› Where To Find Color Inspiration

Interior Decorating Color Scheme Ideas

You can get interior decorating color scheme ideas anywhere. They're all around you. Here's how to find the good ones quickly.

The more you pay attention to colors, the more they will "reveal" to you how they work. You'll end
up with more color decorating ideas than you could ever use in your home!

Start Easy!

It's best (and easiest) to start your quest for awesome home decorating color schemes with the usual suspects:

  • magazines and catalogs
  • real people's homes and show homes
  • interiors/lifestyle/fashion shops (and shop windows).

stamp in shades of green color

Especially smaller, 'boutique'-style shops can be treasure troves of color inspiration.

Once you've been through a few of these, you will find that your mind gets more and more attuned to decorating with colors.

You will start noticing color decorating ideas even when they're not home decorating colors.

Take for example the little stamp here:

Once your mind starts turning that into a decorating color scheme for your living room, you know you're in the zone!

green and neutral color swatches

Even if you don't find it easy to visualize an interior decorating color scheme at the beginning, don't let that stop you. Color can be learned.

The more you consciously look at colors, the more colors will leap out at you. You will gradually develop a sense for the decorating color schemes that work (and those that don't ;-)

So challenge yourself! Here are some ideas for color-finding expeditions. (Keep a camera on hand while you're out there. You never know when the muse will strike.)

Favorite Things And Places

This one's great fun. Think of - and look at - places and things you love (or dream of, or want more of!). As long as they're colored, they have the potential to inspire you with a decorating color scheme.

For example: peaches

  • a favorite flower
  • a bird's plumage
  • the seaside
  • the desert
  • the mountains in springtime
  • Paris in springtime
  • a fruit (lemon, peach, plum...)
  • a Zen garden
  • South Wales
  • New South Wales
  • a souvenir
  • Tuscany (in any season)
  • a place where you have spent your holidays
  • a place where your ancestors lived
  • a place where you'd like to travel ...
... you get the picture.

And whilst we're on the subject, let's turn the photo here into a peaches-and-cream decorating color scheme:

peach, cream and green color scheme

Click here if you want to see this as an actual room color scheme - or read on and you'll get the same link again at the bottom of the page ... nothing's lost ;-)

Museums And Galleries

They're great places to give you ideas for a decorating color scheme. Look for inspiring color in

  • Paintings
  • Applied arts (ceramics, glass, paper objects...)
  • Fabrics/textiles
  • Furniture

Anything, even small details, might spark off a new color idea. All you need to do is keep asking yourself questions like

  • What do I like about this color (combination)?
  • How would this color (these colors) look in our living-room / as cushions on the sofa / down the hallway?
  • How would it/they go with ... ?

You'll always get the best results when you follow your heart, so I suggest you just go and explore. (I personally love exhibits from foreign cultures; the more outlandish the better. They can provide interesting, 'un-Western' and very exciting color schemes for your home.)


  • Bookshops (new and used books) are a good source of decorating color scheme ideas:

    Book covers can look awesome - illustrators often come up with inspiring color combinations. This could come in quite handy for you - just take the book along to pick your paint and fabric samples for further testing.

    Books of color photography (not necessarily from the 'interior design' section) can provide you with page after page of very effective color scheme ideas.
  • Posters and post cards, ditto.
  • Antique dealers can be great places for finding a color scheme, too - an old Italian tile, or a '40s fashion fabric might just catch your eye at the right moment, and give you some new color decorating ideas for your home.
  • Thrift stores - look out for 'accidental' color schemes, like in a stack of scarves for example. I know this sounds whacky, but it might just spark off the best color schemes. (Good fashion designers do that all the time - unusual color combinations are a great way to create a 'fresh' look.)
  • Other sources include museum and art gallery websites, as well as online catalogs and online interior design shops.

The Beach


The pebbles in this picture used to lie around on a beach in the south of England - that is, until my friend Nicole picked them up and strung them together.

They look as if they've been around for a while (I'd like to think they saw William the Conqueror land on the English shore in 1066, to win the Battle of Hastings!)

Well, they're still here (unlike William's army), and now they suggest a rather timeless neutral room color scheme.

(On second thought, it might need a punchy accent color to lift it just a bit).

(Again, click here to see these as color decorating ideas for a room!) neutral decorating color scheme

There - this is my list of suggestions for now. If you can think of some more ways of picking up interior decorating color scheme ideas, please contact me and let me know - I'll include them on this page!

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