How to Pick the Best Color Scheme for Your New Apartment

It’s the little things that mean a lot, don’t they?

You may not think much about your apartment’s color scheme. When you moved in, it was probably some basic white, and that was good enough, right?

But maybe you’re tired of basic white. Perhaps you want a change, or perhaps you want your apartment to reflect your personality more. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided the place needs some more color.

But what colors?

Granted, you could always repaint if you don’t like your first attempt, but that’s a lot of work and expense. You’d rather get it done right the first time.

Here are some helpful suggestions for how to pick the best color scheme for your apartment.

Monochromatic Colors

Before you dismiss a monochromatic color scheme as being unimaginative, there’s a lot to be said for the soothing effect it could have on a room.

Don’t think being monochromatic means using one uniform shade of a color. While lighter shades can be used on large parts of the wall, darker shades of the same color work well as accents. You can even mix them up a bit by selecting neighboring colors on the color wheel, such as a light blue wall with tasteful touches of green along windows and shelves.

Complementary Colors

Contrasting and complementary colors can bring life to a kitchen or entertainment room. Using complementary colors is more than just selecting the opposite hue on a color wheel (such as light blue with a gentle burnt orange). You can also go for tertiary colors, such as combining a warm light orange with cooler lavenders and greens.

We’re Not Just Talking Paint

Before we go any further, let’s remember that selecting a room’s color scheme doesn’t have to mean painting the walls—or, at least, only painting the walls. You can build your color scheme with an artful selection of shelving, tables, area rugs, and other accessories.

Not only does this give you more to work with, but if your apartment building does not allow you to paint (or insists on only simple white paints), you can still take control of your apartment’s color statement.

Further Color Scheme Tips

We’ve covered the broad basics of color. Now here are some quick tips to also keep in mind:

  • When planning, go from room to room and write down your ideas. Tape color samples from the paint store to your notes and try different combinations to see what speaks to you.
  • Try a vertical dark-to-light approach that mimics, somewhat, the outdoors. Darker colors for baseboards, carpeting, and low furniture, moving to lighter shades for windows and shelves, and lighter still for walls.
  • Consider the 60-31-10 rule. This is a simple home designer trick in which 60% of a room (walls) uses your selected color scheme’s dominant color, 30% (upholstery, some furniture) uses your secondary color, and 10% (lamps, vases, etc.) is an accent color.
  • Speaking of which, keep your color choices limited to three. Any more than that, and you risk making a room too conflicting to be comfortable in for long. And it looks less planned and more chaotic.

Your Apartment, Your Colors

You’re paying for your apartment. You may as well enjoy it.

Choose colors that speak to you. Remember that paint can be repainted, furniture and accents can be replaced, and nothing is set in stone. And if white, off-white, and egg-white are your colors, then enjoy them.

The idea is that you can give any room more personality—soothing, bold, creative, whatever—by spending some extra time thinking about color.

Have some fun, and you do you.

This article was brought to you by Link Apartments® Manchester, a luxury apartment community in Richmond, Virginia, offering spacious one- and two-bedroom apartment homes available for lease in an unbeatable location.



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Rasha writes about family, parenting, and home décor for Unfinished Man. Drawing from her experiences raising her own kids, she provides tips on creating warm, welcoming spaces. Rasha also shares home staging expertise to help transform houses into magazine-worthy dream homes.

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