color theory 101 : the best color sources

Hello all you wonderful people! We’re back today, with out next installment of our Color Theory Series. 

A sweet gal named Julia wrote in recently, and asked us this simple question:

“…I love your take on color. Where’s the best go-to that you use to gather color ideas for your home?…”

That’s actually a really great question, and I felt it fit right into our Color Theory series. While I do own enough of those little cardboard color chips from home depot to cover nearly every wall in our house, {A few of the local DIY stores may have added us to their watch-these-people-they’re-paint-chip-hoarders-list} I’m kind of obsessed with color in all forms. I look at it as a truly organic element. While I’m constantly devouring the usual suspects in magazine form, life in itself can be the ultimate inspiration. So after thinking about it for a while, I decided to break it down into these main elements.


1. Products.

The latest and greatest color trends + design inspiration obviously come from those things which infiltrate our lives on a daily basis. Sometimes, we just have to start looking at them in a different way when searching for inspiration on a basic level. In terms of color, we have endless ideas at our fingertips. Here’s a few of my favorite product sources for color.


A. Etsy. From vintage buttons, to paintings, to handmade life like birds, you simply never know when that perfect color combination will slap you in the face. Oh to see that bird above in the form of a room…in about twenty different varieties. {I’m pretty sure if we looked hard enough, we can fish some out of the internet vault that is pinterest.}

B. Fashion. Mainly children’s clothes for the best and brightest…observe them for unexpected combinations in subtle ways and combinations throughout your home.

C. Vintage. Everything. From signs, to book covers to toys to fabrics…some of the best color ideas are the ones resurrected from the past.

D. Fabrics. Speaking of, these can give us the best color combination ideas. And you always find them when you’re not quite looking for them. Some of the best colors for my walls and furniture…and combinations in general for spaces originate from fabrics.

E. The Big Wigs. As far as products are concerned, I’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fabulous catalog eye candy that is Ballard, PB, West Elm, etc. to infinity…It’s good to gander at these on a regular basis in addition to magazine love.

2. Great Photography. Well, duh. You may be saying…but there’s actually a lot to be said about the not-so-typical anti interior shot. Look at everything except interiors

A. Food blogs. The photography found here makes me want to sit at this woman’s feet and watch her for a day. It inspires me to travel more and eat well. And some of the most beautiful color combinations can come from the simplest of things.

B. Floral Design. Anywhere I can scoop it up and onto my desktop, flowers are some of the purest, brightest and best color sources. Whenever I spy a bouquet of flowers, I try to picture them in a variety of combos for a space.

E. Nature. A bit of an all encompassing statement from what I already mentioned above, the most beautiful colors come from the ultimate Artist. Capturing them in the best photographs can truly inspire the best combinations. It’s what everything else is ultimately derived from…

3. Inspirational Websites. Wrapping it all up, these guys do it oh-so-well. Think of their ideas in terms of that latest space you’re planning, and I’m not sure you can go wrong with a bazillion and one great sources at your fingertips.

A. Wedding Sites. They do what they do best…capture the feel of the color and incorporate it into an event. With sites like Snippet and Ink, You can’t help but think of them in terms of your own home. 

B. Color Sites. Those dedicated solely to color palettes and inspiration, sites like the oh so popular Design Seeds offer a multidimensional, detailed look at the world of color. A must-use in terms of a springboard for your own ideas, and incorporating them into a space.

C. Graphic Design. Last but not least, one of the most important aspects of color inspiration in terms of spaces. From children’s books, to advertising, product design, logos, and everything in between. Our world is saturated with it…so pay attention to the really good stuff. It’s a great springboard for ideas in your own homes.

These are some of our main inspiration points for thinking of color on a more organic level in ways that it applies to our spaces. What are some more specific, favorite sources of your own? Spill it! We’d love to hear!

Have an inspired day, lovely people!

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Responses to color theory 101 : the best color sources

  1. Mila says:

    These are reallocate suggestions. I’ve never thought of some of these before. Awesome suggestions. Thanks!

  2. JP says:

    I am going to have to dig through some of these. In love with that photography!

  3. ali thompson says:

    wedding websites have great tips! i often wondered if it was weird to get inspiration from weddings….but weddings have evolved so much over the years, you really can find lots of great ideas!
    love the list, thanks!

  4. Robin Reilly says:

    You post just made me happy inside. Great pics and fabulous color!

    robin :-)

  5. Rebekah Tice says:

    Great thoughts and suggestions!!! Another wonderful post…I am loving this color theory series:)

  6. Holly says:

    Thanks for the info!!!

  7. So inspired after reading this article. Thanks.

  8. justasiam says:

    These are all resources I have used…but another great resource is to look up scrapbooking paper companies. Many of them have paper collections which are carefully colour coordinated to work together. Some examples are Crate Paper, Basic Grey, Bazzill, Maya Road, My Mind’s Eye, Pink Paislee, Scenic Route, bella blvd., Fancy Pants, Bo Bunny, Little Yellow Bicycle etc.

  9. Patti says:

    Wow, great resources, thanks! Another source I like is yarns or especially embroidery threads…there are a zillion colors/shades of embroidery flosses at JoAnn’s & other craft stores.

  10. emily hope says:

    love this post – colors make the artist in me swoon. just found you via a facebook friend’s post about your amazing playhouse. which I want. for me. never mind the kids 😉 & i love your site.

  11. emily hope says:

    p.s. – colour lovers is another great go-to inspiration source for me.