BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

Home Decor: 6 Ways of Choosing Colors, With Erin Loechner

Today’s post is by noted interior designer, highly respected blogger, and online innovator Erin Loechner.  Erin has a unique insight into many areas of interior design which she’s contributed on blogs ranging from her own Design For Mankind blog, to HGTV, and on many others besides.

In this post written especially for the BuildDirect blog, she talks about ways to choose colors – bold, or minimalist, modern or retro – to get what you’re after when transforming your space.


A former black-and-white addict, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to realize the powerful effects of color in the home.  I’m a firm believer that a few colorful accents can make or break a space, infusing life into each corner with a vibrant, bold hue or toning down an otherwise busy space with muted shades of furniture. Of course, color can be hard to tackle (in fact, a quick Internet search proves there are over 300 shades of white alone!) and sometimes nearly impossible to choose the right tone.

Yet with these easy, foolproof tips, you’re sure to choose the right shade that both inspires and calms the spirit. Ready for your first session in Color 101?:

Find that perfect pink online.

1. Get inspired.
If you’re even remotely Internet savvy, there are billions of resources that exist solely to inspire. A few of my favorite online haunts often feature home tours, eye candy and photographed rooms that are sure to leave you wiping the drool from your keyboard in no time flat.

Check out: Desire to Inspire, Design*Sponge sneak peeks, Apartment Therapy house tours and Sweet Home Style archives.

My favorite shade of green was inspired by a raincoat, no less

2. Look around.
Have a favorite outfit lying in your wardrobe? Love a certain cityscape or photograph? Look around you for inspiring colors that you relate to. Whether it be the tomato red from your garden or kelly green of your rain boots, chances are, you’ve already got a color you love to surround yourself with.
Check out: ColourLovers for palettes that will inspire!

3. Do your research.
Build from your favorite color above, and choose one complementary color from the color wheel. Think about how you’d like to utilize each color, whether that be through fabric upholstery or small pops of accessories.
Check out: ColorSchemeDesigner to spot your favorite complementary colors on the color wheel.

Are you non-committal? Try color in just one piece and build from there!

4. Give it a shot.
Take your color inspiration to your local hardware store and invest in a can of paint. Whether you choose to paint your walls or a statement piece of furniture, be sure to infuse plenty of your favorite color in the space you’re working on. Not ready for the commitment of a new paint choice on your walls? Start small by painting a vase or picture frame to test out the color. If you love it, start choosing fabrics, textiles and patterns that feature your favorite hue.

When in doubt, use them all!

5. Give it up.
Can’t find your favorite shade? Try them all! Color needn’t be used sparingly, and sometimes, more is more. For an eclectic feel, try mixing plenty of colors, patterns and textures on a neutral background.

Think you have to paint your walls to infuse color? Think again!

6. Keep it simple.
Just because you love a color doesn’t necessarily mean you should be coating your walls with the stuff. White paint acts as a great starting point to add your favorite colorful accessories. Have fun; decorating shouldn’t be a chore. Even better? When you tire of your favorite color, switching out a rug or artwork is much easier than re-priming and painting!

Ready to infuse color into your own home? Happy decorating!


Thanks, Erin!

We at BuildDirect are working with Erin on a project of hers called The House That DFM Built, including our fiber cement siding as her exterior. Read more about that project on the House that DFM Built category page on Erin’s blog.

For more about Erin, be sure and Follow Erin Loechner on Twitter, for real-time updates, and ‘Like’ Erin’s Design For Mankind Facebook group page.



Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.


  1. Wow! So enjoyed this guest post from Erin.
    I so enjoy using color. It can be a tough sell to clients, but it’s important to walk them through the process.
    I always advise before painting, get a small sample can and paint a cardboard at least 12″x12″ (a man’s shirt cardboard from dry cleaner works well) then hang with painter’s tape in room. Move around to see how light reflects off it and different times of day…
    Thanks for sharing Erin’s beautiful color palette with us Rob!

  2. Fantastic post Erin! That green is absolutely gorgeous, no wonder it’s your favorite. And of course, the pictures that you chose to showcase the wonderful effects of color are absolutely magnificent.

    People can certainly learn a lot about injecting bold colors into their life with this great post.

  3. What a wonderful post, Erin! I could feel my energy level rising as I read it 😉 – the power of color in action!
    Fantastic tips for helping anyone recover from color-phobia. Thanks so much for sharing your advice.

  4. Thank you so much, ladies! So glad you enjoyed the post, and I couldn’t agree more! :)

  5. John Price-Antique Mirrors Reply to John

    Thanks for this great Idea. I really liked reading this. I love the way you mix the pink and blues. I have always stayed with safe, neutral colors but you inspired me to try out something new. If you have a chance, come visit me back.

  6. I agree with Erin about neutrals not being considered boring. I’ve got several clients who love to change their look, due to the seasonal changes we experience in NC. As the summer transitions into fall, they go from brighter colors to deeper hues and heavier textures. By swapping out pillows, rugs, and other accents, it allows them more flexibility than if the walls had been coated in a saturated hue. Great article and thanks for sharing the post!

  7. Being in the decorative concrete business I very much enjoyed this article. Erin I appreciate how you illustrated both with words and with photos the importance of colors. Since I cross both artistry and construction I can sometimes need a little direction in the area of colors. Thanks again

  8. Yes I am an internet savvy who loves researching, generating ideas and getting inspired. I think it helps a lot and keep my mind active. Thanks for sharing this post, I completely agree with it :) Wonderful tips..!

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