Q: My husband and I just purchased a new home. We quickly painted the downstairs; it has a casual look with yellow and burnt orange. The couches are covered in blue denim fabric.

We haven’t done anything upstairs, except for our baby’s room. We have a loft with a television and four bedrooms. Should we tie the downstairs to the upstairs? Do we need to use the same color scheme?  

A: The most important thing to remember when selecting a color scheme for your home is that you are the most important consideration. Your home is a holistic expression of you and your family. 

To best answer your question completely, I need more information. However, let me offer some significant insight to help you. 

A new home is a wonderful opportunity to begin creating a portrait of your family. What color scheme would you like to live with? Especially because you live with it every day and you will make purchases around your choices. 

The warm colors you have chosen — yellow and burnt orange — for your downstairs are a good complement to the denim sofa. You can use these same colors throughout your home or you can introduce new colors that will work with them such as greens, beiges and browns.  

If you like the way those colors look downstairs, you can certainly repeat them upstairs. The colors you have chosen, whether deep or bright, work well with the introduction of accents of rugs, pillows, art and accessories all adding greens and a range of beiges and browns to give interest and bring in the feeling of nature.

The architecture of the house will dictate where colors can begin and end, particularly in transitioning from room to room. There are natural breaking points in every house when painting, like the wall going up the stairs that connects the downstairs and the upstairs. 

Whether you have used the burnt orange or yellow on that wall, you can continue it on that wall and change the rest of the walls in the loft to an accent color. If it is important to change the colors upstairs, you can create an architectural stopping point with molding at the bottom or top of the staircase. 

As you transition into the bedrooms, you can use a totally different color. The color used downstairs may be taken up to the loft area and changed at the entrance of each bedroom. The loft is your bridge between the downstairs and the upstairs. Keep in mind that your eye sees the loft when you are downstairs looking up and when you are in the loft looking down. 

Because your home has to be pleasing to both of you, begin by going to a paint store together and select color chips you both like. Think about your personal space and then the common areas you share. If the colors you individually select don’t all blend, tweak them by choosing different shades of the same color until they flow together.

Once you have decided what colors to use, decide what room upstairs gets which color. This is an opportunity for each person — who is the principal user of the room? — to express a preference. Most people are affected by the colors they choose to live with, so be aware and make your choice a personal one. If it is a common area you’re discussing, it can become a time for communication and creativity where you can have fun and learn about each other in a new way.  

Combining the taste of two people makes something unique and creative. You might be surprised where the discussion leads you. Don’t be afraid; make your own rules and create a signature look that expresses both of you. JN 

Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based holistic interior design consultant and the founder of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for the best of the best design and lifestyle resources. Visit barbaraspicks.com for more information.

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