September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
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.
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!
September 2, 2016 § 4 Comments
OKay 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.
June 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
White kitchens are, again, all the rage, but what keeps a white kitchen from becoming too cold and uninteresting? You guessed it. Color.
What I love about this white kitchen from Traditional Home is the strategic placement of color where it will 1) have the biggest impact; and 2) be inexpensive to change over time.
Where to put the color?
Backsplash. Since the cabinetry and counter tops are white, the backsplash is a logical place for applying a splash of color. Plus, since it’s a relatively small area in the kitchen, you can be bold with your tile choices knowing that replacing the backsplash when styles change down the road will not break the bank.
Furniture. Splashy citron breakfast bar chairs give the neutral kitchen a modern vitality that pairs very well with the traditional cabinetry. The chairs keep the traditional cabinet design and the timeless marble counter top from being too stuffy. And because there are just two chairs, theoretically you could switch them out seasonally if you wanted to and change the look of the kitchen completely.
Accessories. Always a place to introduce color, the accessories like dishes and canisters and placemats and other easily switched-out items add splashes of color all over the kitchen and are temporary. Again, you’re not locked into a color scheme that will go out of favor in a year or two. Bringing in new accessories in a new color palette will freshen up the kitchen at practically no expense.
No wonder white is such a popular color for the kitchen. It is timeless, and it goes with every decor and season. Plus by adding color in places where new color can be infused without redoing the entire kitchen, you’ve added longevity to your original white kitchen design. Smart thinking!
Here’s the link: http://www.traditionalhome.com/kitchens/design-ideas-white-kitchens?page=0
June 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
Organizing your clothes and accessories by color makes a lot of sense to me. You pick out your clothes by what colors you want to wear. Am I right? So going straight to the color of the day seems efficient and not only that, beautiful too. Opening the door to see a well-ordered, color-coded closet gives me joy just thinking about it.
On the other hand, I think color-coding can go a teeny bit overboard. And you’re hearing that from a home stager who lives for color and yes, making order out of chaos. But when I see a bookshelf that has been color-coded, it screams STAGED to me instead of a more sensible, and efficient, order of books by either title, subject matter, or author. How would you ever find a book if you have to remember what color it is?
Having said that, I do like to group books by size on the shelves so they’re not all over the place. Bookshelves tend to look so busy in a room that some taming of the clutter helps.
If you’re organizing your bookshelves, consider breaking up the books by inserting objects you’ve collected, stacking some of the books, and even deleting a bunch of books by donating them to a book drop. If you cannot part with your books, put up floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and organize the books so you can find them again. Like a library.
Just my thought for the day. Happy Organizing!
April 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
You inherited your kitchen. We get it. No money for a costly re-do. We hear ya. But there are a few things you can do to lighten and brighten your dark, dated kitchen while you pour money into other fun things.
- Replace the door handles and drawer pulls. There are so many new metal options out there, and many of them are quite inexpensive. Some even come by the bagful. So there’s no excuse for keeping these.
- Paint the old golden oak cabinets. It may sound hard, but anything is better than the dated, dry and grainy orange beauties many of us were stuck with for awhile. Painting takes patience: in a nutshell, remove the doors, take off all the hardware, sand the cabinets and doors to give the surface “tooth,” prime everything with a really good primer and then paint the doors outside on a horizontal surface to prevent drips. I like to use a cabinet-grade enamel that holds up pretty well. Stay neutral for longevity although painted cabinets are all the rage. So pick a color you’ll love for a long time. Here’s what the Pros recommend for a really nice finish. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20315665,00.html
- Switch out the overhead lighting. This is a really cheap, DIY project (remember to turn off the power first!!). There are so many options way more creative than the central overhead ceiling light or the yellowy brass candleabra over the kitchen table.
- Add under-cabinet lighting. This is a great way to add both task lighting to an old kitchen counter space and ambiance. If you don’t have a tile backsplash, make sure that area is freshly painted as it will show up now. Here’s a link for the many options and how-to’s. http://www.lowes.com/projects/kitchen-and-dining/under-cabinet-lighting-buying-guide/project
- And don’t forget to paint the walls. The easiest, cheapest, and quickest update to any room is a fresh paint job. If you need help with color, let’s work together.
Now, isn’t that easy? You will love pouring your morning coffee in your face-lifted new kitchen. Yes, you still have the old layout and probably none of the new gadgets currently available, but your kitchen will feel brand new. And think of the fun you can have with all your saved money! Enjoy.
(Photo: Brian Wilder for This Old House Magazine)