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Decorating Color Schemes

by Nikki Willhite

As of this writing (2016) there should be no confusion what colors to use in your home.  You paint the walls a light gray, buy a gray sofa and then throw around a few pillows in aqua or yellow.  Should you want to paint the outside, you paint it gray with white trim.

Is it any wonder that decorators can tell you almost to the month when a house was remodeled?  Why are so many creative people doing exactly the same thing and how does it affect you and your ability to be frugal?

I can't explain the lack of variety in today's decorating world.  What I do know, though, is when the tide changes, if you want to be up-to-date, you are going to have to make some changes that will affect your pocketbook.  You need to be careful about the colors that you choose for your home.

We spend most of our decorating budget on the finishes in our home. Decorating finishes include items like cupboards , countertops, back splashes, flooring, and faucets. There are some materials used for finishes that have around for so long they are classics.  Subways tile, which is used in both kitchens and bathrooms, is an example of one of them.  The more classic materials we use in our home, the longer it will stay "in style."

Wood has remained popular through the years, but the color of the wood, and the size of the boards has changed.  Wood flooring can have very wide planks or it can be narrow strips.  With the popularity of the distressed style today, hand scraped wood flooring  is very popular.  Wood flooring with a gray finish is also popular.

The safest choice for a laminate or wood flooring that will stay in style longer is a medium shade of brown.  Stay away from floors that are either too rustic or too shiny if you are concerned about style longevity.

When it comes to purchasing furniture you will be limited by the available colors.  Usually there is more than one neutral color available.  Gray is a good color for furniture.  The eye does not tire of gray, and you can use other colors with it to get the mood you want. If you don't want gray for your upholstery, choose another neutral, like beige or black.

Have you ever noticed how pretty "staged" rooms are?  That is because they are always staged with white furniture.  The white sofas and chairs bring in more light, and make rooms look fresh and clean.  They are also a great backdrop for accessories.

While white may be a great design color, it is not a color you want to live with.  White furniture doesn't last long looking well in the average household.

If you buy a red sofa, you will eventually tire of it.  You are better off buying a gray or beige sofa and placing red pillows and throws on it.  When you tire of the red, you can easily remove it.

Having said that, if you are a person that has favorite colors, don't worry about color fatigue or the design world.  Use them!  If you have always wanted your living room done in a soft yellow color scheme and you want a floral yellow sofa, go for it if you have the money.  Look around for a store that does custom upholstery.

Take into consideration how much light comes into your home when making color selections. I would never use  dark wood floor in my home simply because my home does not receive enough light. It confounds me to see how many black appliances are put into tiny houses.

Try not to be too picky when it comes to decorating. If you decide to decorate or remodel your home in the current colors and finishes, just to be "in style",  in 5 years your home will look outdated.  If you have only picked items for your home because they were "in style," you won't be happy. 

If, on the other hand, you pick colors, finishes and styles that appeal to you, it won't matter what anyone else is doing.  Your home will be a reflection of your taste, and you will still appreciate what you have done. 

Make good use of neutrals, but surround yourself with the things that you like.  Don't let decorators have control over your style or your pocketbook.  It's your home, and your mortgage!

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! 


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