Literally, a thin board or slab on which an artist will mix paint.

Metaphorically, describes the range of different colours that make up an artistic creation; it refers to the intricate tones and hues that are assembled on a real daubed palette, holding an indication of the artist’s taste and predilections (e.g. a very limited number of colours, or just the one plus neutrals), from which he construct a scheme, or a palette, which translates into a finished piece of art.

* We construct colour schemes for our homes in much the same way. For each of us, our chosen palette will instinctively reflect our particular preference for certain colours or colour families. A good pointer for ensuring you’re on the right track with your furnishings and colour scheme is to put the whole lot on a table in a loose pile. What you see should sing to you, delight your spirit and make you feel happy: you must love it.

* If you don’t, you’re on the wrong track: so stop at this point, as you will have been wrongly advised or influenced, perhaps by fashion or advice that has persuaded you against your true self. As you will be living with this palette, it must resonate with you deeply: in the realm of home colours, mind must always defer to heart. It may of course be that you just didn’t know what you wanted, but this exercise should help you; follow a process of elimination until you’re confident you’ve found a palette that you love; if in doubt check your wardrobe.

* In a family home, consensus might not come immediately, but it will, with a bit of give and take, and sometimes, if all else fails, by designating different rooms to different people to choose.

* Always start by taking into consideration your environment: the colours and textures of the building’s materials and that of the locality; you will usually have chosen your environment, so there must be something that pleases you about it. Whether urban, rural, island, woodland, seaside, river estuary, hill or valley, sandstone or chalk, grey or blue, enclosed or open, all internal environments are more pleasing and harmonious to live in when they relate to the immediate environment without.

*Keep in mind how to create the depth, balance, and harmony needed for a successful transformation, mixing, blending, adding and taking away until it feels finished and right.

* At times when you have to live in an environment that you would not have chosen, the palette of colours outside may not please you, even to the point of distress; in this case, make the home inward looking, using blinds or shutters to close off the outside, creating your very own hortus conclusus–an enclosed garden–for your family and yourself. With a palette that you know works for you.

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