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Choose Colors Like a Designer

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Inspiration is one of those things that, as Forest Gump famously said, just jumps up and bites you on the behind.

The truth is, that while Inspiration is often abundant for me, I lose the drive to even start a project when I have to choose colors. Choosing colors is one of the most difficult decisions I have to make as a designer, and I know many of you face the same issues. I get emails every week asking about color choice and how to make things work just right…and today I want to share with you how to choose colors like a designer. Well, like this designer! Make sure to share your finished pieces with me @rohnstrong on Instagram!

Rule #1: Narrow your focus

I usually begin with a concept. For this example let’s say I want to crochet an afghan. I decide where I want this afghan to work. In my house? In my mother’s house? Maybe for a friend who just purchased a home? That helps me narrow it down.

Choose Colors Like a Designer

Comforting Rug

This also works for your sweaters, or socks, or scarves. Think about who you’re making it for. What they wear. Then move onto Rule #2.

Rule #2: Find Inspiration Around You

Pinterest is great but it shouldn’t be the end all/be all. In fact, I use Pinterest last. First, I look to my surroundings to find color scheme ideas. For example, I have a large mural in my home that features some striking graphic elements of bright color. If I wanted to bring that color into the afghan mentioned in Rule 1…I’ll play off the mural and find colors that work with it.

If I can’t find inspiration around my home I usually head to the yarn companies. Yarnspiratoins, for example, develops some great content in collections often called lookbooks. The great thing about these is that they offer a slew of patterns you can be inspired by too! Often I look for color combinations that I love. Whether that is in the garment the person is wearing…or their surroundings. If all else fails…I head to Pinterest or Instagram. I just try not to get thrown down the rabbit hole!

Rule #3: Go With Your Gut

It took me about 8 years of designing to realize this. I have an inherent eye for the things I like. You do too! We are individuals and with that individuality, we often find that we see things through a unique lens. I love certain color combinations other may not like. My house is bright and colorful with cozy elements. I wear more flannel than someone should be allowed too…but that’s who I am. You have a personal style…even if you don’t think you do. Go with your gut! You got this. Trust yourself and go with what looks pretty!

Choose Colors Like a Designer

So there you have it. My three rules for choosing colors like a designer. I hope this helps you create projects that are perfect for you, for your home, and for your life.