Now that you have compiled some pics from magazines, and chosen some books that best describe your style, lets begin.
I find that if you determine what room in your home is the hub for everyone, and start at that point, the other rooms will fall into place nicely once you have completed this area.
Remember I had told you inspiration usually comes from art, a rug, or fabric? Well if you do not already have this to start with, go out and get that great rug, or purchase that awesome chair that really makes you smile, or find that piece of art that speaks to your soul, or just makes you happy! Now from this point, take a picture of the item you have been inspired to start with, and bring that with you to the paint store, and I would suggest that any color chip you choose, should stay light to medium in color, and also remember that you will have to live with this day in and day out, so choose colors, that you will not tire of. I am not opposed to color in fact on the contrary, however I like to keep more bold or saturated color to the powder room, bathroom, or bedrooms, this way you can enjoy them, but not be with them constantly.
If you have chosen a neurtral rug, remember that there are many shades of beiges, whites and creams. It is a good idea to refer to your magazines and books again to see the application of color in a main room. Another couple of good tips are to go to Benjamin Moore web site, and put in pics of your room, and apply the colors you have chosen to see how they might look , remember, this is not 100% accurate, but it does give you a good idea. If you would like a more realistic representation of this, by a large core board, or drywall piece, and purchase a quart of your chosen paints, then paint those surfaces, and set them in the area you are going to paint(setting on a fireplace mantle is a good area) and view this from day until evening watching how the light affects the color, and see if it still works for you.
Just a note: If you have chosen an area rug for your inspiration piece, do remember that larger is better... You dont want too small of a rug leaving your furniture floating....chose something that will define the area of furniture and make it feel grounded, the legs of most of the pieces, should at least touch the rug. Also remember that a rug can be angled , and does not need to stay in line with the room, this adds for more interest. Okay, that's quite a lot to try to tackle, so take your time, and have fun, and I will write more soon!