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  • Writer's pictureBetsey Dempsey

Why is balance of color so important?

Many people decide they don't like the color of their space and ask me for help selecting a new one. There are times when I take a look at it and realize that it isn't the color that is the problem, it is the balance of color. Sometimes I describe balance as the visual "weight" in a room.

When there is proper balance of color, you will see darker and lighter tones on both sides of the room(s). For instance, in an open floor plan where the kitchen is open to the family room, you may have some heavy (dark) colors in the furniture and television in the family room, but you will also have some heavy colors in the kitchen such as in the countertop, cabinets, or accessories. The visual weight doesn't have to always be from the paint colors. It typically involves the proportion or quantity of furniture and accessories in the space as well. Today I am focusing on the effect paint can have on balance.

In the case of the black and white dining room below, the black accent wall is echoed in the black dining chairs. If the chairs were white, the accent wall would seem very heavy. The large mirror also helps to reduce the visual weight of the black.

When the balance of color is off, one side of the room will have either much lighter (or darker) colors than the other side, therefore making it visually heavier on one side than the other. Even if you love all your furniture choices, it still never seem quite right. In the image below, the accent wall is very heavy because there is nothing to balance it on the opposite side. If the three stools were in a darker color, or if there was wall art on the gray wall with some darker tones, the room would work better. Alternatively, if the accent wall was much softer, the room would be more monotone, keeping all visual weight to a minimum. Either option is viable.

The bold blue fireplace wall below would likely not last very long before being repainted. Not only is the color a bit intense for the space, but there is nothing but neutrals in the rest of the room. Even though there are darker pieces of furniture in the room to help with the balance, they don't help enough. The blue wall is so large and intense, it overpowers everything. A rug with some blue in it, or even some colorful accessories would make a difference. As with the example above, toning down the accent wall around the fireplace would also work.

Before you decide to repaint your room, take a second look and see if the balance of color is off. If you do decide to repaint, keep in mind what paint colors and colors of furniture are nearby so you achieve proper balance.

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