If you’re older than 25, you probably remember the color craze back in the 80’s, most notably remembered is the company called Color Me Beautiful. I hopped on that bandwagon and was a color consultant for many years. I enjoyed it immensely, and learned a great deal about color in the process. Equally important, I learned just how little I had truly known about the nuances of color, and I was certainly not alone. Many women (and men) are afraid of color, and end up choosing the same ol’, same ol’… black, beige or white. *Yawn* Not only does this happen when choosing wardrobe pieces, but furnishings and accessories too! The result…a boring, lackluster space that simply put, doesn’t make you or anyone that enters the room happy.
Decorating without color is impossible, and because color affects the mood of a room both directly and indirectly, the choice of color in a room is extremely important. So how do you go about choosing colors that you want to live with?
It’s a large investment, and it’s understandable that you would want to have confidence in your choices. Certainly, the function of the room you’re decorating is a factor. Do you want the room to have a calming effect, such as a bedroom, or do you want it to be cheerful and bright, as in a kitchen or maybe a baby’s room? Once you have decided, my favorite way to find a color I love is a visit to a fabric store.
Find a fabric you love, pick a color that you’re drawn to, and I guarantee you’ll be happy with your choice. Another option is to pick an accessory you’re in love with, a painting or even wallpaper. Your closet can also be a source of inspiration, although I have always found I like my spaces to be a little different than my wardrobe, but I’m weird that way. Other ways too, but that’s another post.
When choosing paint colors, although there is nothing wrong with whites or beiges, in fact, I rather like them, don’t choose them because you think they’re practical. Brighter colors do not show dirt any more than paler colors. In fact, the opposite can be true and often is! If you have an existing space and need help figuring out what colors to use or just want some inspiration, the new Sherwin Williams ChipIt tool can be a great resource. Here’s a picture I took in Bali of a rice field. (Looking at this picture, it’s hard to believe it was actually taken with my phone and has had no editing. It almost looks fake, but not in a bad way, don’t you think?) Using the ChipIt tool, I got some cool color options.
Here are some simple guidelines to remember when choosing colors for your home:
- Take into account the type of setting and feel you want the room to have. A country setting works well with blues, whites and greens, while a contemporary setting works well with contrasting colors that are vibrant as well as neutrals such as black, white and greys.
- The textures of a color will have an impact on its effect. Shiny finishes will visually make a space appear larger, while matte textures make a room more cozy.
- Consider the orientation of the room. Does it face east? That means whatever color you select will be most intense in the morning, but softer the rest of the day. Rooms that face south or west receive the most light during the day, which means the color in these rooms will be more intense than how they might have appeared in the store. You might want to go a shade or two lighter to achieve the effect you want. A room with a northern exposure has the most consistent lighting throughout the day.
When considering what color to choose for a room, think about what it is used for and choose colors accordingly. Here are a few ideas to help you on your way.
Lots of lattitude here, but I prefer warm colors in living rooms, which include reds, yellows and oranges and all shades of these color families.
Dark red is a great choice for a dining area! It awakens the mind and encourages conversation. Steer clear of white for this room, as it doesn’t create an intimate feeling. I’m always amazed at how many restaurants totally miss the mark with this!
Greens encourage concentration, and browns create a warm feeling. I’m swooning over these beautiful chairs, and the ceiling ain’t too shabby either!
I’m a little on the fence when it comes to good colors for kitchens. More than any other room, this is a tough one because so much depends on the color of your cabinets (not an easy element to change), flooring, countertop, etc. Greens are good, yellow and reds as well, but be careful about making the kitchen too stimulating. I don’t think we need colors that will increase our appetites…at least I know I don’t. Here’s a good example of a kitchen that incorporates green and pale yellows in a subtle, yet effective way.
I love neutral bedrooms. Colors such as khaki, creams, pale yellows all work well in a bedroom. Light green, blues and purples are also calming and sophisticated, while peaches are warm and inviting
Pinks and peaches make us look like we have a natural glow. Yellow does pretty much the opposite, so it may not be a great choice for the room in which you first get a glimpse of yourself in the morning. Not a morning person and need help getting your day started? Select a bright red! White is a classic choice, and gives the feeling of calmness and the impression that the room is clean and sterile.
Still afraid of adding color to your spaces? Try a little at a time…pillows, flowers, picture frames, vases, etc., and see how you like it! Small investment, big return!