I know this is a daunting task even for the pros. After years of doing this you do develop an eye for it but it is still a lot of experimenting before the perfect scheme is developed. So let’s start picking through this challenge. First we want to choose roughly three to five colors that complement each other in hue and yet contrast each other in value.
Ok, I just gave you two words you might not know. So let’s define them. Hue is the actual pigment of the color; yellow, blue, etc. Value is the light or dark of the color; baby blue vs. midnight blue…I think you get the idea now.
What does all this mean? Choose a combination of warm and cool colors with in a variety of dark and light values. Check out this link http://www.colourlovers.com/ for some great tools in helping you choose your colors. You will notice the combinations in the color schemes, even in the more subdued palettes there is variety.