Colour Analyzed Home Decor

It is my belief that the colours we project for others to see are a continuation of our inner selves. When the colours that we add to our bodies repeat the energy of who we already are, our beauty feels the most real and right, both to us and to those looking at us. The colours with which we surround ourselves may be even more important to our well being because we see them more than we see our own appearance. Huge thanks to Sci\ART Colour Analyst MarySteele Lawler in Mississippi for contributing this article and the colour layouts. They illustrate so beautifully one of the lesser-known, very fascinating applications of Personal Colour Analysis.

Ambiance, light, color. Nothing is more important in a room. Like The Princess and the Pea and her stack of mattresses, I am extremely sensitive to colored spaces and have never understood how hospital designers expect people to improve in rooms painted in sad colors. With my Sci/art training I have come to understand the underlying reason why there are comfortable or uncomfortable color choices for each person. Thanks to Kathryn Kalisz, I know why the effect of the same color can be either unhappy or brilliant for different persons.

A warm-toned person naturally will be ill at ease in rooms painted with cool shades and vice-versa. One might not be able to put a finger on the source of discomfort, but this distraction is because the room essentially was painted for someone else.

My increasing fascination with light and interior color prompted me to notice that successful designers are picky about the colors they choose for projects even if the color is just a particular shade of white. I began trolling through decorating magazines and web sites looking for popular paint references. That there must be room colors best suited to blondes or to brunettes logically followed the precepts of seasonal color analysis.

Since I am not a decorator, I leave the paint color selection to professionals. They have experienced that some colors more than others do well in any light in any part of the country. These popular hues that interior designers go back to time and again are the ones that I match from my Benjamin Moore swatch books to my Sci/Art color book. The result is a log of hundreds of tried-and-true designer paint favorites divided into the twelve tonal categories.

Such luminous beauties, these batches of whites, grays, violets, greens, and blues held together by a common chroma and temperature. Although there is some overlapping of paint colors between the seasons, for each season, the entire collection of shades is distinct from all the other seasons. Each collection stands on its own in the loveliness of this distinction

Here are photographs of four ambient possibilities. There is an icy cool set of colors for True Winter including mountain peak white, crystal blue, topeka taupe, celery ice, and forty nine others. The list for Soft Summer comprises cool, velvety tones such as patriotic white, soft chinchilla, and mountain ridge, a favorite misty brownish- purple. Light Spring hues range from cameo white interior room to windmill wings blue and florida pink, a delicious pinky-red. Dark Autumn conveys its stylish warmth with rosy apple red, glowing apricot, pink corsage, and black satin.

True Winter palette
Soft Summer palette
Light Spring palette
Dark Autumn palette

My clients come to me already convinced of the power of color. I tuck a paint collection list into each information packet included in my consultation. This way, when it is time to redecorate, a client can experience the wonder of living inside a color that reflects her particular color harmony. I say, I want you to look beautiful in your rooms. I want you to feel cozy and to shine within your colors, not only in what you are wearing, but also amidst your surroundings. I want you to glow in your home!

My color business is called Luminosity. I operate from Oxford, Mississippi, but I pack up my drapes and travel if I have a group in another city that wants to be analyzed. The cosmetics updates that I glean from the contributors to the 12 Blueprints discussion board have been a wildly popular part of my consultation. Learning about season for the first time can seem overwhelming, like sitting under an avalanche of compelling new information. I give clients handouts on everything from hair color to the types of wood and metal best suited to their homes. The more ways you can get at the uniqueness of your season, the better you can understand it.

If you know your season and wish to expand your harmony, save yourself legwork and choice overload by ordering your seasonal list of Benjamin Moore paint numbers. When you pull swatches from your local paint store you will automatically love the paint chips because they will match you.

One seasonal paint selection list costs forty dollars. There are sixty to eighty color numbers on each list. I am a Light Summer. I live in a pink house that is on my chart and I believe that everyone should be so fortunate! Checks should be made to Luminosity and sent to 307 Bramlette Boulevard, Apartment 21, Oxford, MS, 38655. Include your mailing address and expect your lovely collection in two weeks.



34 thoughts on “Colour Analyzed Home Decor”

  1. I really enjoyed this article and I’m thrilled that someone addressed the connection between our personal season and the way that we decorate with color. My issue is that I have a bit of a disconnect with my own color season (Winter), and the colors I’m attracted to and decorate with (all very warm and rich….lots of chocolate, gold, buttery yellow and creams). I’m REALLY trying to like my color season and incorporate it across the board, but I do find it very challenging to overcome my very intense attraction to all things “warm”. Any advice?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Do you know which Winter season you are?
    The easiest way to bridge the gap between Winter colors and those of another season would be to do two things. First, paint your room white, rather than a warm color- Paper Mache, Snowfall White, and Super White Interior Room work for all three Winter seasons. Second, unless you are a Dark Winter, I would minimize the gold and brown tones and switch them out with a blue that coordinates with the rest of your decor.

  3. What to do to combine bright winter and soft autumn? I am the first and my husband the second…….

  4. You’re not alone, Susan. I’m cool-neutral in colouring, and my house is more-or-less Dark Autumn – or at any rate warm-neutral trending to deep autumn – and I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t wear warmth too well, it seems, but I’m drawn to it (and if there’s a season I wish I clearly was, it’s Autumn).

    I have an almost visceral antipathy to the cooler greys and softer pinks and blues of the summer palette – it’s almost physical, and I find them actively depressing and want out of spaces dominated thus. I think there’s good long legs on the idea that sticking to a season gives a beautiful sense of consistency and “fit”, but I’m not sure that some of us can pass up the chance to migrate away from the dictates of our own colouring, just as we might live in countries very different from those of our ancestry. Remember, too, that a house is often home to people of different colouring, and everyone needs to feel comfortable. And people may also use colour to differentiate between public and private spaces.

    Again, I’ve not averse to the premise – there is much to be said for ultimately being true to yourself, and for surrounding yourself with what works (there’s a reason I’ve never liked stark white sheets: they don’t suit me, and my husband always asks me if I’m ok when we holiday in hotels … which is precisely what MarySteele is getting at.) What is useful to me here is the idea of decorating first and foremost for yourself, and giving yourself a chance to do this consistently and to best effect. Paint is cheap! I can see why you’d look at the native palette first, but I think the immediate environment is also one place where some of us can stretch out .

  5. Ahh, lovely article. :) This goes for me as an artist as well, having discovered that I’ve more or less -always- painted from the sci/art True Spring palette (even since junior high and probably earlier!) with touches of warm autumn colors. This actually clued me into myself being a type of spring, as while I barely had any spring colors in my wardrobe, my decorating/art history was narrowed down very considerably to true spring. I really have not strayed from that palette in art making, because I know it’s “me”. Was an amazing and joyous moment of connecting the two.

    And no wonder my art teachers were always surprised with what colors I came up with in my artwork. lol. I remember that often being their (and my classmates’) first comment at critiques, “I would have never even -thought- of that color…” . ;) Guess there weren’t a lot of true springs around using their colors!

    I’ve seen that Resene (a paint shop here in nz) also has ‘seasonal’ categories along with personality descriptors on their website:

    It’s refreshing that paint companies have clued into this aspect. As they well should! :)

  6. Back to add that in a previous response I said something about how the lessons of PCA can be generalised – and this is exactly what I was thinking at the time :-). Thanks so much to MarySteele and Christine for this thought-provoking piece – I love the way it is all about creating a sustained, consistent and personalised approach rather than following the annual changes of Pantone dictates about colour, and I love the emphasis on personal education.

  7. wow, i love these seasonal mosaics! They give a better overall impression of each season that the swatch books. wish there was one for True summer.

  8. Great to know this is out there. I have waivered back and forth with my decorating colors until I had my colors done now I understand why the strickly ‘cool’ room had to be change within a few months. I even dyed my dinner napkins to matches my swatches.
    I have been able to do my bedroom in my colors but the rest is neutral to take into account, True Summer, Soft Summe family members not just my Dark Autumn.

  9. Hi Mary,
    I’m pretty sure I’m a Deep Winter….my skin is fair, hair almost black, eyes dark warm brown. I’m toying with the idea of adding some ocean-ey blue to my rooms……all have buttery tan walls, stark white trim, and tan carpet.

  10. I would not decorate with my season palette Soft Summer. Too soft to look at all day. I find it interesting, though, that my color choices at home are a mixture of True Summer and True Autumn colors, which are the two muted palettes used to create Soft Summer.

  11. Am really enjoying reading about how this is playing out in practice – decor tends to be relatively fixed over time (for most of us!) so this is a fantastic thread.

    And if the host will forgive me, I’m really keen to read how this plays out for others – anyone else want to tell us about their house season vs their personal one, and any theory you’ve got as to what is going on here (how common is Shirley’s preference for refracting the flow season back the to the true centres)?

    (And for those of who are old enough to remember fads like the avocado green, lime, brown and orange thing in the 70’s – what was going on there? :-) )

  12. “how hospital designers expect people to improve in rooms painted in sad colors”: could you imagine being sufferent in a bright painted room? a real nightmare, it would just heighten all the perceptions, including those of pain.

    I am a bright winter and have 2 houses. Considering it in retrospect, as it wasn’t done purposely, one is decorated in soft summer colors (lots of warm powdery pink, medium tone blues and sage green) and the other has bold strawberries, burgundy and warm gold, making it, I don’t know exactly what season. The sofa in it is this one:

    I love both of the houses and wouldn’t change their color scheme. I remember how I felt terrible when I entered a neighbor’s house all decorated in black and white. I wear black and white beautifully and I usually get complimented when I choose this combination of colors, but would never ever have a flat in black and white, no matter how stylish and refined it is supposed to look. My opinion is that the personal palette colors can be happily forgotten when decorating where we live.


  13. I’m cool & light, but the colors in my house are all warm. The living room is dark autumn and my bedroom is in the softer spring colors. My kitchen is terra cotta and lime green/soft yellow.
    I adore to wear blue, but I hate blue in my rooms. I don’t even own a blue towel….
    Karin Hunkel, the author of Ganzheitliche Farbberatung, wrote that when you are warm, you will need cool colors in your house and vice versa. The soul need the healing power of every color, not just the ones that look good on us.

    But even so, what to do when your partner is warm and you are cool? Compromise to neutrality?

  14. Marianne,
    Bright Winter and Soft Autumn don’t have very many colors in common. Three that they do have are an off-white, white down OC-131; a light blue, white satin 2067-79; and a medium gray, gray huskie 1473.
    Rather than combine colors all over my house, I would designate his spaces and her spaces. I would want to be the one who looked the prettiest in most of the house!

  15. “Karin Hunkel, the author of Ganzheitliche Farbberatung, wrote that when you are warm, you will need cool colors in your house and vice versa. The soul need the healing power of every color, not just the ones that look good on us.”

    Love this thought – makes sense to me. Not all of us are attracted to likeness. But as in all things, mileages vary.

  16. Susan,
    Three blue-greens I have matched for Dark Winter are: carribean blue water 2055-30; jade garden 2056-20; and robins nest 618. These are pretty intense, but beautiful.

  17. Elizabeth,
    The Resene website is amazing! I am so glad to know about it.
    It answers the question of battling seasons much better than I have. And their color palates are so pretty. The personality assessment reminded me very much of the one in Kathryn Kalisz’ Understanding Your Color.
    Thanks so much for the link

  18. Ineke,
    I feel the exact same way about blues….love to wear them (probably my best color family) but, (with the exception of an ocean-ey blue/green) cannot abide them in my home.
    Something about cool colors in decorating puts me off…..makes me feel like my environment is cold and or sterile. When I see cool colors used in home decorating magazines (like a charming sea-side cottage), I always long to try them myself, but just instinctively know I wouldn’t be able to live with them long term.

  19. I’m a soft summer and my husband is a dark winter. Our house is mostly soft autumn and dark autumn. We both like the feeling of warm colors in the house. When I’ve been in cool rooms I don’t feel as comfortable. Although I do like the idea of being surrounded by colors that are flattering – will probably give it a try.

    Thanks for the ideas and discussion!

  20. I’m an example of someone whose personal energy strongly resonates with the energy of my season’s colors. I’ve a mild-mannered Soft Autumn; since I was very young, I’ve disliked loud, pushy people and loud, pushy colors. No primaries for me, please! I’m drawn to light, delicate or natural colors in decor. My favorite spaces tend to read Soft Autumny or Light Springy.

  21. I am a Brite Winter, and my Hubby is either a Soft Summer, or True Summer. We are both like things contray to our season. Summers are supposed to like dark woods, and curvey lines….But that is what I like, Winters are supposed to like things Bold Modern and straight lines. I love “Old fashioned girly things”, Hubby likes Modern Minamalist and Oriental styles… so it takes awhile but we get there, lol! The Bedroom, Kitchen, are decorated the way I like. The Office, and is decorated the way he likes. The Front room and bathrooms are a blend of styles. We tend to like the Front room to be warmer, almost Soft Autumn.

    I wonder if one of the reasons many people are choosing warmer colors to decorate with is, because that is what is available in the stores. I remember when I was trying to look for new bedding early last year, it seems all I could find were Reds with golds, and Browns with golds, Teals with Browns.All very heavy colors. While I was looking for soft Beachy colors. What do you think?

  22. Olive,
    I can’t speak to fabric sales, only paint. The trends I noticed were toward Soft Summer and Soft Autumn colors. Clear colors belong to the oldest Classic fan deck of Ben Moore colors. The newer Affinity line is full of soft, muted beachy hues. They all are supposed to go together and are close in chroma.
    The worst decorating trend I remember is from the 80’s. I think it directly followed the navy/rust combo. It was a group effort between teal and mauve. It was all over wall paper and upholstery fabric. Ugh! To this day I have a hard time with teal!
    But I think you are right, The trendsetters agree on a look for home products just as they do clothing from season to season. This year’s “It” color is supposed to be honeysuckle- a pinkish coral. As a Light Summer, I can’t wait to see it translate into the buyers market.

  23. Oh yes, that makes me remember when my in-laws were moving from La Jolla Calif. and moving to a small town in Mo. The house they were moving into had a bedroom with bronze and goldish cabbage rose wallpaper with matching ceiling to floor drapes! Every inch of the walls were covered in the print! Talk about over kill! So that room was dubbed the ugly room. So while we were moving things in, we would ask where does this go? …. and was told “Oh that goes in the ugly room” or in the room next to the ugly room…lol! The sad thing is that, I am sure the previous owners were very proud of that room.

  24. In my older 1920’s house w/dark woodwork, I have had the same color on all my walls for years – neutral white that has a vague pink tone that “floats” as the light changes from dawn to dusk. It’s like living in a cloud. I recently repainted one room “warmer” but still neutral white. I hated it although nobody saw the difference except me. I never knew why it was so uncomfortable and unsatisfying until Mary Steele analyzed me. True Summer. The old paint color was cool, the new color was warm. I am in real estate and always advise clients to be neutral (but not boring) on the walls and have their personality reflect in their movable / changeable items. I do the same in my own home. And I decided it was best not to have my husband analyzed so I was not conflicted.

  25. Well, I’m raven haired, dark brown/green eyes if yr up close but just dark eyes from a distance, bronzy olive skinned and mauve lipped and cheeked. What does that make me?
    My 7 sisters are all blonde and head to mauve, blues, whites and yellows. Me? Bold red,
    Beautiful mid cream and green like tall lilies in a vase, mid golden woods and some pink here and there add a touch of mustard and some blues and mint. I’m far too bold for their
    Tastes and considered dramatic and flashy which doesn’t bode well for a traditional family.
    So, who am I?

  26. My business address has changed, but my color philosophy has not! If you would like a list of Benjamin Moore Paint colors that compliment your season, please send a check for $40.00 and a request to Mary Steele Lawler, 1308 Bayou Drive, Indianola, MS,38751. You may email me at

    Paint Color Lists are broken down into color families such as pinks, browns, yellows, etc., but are heavily weighed toward popular soft neutrals that are paler than your fan colors but will support them.

  27. I know this is very long after the original post, but I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on decorating to fit 2 color seasons. For example, is it possible to find cross-over colors? I am a summer (soft summer, I believe), and my husband is a winter (true winter, I believe) – for common rooms that we both share, is there a way to bridge the gap (very cool versus more neutral, soft versus bright)?

    Would it be better to include colors from both palettes in a single room or to try to find colors that somehow find a balance in-between?

  28. Lucy, much of the answer to your Q has to do with taste and what your eye prefers or finds uncomfortable. With garments and cosmetics/hair colour, the colours worn are most attractive, persuasive, healthy, and authentic when they harmonize with the wearer. A room decor need not do that. Like clothing on humans, looking exciting and expensive is good. Maybe you find sex appeal good (by which I do not mean cleavage or red velvet; that is not sex appeal), maybe you don’t. If I think in terms of a room decor as a functioning wardrobe, a S Su woman would be somewhat limited in trying to bring in TW palette colours. It helps me to think about what they share…a pretty good tolerance for darkness, neither being maximally dark, and more coolness than warmth. Both also wear fashion’s neutral colours well, with some crossover potential as they get darker. The light and medium colours of these palettes don’t share much common ground – yes, both are cool theoretically, but what works on paper doesn’t really connect in the real world in this instance. I am no interior decorator, though I will soon be training one as a colour analyst which will be fascinating for her clients, but I envision a room with pewters and charcoals to begin with. Then, I’m not sure where I’d go. Placed next to each other, the SSu elements will look whispery and faded, the TW ones will look aggressive and intense. Good Q though. Could be good to look through various interior decors on Pinterest, Google, etc. searching the Season names. Many analysts have created boards using nature and design images that you might translate into an interior palette. An artistic eye can do amazing and unexpected things.

  29. I agree that having house colours to complement your season is a great idea…..but if you (as I have) a spectacular view outside your house interior is just NOT noticed unless the colours of the outdoors are brought inside at least to some extent. Since doing this in a conscious way …ie nature colours brought indoors there is a balance that was not there before. If the view you have is pretty well all man made…..just go for it with the colours you look best in. I know I would!

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