Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Color your world!

I've been asked many times as a designer what the quickest and cheapest way to perk up a room is. And my answer has always been "paint"! I'm passionate about using bold paint colors in the home. Any paint color other than cream or off-white always evokes panic attacks in people. We are surrounded by the colors of nature - the azure blue of the sky, the green of plants and trees, the vibrant yellows and reds of flowers - and yet we hesitate to bring those colors into our homes! Do you like blue? Then paint one of your walls a beautiful sky blue, or a deep dusky blue. After all, its only paint. So if you end up not liking it - and you'll know that as soon as the first brush stroke is up on the wall - then change it. You didn't spend a fortune on it like that expensive rug or sofa or art work! There are some basic rules to follow....make sure the colors used are consistent with one another, don't over do anything. Balance is important. So for those of you who would love to bring some warm bold colors into your homes - here is a little encouragement. I hope when you are done reading it, you will be inspired to rush to the paint store!

Red is viewed as an exciting, dramatic color. Red also has passionate feel. The darkest reds, such as burgundy and maroon, have a rich stately feeling. Red is passionate, strong, warm and exciting. It is also stimulating, which is why it is used frequently in dining rooms to stimulate the appetite as well as the conversation. In living rooms, use it in small doses like maybe on one wall as an accent, unless you are sure you are comfortable with all walls being red, because it is so strong.

Orange gives off an aura that is cheerful, bold, and exciting. Orange has a friendly, informal feeling that makes it a great choice for a family room or relaxed living room. Rust, a dark muted orange, is a quiet color that conjures up misty autumn days, while the paler peach makes a cheerful, warm but understated, impact. Orange is flamboyant, spontaneous, bold and joyful. It also happens to be my favorite color and I have always had at least one orange wall in all the homes I have lived in.

Yellow is the most visible color—that’s why so many road signs and school buses are yellow. Gold and ochre tones of yellow create a formal, antique atmosphere. The warm, inviting shades can do justice to virtually any room in the house. It is optimistic, cheerful, happy and intelligent. They work best in kitchens and bedrooms.

Green is nature’s favorite color. Perhaps because of this strong associate with nature, green is a very soothing color to most people. Because green is easy on the eyes, it has long been a popular color in the work place. Green is a versatile color that can look good anywhere inside or out. It is peaceful, relaxing, harmonious, restful. A great choice for the almost any room in the house.

Blue is all kids' “favorite color.” The universal appeal of blue skies and blue water create a feeling of serenity and openness. Aqua blue is a more frivolous and sunny color. As an exterior color, blue works beautifully as either a trim or a whole-house color. Blue is cooling, committed, calming and dependable.

Purple brings to mind of wealth and pageantry. Purple and violet are indeed luxurious shades. Lavender, a tint of violet, is gaining popularity and conveys a feeling of low-key refinement. The skillful and unexpected use of violet as an interior color makes an instantly eclectic impression. Purple is stately, regal and rich. It is royal, papal, eccentric and feminine. It takes a lot of courage to paint a purple wall, but nothing adds a dash of luxury and glamour like a splash of purple.

Brown is a favorite feng shui color, being the color of wood. Banish any thought that dark walls make for dark dull rooms. Neutral accessories will prevent the space from feeling closed in and crisp cream upholstery is a welcome contrast against the brown. Chocolate brown is masculine and sophisticated and is a great color for a library or den and along with blue is one of the most popular feng shui combinations, with brown being wood and blue being water.

Finally we have the neutrals. Neutrals include beiges, creams and some lighter browns and are the perfect base for any room for a fresh, clean, uncluttered tone. Limited color in no way implies limited style. The key to a neutral palette is to layer texture throughout the room. When you want to 'warm up' the room, use warm accent colors - a red rug on the floor, or a throw on the couch. Then to 'cool' it down, use aqua or mint green in flower arrangements, pillows and pictures.

If you're still not very confident with color, then using beige as the background interior design color for your room is safe. You can then experiment with smaller items with accent colors which can be changed whenever you want. But I say, be brave....slap on those vivid bold colors and see the difference they make, not only in how your home looks, but in how the colors make you feel!

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