29 & September

How to design & choose a colour scheme

Colour, Creative, DIY, Moodboard, StylingVicki WallisComment

To create a well styled, cohesive looking event, you need to choose a colour palette and stick to it. It's tempting when you're out shopping to buy something you love on a whim, but you can easily end up spending lots of money on things that don't go together. Having a colour scheme will help you make purchases that will compliment items you already have & tie your look together. Today I'm sharing my thought process on designing & choosing a colour palette & showing you a few little tricks that have helped me develop my style boards for events. 

  1. Think outside the box. For example, if you're planning a wedding, don't restrict yourself to just looking at wedding colours. There's lots of great resources that you can use (I'll put a list at the end of this post) that can help you find inspiration. Even scenes or textures from everyday life can inspire a colour scheme. For example, I created this colour scheme from the view outside my kitchen window when I was on holiday;
Colour palette created with the Pantone studio app

Colour palette created with the Pantone studio app

       2.    Think about the type of event you're hosting & the people you're inviting. How do you imagine it, bright & bold, subtle & sophisticated, monochrome chic, pared back? Try and pick a 'category' of colours to start with. The image below will hopefully give you some ideas; 

How to create your own colour palette, 29&September

       3.   After you've chosen the type of colour scheme you want to create, pick 2-3 favourite colours from that 'catagory', or even just one. Try to refine your ideas & not choose too many colours, as later down the track you'll find it harder to make decisions. 

      4.    Choose a couple of colours to compliment your first choice colours. Choose colours similar to the ones you've already chosen, the same tones but lighter or darker

      5.    Choose a neutral colour, for example white, cream, ivory, black.

      6.    It's not essential, but I'd always recommend choosing a metallic. Generally, events always have a metallic element, such as the cutlery, candle holders or wine cooler. 

If you've been following step by step, you might have something like one of these examples below;

How to design a colour palette, 29&September

      6.   I generally encourage people to limit colour palettes, so have a quick review of your choices and see if there's anything you can lose. Then, you'll need to pick primary & accent colours. The accent colour(s) won't be used in everything, perhaps just in the flowers or a print you're using. 1-2 accent colours is generally a good number. I've shown accent colours as a smaller rectangle in the examples below;

How to design a colour palette, 29&September

And there you have it. Before you know it you've confirmed your colour scheme. It's definitely not as daunting as it seems. As promised I've put together a list of some of my go to colour resources for reference. Or, as always, you're always welcome to ask me any questions via the comments box. 


  • If you'd rather make a physical colour scheme, rather than using the computer, I'd recommend going to your local home decor shop & taking some of the free colour swatch cards they offer. Alternately, you could rip colour ideas out of magazines. 
  • If you like bright, bold colour schemes, this article will help you to avoid it looking like a jumble sale.
  • Design seeds is a great website for colour ideas. You can use the colour picker tool to select a colour that you like and find colours that compliment it.
  • It's not something that I usually refer to, however I know some people are interested in colour psychology & the meanings behind colours. If that's something that you'd like to consider, there's some useful diagrams & explanations on this blog
  • There's also an article on this website expanding on colour psychology & how men & women perceive colour differently. It's aimed at home decor, but the principles will still apply to any colour scheme.
  • I often send out inspiration & ideas for trends, moodboards & colour schemes to my subscribers. You can sign up below to receive these by email, you'll also get a free notecard printable for joining.
  • Pantone (the world leaders in colour & industry standard) have a new app that's free. After downloading 'Pantone Studio' to your phone, you can select images you already have, or ideas they provide to create your own color palette, like the one shown earlier in the blog post. 
  • Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration, I've been hooked since it's launch around 6 years ago! For colour ideas, this board here is a good place to start. 
  • Or, is all of this sounding overwhelming or too much trouble? I offer a custom wedding & event styling service for £35/$50, which will incorporate any ideas you already have, your taste & personality. You can learn more about that by clicking here