Enough about Neutral–I’m Craving Color

May 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Who says accent walls are so last decade? Not me. I love how a carefully chosen wall or piece of architectural interest can be highlighted dramatically by color.

Here we see how bold color creates a defined outside eating area with all the drama of an interior dining room. Why not! It’s okay to use accent color on the outside of the house to warm up a patio, jazz up a porch wall, or provide a colorful backdrop to a garden. It’s spring. Get out there and do some color!

Kitchen Cabinet Color: Move over Back Splash

January 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Kitchen cabinet color is in. From yellow to navy to this refreshing mint, cabinets and kitchen islands are getting a paint job. And it’s not just old cabinets that are being refreshed. New kitchen designs are showing painted cabinets in colors that were once reserved for bathrooms and laundry areas. And it’s a bold move because, unlike wall color, you are unlikely to re-do cabinet paint color anytime soon. Call it confidence or general optimism (or a craving for it) but cabinet color will be here to stay for some time.

If you’re a little unsure of painting all your cabinets a particular color, try painting the back of an open cabinet or the center island first. That’s what I did. And I was hooked from that point on. (My cabinets have had two color transformations since discovering color in the kitchen.)

One suggstion for choosing a paint color for your cabinets: take a look at the colors in adjoining rooms and pick a color that will pull the public areas together. A pillow color in the adjoining family room might make a terrific cabinet color in the kitchen. You are limited only by…hmmmm… nothing really. Enjoy!

Stone and Brick Reveal Your Exterior Color Palette

January 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

hamstoneYes, it’s winter and the roof in this photo is covered with snow, but now we can focus on the rest of the house, particularly the stone. What works on this house is the color palette that is taken directly from the numerous available hues in the stonework itself.

The bricks are a monochromatic rusty red color that complements the stone without competing with it — a challenge when you have multiple materials on the house. The siding is a gray neutral, also in the stone. The trim is pulled from some of the darker taupe stones. How easy is that? Job done.

If you are building a home with different materials, use the busy one with the most colors (stone or brick) to make the rest of your color decisions. That way, the whole house will come together in a harmonious cornucopia of color.

The alternative? Choosing a color that is not in the palette at all. The result? A disjointed effect that divides the house into sections and makes it seem smaller. Can be done, but it’s tricky and needs a professional colorist to pull off. Do yourself a favor and stick with the natural palette that presents itself to you from your building materials.

Color Your Home Happy

January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

ImageWhether you live in a deluxe villa or a double-wide, you deserve a happy home. And the place to start is by adding color. Numerous studies have shown that color influences the way we feel and can even be used to describe our emotions (“I’m in a blue mood”).* But what may influence us the most is a lack of color.

The study found that people with depression associated their mood with the color gray. And you don’t have to paint your walls gray to have a gray aura in your home. Take a look around your house, in the corners and shadowed areas and particularly the ceiling. Do you see gray? Do you feel blah? Well then… time for color.

Start by painting your ceiling either a bright white or a tint of your wall color. That will either maximize the light reflection in the room (and bolster your mood) or make the room feel bigger and more open. Either way, you’ll feel better.

Next, if you’re timid about your color-selecting skills and afraid to make a mistake with the wall color, then start small. Add some colorful accessories to the room — pillows, artwork, other changeable items. Doing that will help you create a palette of colors you like without making a big investment or paying a painter to repaint two or three times.

When you’re ready to take the plunge and add color to your walls, try an accent wall first. Pick the wall that you see when you enter the room (the focal wall) and paint that a color you like. Add accents to the room in the same color to pull the room together. Keeping three walls neutral with pops of color on an accent wall and accessories here and there will help you step into the world of color without any Crayola catastrophes.

Note: There is nothing wrong with neutrals and whites in the home. To many people, neutral means calm. But if you are somebody who likes to wear color and you are drawn to color yet your home does not reflect that love of color, then it’s time to add color. That’s what I’m talking about.

*http://www.livescience.com/6084-colors-describe-happiness-depression.html

Furniture Arrangement Challenges May Call for Different Furniture

January 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

When it comes to furniture placement, some rooms just will not cooperate. With bay windows, bow windows, niches, dormers, and other odd architectural challenges, where on earth do you put your sofa? One solution is to forget the sofa altogether and replace it with a circular arrangement of very comfortable chairs, either all matching for a formal look or all mismatched for a casual eclectic look.

Either way, the arrangement gives you an instant, inviting seating area where you can sit down with others and have a cup of coffee or read the paper. In this photo, the designers put a round coffee table for holding popcorn, drinks, books, and just about anything else. But as you know, I’m a big fan of the big overstuffed ottoman– what I consider to be the perfect piece of versatile furniture– so that would be my choice for the center.

If you simply cannot figure out where to place your living room sofa, consider moving it to the family room or wherever the TV is. Replace the sofa/loveseat/chair concept with four comfy upholstered chairs. You’ll love the change.

Choosing Paint Colors From Room to Room

January 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

ImageCreate flow throughout your home by sharing colors between rooms. In this luscious red Venetian plaster dining room, the red is shared with the living room pillows across the hall. Just enough to draw your eye over there and pull the two spaces together.

Paint colors in nearby rooms “speak” to each other because they are adjacent on the color wheel. Red and yellow are separated by a neutral with a slight green undertone, adding a punch of contrast to the hallway.

Layering colors between rooms that you can see from one location and “cross-pollinating” the colors with pillows, accessories, and artwork will create a flow that will make your home appear bigger, less chopped-up, and more thoughtfully planned for optimal warmth.

(Interior design: Marcy Masterson)

Coordinating Brick House, Siding, and Roof Colors

January 9, 2013 § 651 Comments

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In this brick house example, the dark sandy grout color was used as a siding color, and it coordinates beautifully with the earthy shades in the brick. Even the roof is tied in although black would have worked just as well. Contrast that with the pink brick and lemon yellow siding example below right. Yikes.

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Sometimes there’s just no way around ugly brick except to paint it. And the results can be stunning. Not only have you made your house bigger visually by blending in the brick with the siding color, but also you have added texture to the house without the busy look that highly variegated brickwork can create. A great compromise and an updated house.

Making Sense of Color Trends

January 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

ImageIs anybody else’s head spinning as you look at the color trends for 2013 or is it just me?

When we look at the Benjamin Moore Color forecast, we clearly see pastels — a look refreshingly optimistic every few years after we finish huddling in our dark, cozy dens and want out. Here we see a pale yellow added tastefully to warm gray walls — a really soft, uplifting combo. (Lemon Sorbet 2019-60 is the Ben Moore paint color of the year if you haven’t already heard.)

The other color combos from Ben Moore introduce Dusty Mauve (2174-40) back into the mix (been a few years, like 30), in combination with Golden Straw (2152-50) and a soft navy (Evening Dove (2128-30). The other trends from Ben Moore show us more Coastal blues and greens (never out of fashion in my book), and more taupes and grays, a trend we have been in for a few years now. Here is a link to the Ben Moore colors and combos: http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/trends-2013

And then there’s Sherwin-Williams. Talk about something for everybody…I’ll say. I wouldn’t call this a color trend. It’s more like a smorgasbord. Image

We have the Vintage Moxie Collection, an Easter basket of colors to choose from including Radiant Lilac (SW0074) and Aloe (SW6464, the Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year).

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/vintage-moxie/

Then if you’re still in a chalky-earthy color mood, there’s the Honed Vitality Collection including all colors we’ve been using already like Unusual Gray (SW7059) and Roycroft Suede (SW2842), both terrific exterior colors. http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/honed-vitality/

Sherwin-Williams went Peter Max with its High Voltage collection — Electric Lime (SW6921) and Feverish Pink (SW6859) are colors I would reserve for a pillow or a picture frame. Maybe a front door color if you’re so inclined. Yikes! http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/high-voltage/

Finally Sherwin-Williams offers the dark, moody, masculine colors for anybody who’s left. The Olde World Gold (SW7700) and Plum Brown (SW6272) are both terrific exterior colors as are most of this Midnight Mystery collection. http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/midnight-mystery/

What Sherwin-Williams has shown us with their lack of consensus when it comes to color trends for 2013 is that we are more diverse in our color likes and personalities than ever before. Pretty much anything goes. So paint what you love. If you are caught up in color trends, then stick to whites and neutrals for your walls and add pops of trendy colors in things like pillows, accessories of all kinds, and even front door colors. Things you can switch out easily when the next hot new trend comes along because who knows what the color experts will throw at us next year.

Choosing a Metal Roof Color

January 7, 2013 § 4 Comments

Just a pet peeve of mine, but I really do not care for a bright red metal roof on an old historic stone house. I know that some of my bias is regional–I’m sorry if I’ve offended anybody’s taste. But what I much prefer is a color that comes from the stone itself. What that does is blend the roof with the house and not call it out like a big old stop sign on a dirt road.

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This photo shows a neutral option for a metal roof color. Perfect actually for the little stone house above.

If you are choosing a metal roof color for your home and you do NOT want to feature the roof as the focal point of the neighborhood, choose a color that blends or approximates a traditional roof color (grays, bronze, brown, charcoal, black). On the other hand, if you need people to find your house in a snowstorm, then choose a bright Crayola color and love it. Fair warning.

Everybody’s Favorite Neutral: Revere Pewter

January 4, 2013 § 2 Comments

As our design aesthetic moved steadily from beige to gray over the past several years, one warm gray popped up as the perfect transitional color. Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter HC-172 is currently the number one  all-around neutral as it is not too light, not too dark, not too yellow, not too green, not an ounce of pink, and even not too gray. Perfect with all kinds of complementary colors including this luscious Persimmon 2088-40 on the ceiling.
ReverePewter

I like Revere Pewter in public areas like the dining room as it looks spectacular with warm golds and crystal. In the kitchen, it highlights the stainless steel appliances. In the hallway, it even makes a golden oak bannister look terrific.

As one fan describes it, the color “calms and restores, like driftwood found on the beach.” Yup. Kind of makes me want to dunk the whole house in it.

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