Choosing House Colors in a Colorful World

November 10, 2014 § 1 Comment

whitegarage“Anyone who claims to be an expert on color is a liar,” assert Joann and Arielle Eckstut in their book The Secret Language of Color. I (hesitantly, of course) agree. Asking someone to pick a color for you is like asking a stranger to describe your personality, your favorite sweater when you were five, and your family tree. But hey, with a series of clues, we color “experts” do it all the time.

The colors you end up with for your home, your clothes, your car and everything else should be a reflection of you. But how we make those choices is dependent upon our associations between colors and objects or feelings (yellow can conjure up sunshine and happiness or anger and agitation), our culture (Americans tend to prefer blue, Asians red) and even our ability to distinguish certain colors at all (some red/green color-blind individuals see only a gray scale).

When choosing a house color, there are even more considerations: neighborhood, age of house, natural environment, and frankly whether or not you want your house to blend in or stand out. For the most part, we tend to use colors in the palette of nature: beiges, taupes, grays, greens, and occasionally reds, yellows and blues. Nature colors can blend a house into the tree-lined landscape in the backyard or the row of stone walls in the cul-de-sac. Red can echo the autumn colors lining the street or the late afternoon sunset. Yellow can fit just as well in a quaint New England town as it does along the coast of Malibu. And blue in all its various shades looks fabulous on a house between the dunes at the beach.

But what if you want your house to stand out in a world full of color? Don’t overlook white. It can be warmed up or cooled down with the seasons and it will never go out of style.  Splashing in a no-color “color” like white into a palette (whether it’s your neighborhood or the front garden) not only makes the surrounding hues more vivid but also serves as a beacon of relief in a multi-colored landscape. When choosing a floral display that I knew would be surrounded by other beautiful, multi-hued arrangements, I chose white. And sure enough, what showed up the most? White. (What color is the bride? White.) You get the picture…

Be your own color expert. Choose what you like. Fit in. Stand out. Or ask one of us to help.

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