Behold: The Gloom of Gray is Lifting

December 12, 2017 § 2 Comments

Thank goodness we’re finally moving away from gray, gray, and even more gray. (If you just repainted from Linen White to Silver Shadow, don’t panic though — it will be okay!) As we move into a new neutral trend (yes, Black), here’s some good advice. Don’t jump on it.

What sometimes happens with trends is that people go overboard with them. They think, aha Gray Trend, I must do everything gray! I have been in so many houses that are all gray on the interior. But in New England, where it’s gray much of the time anyway, those interiors are looking pretty dreary.

The goal should NOT be to create a room that looks like it was decorated in a particular period. The goal should be to create a room that is, as the color maven Maria Killam is known to say, “Classic and Timeless.” http://www.mariakillam.com/whats-next-grey-trend/

How do you achieve that? By mixing stuff up. Here are three basic rules:

  1. Keep the walls a light neutral. There are wonderful shades of whites out there, and most of them don’t read like spackling paste so don’t be afraid to go light. You won’t have to repaint every couple of years if that trendy color you love goes stale. Compromise? Paint only one wall, the focal wall, that trendy color.
  2. Keep the large, expensive furniture pieces, like the sofa, plain (remember plaid? No. Go with no pattern or just a texture so that the sofa stays timeless. Color is okay, but make sure you love it!) If you have a well-made sofa that you do not want to replace, you can opt for a slipcover (custom is best — but regardless, make sure the cushions have individual covers.)
  3. THEN mix things up. Add color in the rug, pillows, art, accessories, and other decorative and personal stuff of life that will make your room feel like it’s yours and not a designer’s.

And of course, let me mention the elephant in the room: inherited pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix your styles to incorporate family heirlooms. You will either have an objet d’art with a story behind it or a cozy room with treasures that remind you of home. Either way, do not be a slave to a particular decorating style just because an inherited piece “doesn’t go.” Embrace it!

Now let’s amp up the color for 2018, shall we?!

 

 

 

 

Orange Twist to the Red Revival

September 18, 2017 § 2 Comments

Apples, pumpkins, falling leaves — there’s something about Autumn in New England that, despite our recent warm temperatures, makes us cozy up to the changing seasons. Maybe that’s why some of us live here.

My newest door color obsession is a revival of the orangey red of another decade, and that may signal the end of the light, neutral, blue and even light lemon yellow door color trend I’ve focused on for the past several years. This red, Million Dollar Red (Benjamin Moore 2003-10) is as perfect on a traditional white colonial as it is on a black modern home. There is no mistaking where the door is — it screams Welcome!

What I love most about it is its “orangeyness.” Orange is a happy color no matter what. So a red on the orange side (versus pink) says this is a happy home. The color also has an updated, contemporary feel as opposed to the more traditional burgundy red (also great, of course, but more serious and refined).

Adding an orangey red as an accent color on the interior is also a great way to torque up the energy. Try it on the back of a white bookshelf, or on a pouf ottoman in the family room, or even on a focal wall in the front entry. A little bit of red warms up a room a lot. So before painting an entire room red, make sure you want to amp up the temperature in there. Using red on items that can be removed in the hot summer makes sense to me: pillows, bedding, throws, and art. Then I look forward to my seasonal exchange when I swap out the cool blue accessories for red.

Enjoy Autumn… whatever it means to you and wherever you are. And love how the color orangey red makes you feel. Warm and Happy.

From Grays to Happy

May 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray has been the wall color of choice for public spaces in the home for a number of years now, and don’t get me wrong, gray is a wonderful neutral to replace the beiges of the previous trend. But you have to admit, gray is not for everybody. And if you live in a dark home with small windows and low ceilings, painting the walls gray might have been a real downer.

Never fear! Color to the rescue! Here are a few ways to make sure your gray room escapes the wrath of a couple of gallons of primer and a roller:

-Make all trim white. That is the best way to keep the gray clear and crisp.

-Make the ceiling bright ultra white. That will reflect the maximum amount of light back into the room.

-Add bright clear color. Bedding, accessories, a rug, and accent furniture (for example, as we see above in the room from Williams Sonoma Home) will help the gray perform its duty as a neutral backdrop instead of becoming the storm cloud in the room.

Add sparkle. Whether it’s a silver lamp, a crystal chandelier, or some new gold in a brass picture frame, adding metal and glass will provide the finishing touch to the room. Reflective finishes bounce light — like jewelry!

So if your gray walls are bringing you down, don’t despair. Add Color. (You knew I’d say that.)

 

 

 

Torn Between Two Paint Hues

September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gray Owl

Gray Owl, Ben Moore

As a home stager, I suggest a lot of paint colors as I help to prepare homes for the real estate market. And by and large, grays are what sells these days. Young buyers grew up with Linen White and seem now to cringe at wall colors with a yellow base. But is gray right for your house?

If you live in an area where the weather is cloudy for much of the time or your house is nestled in the shade, then a gray interior is only going to make your visual life grayer. If you want a fresh gray interior, here’s my advice:

  • Make sure you have tons of natural light — big windows with as much light as you can get streaming in the window. That will allow you to see the gray as a distinct, intentional color and not as a shadow of a different color. You know how white and other colors can appear gray in the corners of a room? That’s what I’m talking about. You’ve chosen Gray. So show it off.
  • Add white for trim — that will make the gray pop and will avoid any semblance of dinginess. For Pete’s sake, you don’t want your house to look dirty.
  • Add some warm color — pillows, a chair, artwork. Just for contrast and to add some warmth when needed. Yellow looks spectacular with gray.
  • Pick a warm gray if you live in a cold climate or your room faces North.
  • Pick a cool gray for a warmer climate or a room facing South. The color of the light and the season will influence how your room looks. If the room looks cold, chances are that it will feel cold in there too.
  • Add wood texture to warm the room. A hardwood floor and other natural wood tones in the room will look sensational against a backdrop of gray.
Linen White

Linen White

If gray is not for you but you want to get away from the Linen White look from decades past, try one of these halfway gray paint colors. They are warm but not too yellow and will move you in the gray direction without making your house too cool. Now let’s get painting!

Gray Mist

Gray Mist (BM)

Maritime White

Maritime White (BM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SW Color of the Year 2017

September 2, 2016 § 4 Comments

poised taupe SW 6039OKay then! If you hang around long enough…(as they say…)

Taupe is back. The color we’ve spent the last decade ridding our houses of is now Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year for 2017. Poised Taupe is the color — SW 6039 — and you have to love the description:

“Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.” — Anytime somebody celebrates imperfections, I’m in!

But here’s what you should know about taupe. It can change radically with the light and the time of day. What looks a little brown can turn pink, purple, or green depending not only on the time of day but also on the lightbulb. Just so you know. Taupe can have a pink undertone as well that clashes horribly with the orange of a red oak hardwood floor. Another caution. But paired with white like its fan deck sibling Gauzy White SW 6035, a silver metal (not gold or brass), hardwood with a gray undertone, and fabrics in other light neutrals with a pink undertone like Cultured Pearl SW 6028, and you truly have a soft, restful combination that harkens back to those glorious. taupe-filled 50s. That’s 1950s!

Personally, I’m going to ride this one out, but I can appreciate how we’re moving from the grays into the taupes (without the yellow undertone of a previous color swing). Like I tell my clients, just because it’s the Color of the Year does not mean it’s perfect for your house. If you are considering taupe, make sure you have a lot of natural light coming in the window and (hopefully) some modern furnishings, shiny metals and glass. Try to avoid pairing with cherry wood. If you have concerns, talk to me!

Meanwhile, let’s get painting.

Green Decorating: The Soothing Hue

March 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

St. Patrick’s Day brings us to thoughts of green. Whether it’s kelly green or any of the variations thereof, green is a versatile, natural hue that brings life and comfort to any room. It is particularly nice in rooms where you spend time revitalizing  your mind and body.

Waking up in a green room warms a cold, white, snowy day and cools a hot, humid summer morning. It can bring the color of lush plants and trees to a city skyline view. And it can calm an agitated, overextended lifestyle at the end of another hectic day.

Green can be either warm (yellow-green) or cool (blue-green), and both pair beautifully with white. Coordinating accent colors can add energy (the complementary reds and pinks, opposites to green on the color wheel) or quiet blending (the analogous yellows and blues on either side of green on the color wheel).

I highly recommend adding green, even a mixture of greens, to your home to quiet and soothe your soul. Wherever you need a few moments of ahhhhhhh.

Paint colors above: Top left to right: Waterscape  SW 6470, Topiary Tint SW 6449, Honeydew SW 6428, Breaktime SW 6463. Bottom left to right: BM Guilford Green HC-116, Palisades Park BM 439, High Park BM 467, Dartsmouth Green BM 691.

 

 

 

Change Your Front Door Color

February 8, 2016 § 2 Comments

IMG_3604Driving through a little town recently, I glanced around as usual, admiring architecture, making a mental note about what color combinations to try and which ones really do not work, and generally looking for color and design inspiration. One house called out to me as I cruised by — quickly I made a U-turn and headed back for a closer look. Like a beacon of happiness, the bright, sunny, yellow door popped off the crisp, white house with black roof and shutters. What a stunning house to drive home to every day.

February seems to bring thoughts of Spring and those quick and easy, yet big-bang-for-the-buck house projects. And the front door color is one of them. If you’re tired of black or red for the front door, and particularly if you have a white house, there is no reason to keep the status quo. Shake it up. What is your favorite color? What color are your spring flowering shrubs? What color does your front door want to be? (Okay, that last one may be a bit weird, but you get it.)

Guidelines for choosing a new front door color:

  1. Make sure that new color shows up at least two other places in the front yard, for example, in the landscape plants, flower pots, patio umbrella, or other accessories.
  2. Consider a brighter sheen for a softer paint color. That will add life and a little pizzazz to a color that doesn’t stand out too much on its own.
  3. Realize that if your front door is under a porch overhang, the color of the door will darken. Go a bit brighter unless, of course, you get full afternoon sun shining on the door. In that case, go a bit darker.
  4. Give yourself choices. Try three different colors and look at them at different times of the day and in different weather conditions. Don’t rush the decision.

So this year, while you’re skimming through seed catalogues and planning your Spring garden colors, choose a new front door color too. You’ll love how it brightens your spirits.

 

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