Designing with a Color Palette | The Fixer Upper Design Plan

Ever since construction came to an end about a month ago…and actually even before then, I have had kind of a hard time envisioning the 1987 Fixer Upper decorated.  It’s funny, because I had no problem designing all of the renovations…it was like they were in my head before I even found the house…but now that it’s done, I have had the hardest time getting started on the decorating process.  That is SO unusual for me.  Honestly, I think the reason why is because it’s not home to me.  For me, decorating is a very personal experience.  I want my home to be full of the people I love, things I love and mementos from all of the places I love.  Each and every little detail usually has a story behind it…even if most people don’t know about it.  It’s the same way when I work with clients.  It is always one of the first things I want to do…to get to know them.  Where they came from, what they love to do, things that inspire them…I want their home to be a reflection of all of those things and it helps me to design their space.   I have poured over every magazine, website, catalog, you name it…countless times over the last few months and I just can’t seem to find something that makes me excited to dive in and get started.  Another complicating factor…Instagram!  I don’t know about you guys, but I see so much beautiful inspiration, that when I am feeling uninspired it almost makes me more confused as to which direction to head. lol!     Well, last night I decided it was high time I got my ducks in a row and figure out what I was going to do with this place.  I went back to square one…where I should have been starting long ago.  That is designing with a color palette in mind.  But, how do you choose a palette?  I don’t know about you, but often it’s overwhelming picking paint colors for one room, much less a color scheme for an entire house! 😉 . So, let’s talk about where to start and how to build your color palette.

A great place to start…your closet.  Most people wear clothes that they feel comfortable in and look good in.  You gravitate towards things you like at the store, and when you hang them in your closet, you probably notice a trend. If you take a peek in my closet you will definitely notice that is definitely true.  There is a whole lot of black, white, gray and navy…so it should come as no surprise to me that those are the colors of the house.

designing with a color palette

I made a big color commitment with my kitchen island and painted wainscoting, so navy is definitely my base color.  Everything else is a pretty blank slate, so I need to find some accent colors to work with it.  Think about what color you love and where you want to make a statement.  You can choose a color for the biggest, most visible room in the house, (usually a kitchen or family room) or start with a room that you want to be a little wild with and go bold.  This is a great place to start working with your whole-house palette.  Whatever color you decide on, from there you can work with softer hues of the same color, or add in some accent colors.  That’s where I am in the process.  I know that I have navy as a base, now I am building on that.  Here’s a super important tip…go with what you love and not what is trendy right now.  You will probably live in your home much longer than the trend is in style.  Pick a neutral (in my case it’s the navy) and work in two accent colors to start.

I did things the not so scientific way last night.  I hopped on Pinterest and started creating a board simply titled UT house.  Then I just started pinning.  Anything that caught my eye.  Weddings, clothes, bedrooms, flowers, parties…you name it.  After I had pinned about 40 things, I took a look at my board.  And guess what they almost all had in common?  They almost all had at least one or two of the same color.

It was so funny to see the navy, blush and sometimes with a pop of light green jump out at me…everywhere. I am a creature of habit I guess.  Remember this piece of artwork?

choosing a color palette in design

Yeah…that would be the living room in our CA house. Too funny!  After the Pinterest experiment, it was obviously clear to me that the palette of this house needs to be navy and blush.  It will work nicely with the light gray on the walls and darker grays and and gold fixtures throughout.

Here is a totally inspiring image ripped form a Restoration Hardware catalog that I am now carrying around with me everywhere…it kind of works in all of the colors that we have going on in the house right now.

choosing a color palette in design

Because I have the luxury with this house of starting from scratch, I want the whole house to flow.  If it’s done right, the color palette that you choose and working with it throughout the house can give any space great flow and makes your home feel more cohesive.  Think of model homes and how they are designed.  They are a perfect example of how designers pick three colors and use them throughout a house.  I know when I tour model homes I often remember them as “the blue house” or “the green house” because of how they were decorated.

Don’t feel trapped with your color palette.  Not every room needs to include every color.  I am going to use subtle hues of blue in each room and that will be enough to make it feel cohesive.  Andy certainly doesn’t want blush in his room…so the navy will be sufficient.  This article is designed for graphic designers, but I think it’s a great one on color if you are interested in learning a little more about choosing colors and trying to decide for yourself what colors to work with.

I’m excited to share this process with you and show you where it all ends up.  Before and afters are always fun, right?  Be sure to follow along with the before and afters of our #1987FixerUpper here so you can see everything from the beginning, to see just how far we’ve come! 🙂

I’d love to have you join me on social media where I love to share more of my favorite things, design ideas and fun every day! You can find me here…

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Owner at Pink Peppermint Design
Tammy Mitchell is the founder and creative director of lifestyle blog Along with being a homeschooling mom of two kiddos, she is also an in-demand prop and event stylist, photographer, interior and graphic designer. Here on Pink Peppermint Design, she aims to share creative DIY projects, easy entertaining and gift ideas, inspiring interiors and events, as well as her life, with thousands of readers every month. She lives in Southern California, with her husband and two children.

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