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How to Use Color, Pattern, & Texture in Home Decorating

In my next life, I want to be an interior designer. I love decorating and home decor, taking on projects, and helping others do the same.

Have you ever given a room a new coat of paint and felt the difference it made?  Color can instantly change the look and feel of any room.  Paint is where you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to decorating.  It also is a great way to infuse a room with personality.  Color can be a huge challenge for some people because of its striking result.  Ease into the world of color with the use of a color wheel. 

What Does a Color Wheel Do?

A color wheel is a great tool when considering what colors to incorporate into a room – it lets you see what colors will work well in combination.  You may also want to consider playing with different shades of the same color tone.  If you do use more than one color – which most people do – make sure to stick with the same intensity; in other words, don’t use deep colors and pale pastel colors together. 


If you’re decorating a room that’s large, like a family room with vaulted ceilings, use warm colors because they can make the room feel more intimate. On the other hand, if you’re decorating a small room or even a hallway, using cool color tones and neutrals will make it feel larger because these colors appear to recede, whereas the warm colors appear to advance.

How Do You Use a Color Wheel?

If you know a few tricks, color can work magic!  Every color has inherent evocative characteristics.  Examples are:  Red is stimulating, so it would be a good choice for a dining room where you want lively conversation.  Blue is restful which is why it is a popular color for bedrooms.  Your individual response to a color is personal which is why it’s important to select colors that you love in your home décor.

The color wheel includes all of the primary colors – red, blue, and yellow – and the secondary colors which are made by combining primary colors – green, orange, and violet.  Tertiary colors, which are a combination of primary and secondary colors and they are included on the color wheel as well – an example is turquoise, which is created by mixing primary blue with secondary green.  Look at the color wheel to get an idea of how colors relate to each other.

A harmonious (also referred to as analogous) color scheme involves colors that are neighbors on the color wheel that share an underlying hue.  Select a dominant color, and then pick accent colors from adjacent colors on the wheel. 

Contrasting – or complementary – colors (like blue and orange) which are opposite each other on the color wheel often work well together.  You will need to play with various shades of complementary colors; however, to make sure they don’t overpower the room.  Involving an additional set of opposite colors from the color wheel is referred to as a double-complementary color scheme.  An example would be green-blue, red-orange.

A scheme that’s monochromatic can be boring unless you use several shades of the same color – but be sure not to use too many contrasting values of the color. 



Introducing pattern to a room energizes it. If you want the feel of drama and strength, use the same pattern throughout the room.

For a more lively effect, mix and match your patterns. When mixing and matching, always select a recurring color or theme. Avoid using more than one pattern of a similar scale; pair a large motif with a small print.

Playing It Up with Pattern

Using pattern throughout a room can make it a lot of fun.  Sort of like warm colors advance, large patterns fill a space and make it feel cozy.  Patterns also create a lively atmosphere.  Large patterns work well in small areas, too, but make sure to stick with one pattern and use it throughout the room – but don’t overpower the room with a pattern that’s too bold and way out of proportion.

Small-scale patterns appear to recede, so they could make a room feel larger.  The effect of a small pattern, however, is minimal in a large room since it’s hard to interpret from a distance.  A great rule of thumb is to use large patterns on large furnishings, medium on medium, and small prints on small things such as accent pieces. 


Texture doesn’t always have an extremely obvious impact on a room, but it can help create a sophisticated room in a subtle way by adding another layer of complexity.  Layering contrasting textures of fabrics, floor coverings, wall finishes, and window treatments gives a room character.

Texture provides depth and dimension to a space.  You can easily incorporate texture into a design with fabric – brocades, damask, chenilles, tweeds and some other fabrics with texture can work well.  Tactile interest can be brought in with other objects, too – like materials that have surface texture such as smooth, hard, soft, matte or shiny.  Coarse and matte surfaces (like stone, wood, stucco…) absorb light and sound.  Glossy and smooth surfaces (metal, glass, silk…) reflect light. 

Want to Read More Home Decorating Hubs? Check these out:


Lily Rose (author) from A Coast on December 10, 2017:

Hi Ziad. The inner circle, or tertiary (low intensity), colors are created by combining primary and secondary colors. I hope that helps!

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Ziad on December 10, 2017:

Hi. What colors do we mix to have the inner circle colors of above image please?


Sun-Girl from Nigeria on May 21, 2011:

Excellent hub which really informed me a lot.

snug39 on May 14, 2011:

Love the explanation of the color wheel. It is very informative and easy to follow.

Lily Rose (author) from A Coast on April 05, 2011:

Thank you!

Maria Harris from Houston on April 05, 2011:

Very useful tips. I like the way you presented this hub.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 16, 2010:

Very good information on color and decorating. I like this!

PaperNotes on November 11, 2010:

Thanks for this color wheel. It is actually hard to decorate the home space if you do not have any idea which colors will blend and look well together.

SUSIE405 from Delray Beach, Florida on October 27, 2010:

Love your hub. I love to decorate with color. I find beige and brown boring. I am getting ready to decorate a new apartment and will use bold color, it cheers me up.

Sarah Jones from UK on October 05, 2010:

Great Hub! Thanks ;)

Lily Rose (author) from A Coast on September 25, 2010:

I'm glad I could provide it! Thanks for stopping by!

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on September 25, 2010:

Just the sort of information I have been looking for, thanks!

Jesus_saves_us_7 from Seeking Salvation on August 27, 2010:

Thanks for the information. Great job.

AuntySa from Austalia on August 19, 2010:

That is just great. Nice tips in choosing the right colors.

Lily Rose (author) from A Coast on August 11, 2010:

Glad I could help - that's what it's all about!

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on August 11, 2010:

This is perfect, I'm about to have our home repainted. Thanks for the info.

raisingme from Fraser Valley, British Columbia on August 09, 2010:

Nicely done!

Lily Rose (author) from A Coast on August 09, 2010:

Thank you!

breakfastpop on August 09, 2010:

Terrific advice, once again.

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