Posted Nov 12, 2014

How to Pick the Perfect Palette for Your Apartment

Colors, and patterns, and more … oh, my! Once the ink has dried on your lease and the moving truck is arranged, it’s time to start thinking about how to decorate your space. While paint or other more permanent alterations might be out of the question as a renter, you can still put your stamp on the place.

The colors you use in your apartment will set the stage for its ambiance: warm vs. cool colors, crisp white vs. bold shades, there are important decisions on the line! Here are a few ways to choose the perfect palette for your brand new home.

Create a Mood Board

Grab an old piece of poster board and start ripping out photos that catch your eye in magazines. Glue or tape your magazine cutouts to your board, and voila! You have yourself the makings of a mood board that can help you determine your apartment’s color scheme.

Perfect Palette Mood Board

Anything from images of wallpaper and curtains to an advertisement for bold throw pillows is fair game. You might even tear out a swatch of a color that you can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes the best way to stumble upon your perfect palette is by noticing patterns in what you find appealing in magazine pictures. Once your mood board is complete, stand back and start imagining your new place!

Of course, you can also create a virtual mood board via Pinterest.

Make the Color Wheel Your Best Friend

Now that your mood board has helped you discover that you like warm colors, such as burnt orange and deep red, you can really narrow down your palette. Become familiar with the color wheel, which in its most basic form shows the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, alongside the secondary colors created by blending them.

More complex color wheels, such as the one afforded by Adobe, allow you a very detailed look at the color variations at your disposal. Start experimenting with which colors look good together, keeping in mind that sometimes two very different shades can complement each other quite nicely. For instance, brown and teal make their homes far apart on the color wheel, yet create a striking combination.

Perfect Palette - Brown and Teal

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix and Match

Your time with the color wheel will have helped you choose three or four colors that you love (or maybe five or six colors you can’t live without). While you can choose a monochromatic palette, using only a few variations of the same color, don’t limit yourself!

Your perfect palette should show off your personality, and chances are that you can’t be defined by just one color. Incorporate both solids and prints in your palette, such as a zebra print pillow alongside a more subdued violet blanket. Your palette can span a wide range within the warm or cool realms, so long as the colors complement each other.

Build Your Palette One Brick at a Time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your apartment doesn’t need to be decorated in one either. Feel free to start out by choosing a large area rug and wall tapestry that you love, and introduce new colors into the palette one at a time.

Not only will this spare you from putting a huge dent in your next paycheck, but carefully crafting just the right color scheme probably won’t happen if you get overwhelmed in the aisles of IKEA and start throwing stuff into your cart.

Change is Good

Hey, you loved royal purple last month, and now it’s looking a little Purple Rain and played out. It’s OK, the perfect palette is always evolving. Just as you might introduce new colors into your apartment, so too can you evict a few from time to time.

Constructing the right color scheme for your place takes some trial and error, so don’t lock yourself into one palette and let it stay put for the next three years. Even if major pieces, like rugs and sofas, stay in place, there are always opportunities to introduce new shades and colors with accessories and wall art.

At the end of the day, the perfect palette for your apartment is one that makes you feel welcome the second you walk through the door at the end of a long day. So experiment, have fun, and really make your space your own!

Have some great ideas for how to decorate a new space? Send us pictures of your apartment’s color palette in all its glory on Twitter. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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How to Choose the Perfect Palette for Your Apartment

Photo Credit: Deirdre McCormick, Jaime designs –

Niccole Schreck


Niccole is the Senior Brand Manager at Lovely. She has a passion for drinking wine, making things (often with wine corks), and helping renters find a perfect place to live.

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