Clients are always telling me that they find picking a color scheme to be very overwhelming. Like the rest of your design project, it is simply a process that needs to be worked through.

I am going to provide you with some tips on how to make it a lot less painful.

There are several ways to approach picking colors for a room, so I will outline a few of them here for you. I will then briefly explain how to take the colors that you have chosen for your space and translate them into a working color scheme for the room. You can choose up to three colors for each room. Opting for more colors pretty much guarantees your room will look like a circus, but choosing fewer colors is fine.

The easiest way to choose the colors you want to use is to base your color scheme on an object you want to feature in the room. This could be a quilt or comforter you may want to use in a bedroom or a piece of art. If you have hardwood floors and plan on using a rug in the room, that is also a great place to start.

If you do not have a special item to feature, then you need to look for other ways to come up with the colors you want to use in your space. A great resource is magazines and catalogs. You can use them to see what color combinations you like and which ones you do not like. Going to furniture stores will also help. See what groupings appeal to you and note the colors. Also, take a look in your closet. The colors you choose for your wardrobe might give you some inspiration. Most people tend to buy clothes in the same colors and maybe you can carry those colors over into your decorating.

Once you start to have an idea of the colors you might want to see in the room, you should head to your local paint store. There you can get paint chips in softer and brighter versions of each color you have chosen. You can then mix and match them until you come up with the three colors you want to see in your room. The paint chips can also be used in the next part of the exercise, which will help you achieve the look of a professionally decorated room.

Each room needs to have a light color, a medium-toned color, and a bold or darker color. Too much of any of these intensities can lead to an uninteresting room, one that lacks character and style, or a space that is overwhelming and busy. Let’s say you want to use yellow, green and blue in your living room. For the lighter color you can paint your walls butter yellow. For the medium-toned color you could get green pillows and draperies and for the bold color you could pick a bright blue sofa.

For the accessories you can choose yellow, green and blue in varying intensities to complement each other and the rest of the room. In any room, you should make sure that the light, medium, and dark colors are applied to the larger items in a space like upholstery, bedding, paint and draperies. Smaller accessory items can be used as you see fit.

In a room that has a lot of darker furniture, you need to consider the furniture a darker element. For example, having chocolate-brown furniture next to a plum-colored wall does nothing for either. Neither the paint nor the furniture will stand out against each other. Choosing a color scheme is a process. By applying these steps you should have a much easier time of picking and implementing a color scheme in your next decorating project.

Julie Chrissis is a professional home stager and interior decorator based in Nashua and Malden, She can reached at