Spectacular Spaces tips for eliminating color confusion!

If you are thinking about making some color changes in your home, like most of my clients, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices.  Check out these tips from my Home Inspirations column in this weekend's News-Press.

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• June 4, 2011


Color is a homeowner's most powerful tool when it comes to dramatically changing a home. Used correctly, it completely transforms a room or an entire home. It is the biggest change that can be made for the least amount of money.

It has the power to change everything, like magic. Color is the first thing we notice. The wrong color sends us in the other direction and the right color draws us in. It turns a dull space into something exciting. It can soften a room. But picking just the right color can be a challenge. Color confusion!

Much of the process has to do with the emotional aspects of color and deciding what you like and how to achieve a feeling or an emotion in a room or in your entire home. It is what happens before you begin to pick out paint colors.

When I do a color consultation for a client, I find that most are confused about where to begin the exciting task of picking out color. Because it is about the client's home and not mine, what is a decorator to do?

First, we decide how you want the room to feel. For my own home and for my clients, I am constantly taking pictures of vignettes of color: flowers, pots around a pool, a setting in a park, that draw me in and speak to me and inspire me. This helps me to decide what mood I want to create: Playful. Whimsical. Elegant. Exotic. Cozy. Sexy. Exciting. A spring garden. Summer. Nature-inspired.

Here are some tips that are tried and tested. Use them and you can't go wrong.

• When redoing the color in a room, follow the 60-30-10 color rule. Many decorators use this rule and it works every time. The 60 percent should be your wall color. Your furniture and fabric should be 30 percent. The remaining 10 percent should be your accessories, pillows and rugs. When you see a room or photograph in a magazine and it seems to work, chances are that this rule applies.

Mother nature's color palette at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.JPG

• When selecting new colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow.


• Think about each room and how it is used. In southwest Florida many of my clients want a palette that is calm and that may mean the blues and greens. For my own office, I use a coral because reds and oranges are energizing. In bedrooms, think about neutrals such as the Benjamin Moore whites. Pop color in with accessories.

• Stick with two or three (at the most) paint colors for your home. I recently redid a beach house for a client who had previously painted each room a different tropical color. She found it to be tiring. We completely transformed the house into an old Florida beach cottage look with a pale gray and bright white trim in the living areas and bedrooms and a pale blue in the baths. Tropical colors were added with fabric and accessories. The result: Beautiful and restful.

• Avoid trends. Each year we talk about the trends in color. This is fun. Pink is the hot color. Gray is the new beige. What is a homeowner to do? Go with what you love. No matter what the trend of the moment happens to be. And don't forget my rule: Stick close to nature and you cannot go wrong with color.

— Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or email wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog.