR A room would be boring if all its colors were the same intensity, but they should still work together. To keep one color from overwhelming the other colors in a space, make sure it isn’t significantly darker or lighter than the others. In the same vein, use clear colors together and muted colors together. Even if colors are from opposite points on the color wheel, they will still feel harmonious.

 Bathroom Paint

  • BE AWARE OF UNDERTONES Most colors are mixtures of several colors, and the undertone, or underlying color, reflects that mix. The undertone will be either a warm color or a cool color, and your color choices will be more harmonious if all colors have the same type of undertone.

 Kitchen Lime Green

  • USE COLORS IN UNEQUAL QUANTITIES Equal amounts of color fight for attention; unequal amounts are more pleasing. The secret is to let one color dominate while the others play supporting roles.

 Living Room

  • THINK ABOUT COLOR PLACEMENT Where you place colors in a room is just as important as using them in pleasing proportions. Even reversing the color choices between the walls and the furnishings, such as having lavender walls with yellow furnishings versus yellow walls with lavender furnishings, can make a difference in how you perceive the room. The visual impact of your decorating scheme is a direct result of color placement.

More About Kerrie:

Kerrie Kelly, Owner of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, founded 1995, is an accomplished interior designer, author, instructor and multi-media consultant. She and her team currently keep many projects going simultaneously including residential and commercial interiors while promoting her two books and multi-media project, Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide, published by Oxmoor House and the newly released My Interior Design Kit, with Pearson Professional and Career Education. She is a certified interior designer and an holds a Masters in Business.

Topics: interior paint, paint colors, color schemes, Guest Post

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