Learning about color
This past Saturday morning amidst a freak snow storm on the Cape – freak because it came and went WITHOUT WARNING in about 20 minutes – and freak because we have had little other snow all winter – ‘g’ hosted a workshop on color. Participants brought their questions and challenges and by the end were choosing colors with abandon from a close-out sale on clay paint.
How did they get this new found confidence to stamp their homes with new color ideas – perhaps it was the gentle suggestion made by Nicole throughout the workshop that people should trust their gut and have a little fun.
Color is not an exact science. Each one of us has an emotional, subjective response to the colors that surround us. It’s a personal experience that can change depending on the environment, the changing light and individual perception. Color can be very intuitive for some, though others still find it daunting.
When we take notice of the colors around us, we are reacting to the whole atmosphere. The blue in a bedroom that looks calming and serene, can appear cold and dull in an institutional setting. Likewise a hot red in a restaurant can seem lively and inspiring, a great backdrop for spicy food for example. But in a living room it can look garish, even tawdry, if not paired with strong woods, expressive patterns and accessories that highlight its warmth.
At ‘g’, we often recommend that color-challenged clients take a look in their own closets when trying to decide the colors that will suit their homes best. Your clothing is a great place to reinforce your color preferences. Take a look as well at your dishware, your artwork, your souvenirs and accessories. All these will give you hints about color to utilize in your home décor.
All too often we hear “I’ll just go with white” as if that were a safe choice for the walls. It certainly avoids the question of color, but it can also make your home look washed out, plain and boring. And it may even be too bright if your furniture and other design elements are not as bright as the walls. We took a look during the workshop at several manufacturer’s white paint samples of which there were easily 50 shades, so white is not the easy default you may believe.
Neutral backgrounds can work well, but if it has to be beige why not try for beige-ish with a taupe, a soft blue or grey. Or use multiple tones of the same beige color to create layers and a richness that exudes luxury and warmth.
The trick is to create a flow with color throughout your home so your passage from room to room is not abrupt. You may have flooring that extends from one room to another, and the color of this flooring should also be taken into account in each room color palette. On the other side of the challenge is not to make everything so matchy-matchy that there is no contrast, no interest, no surprises. Try working with a color group in the living room for instance, picking up this tone in the dining area and just using it as an accessory in the kitchen for instance. Sprinkled around my home is a tangerine orange that pops up on a chair in the living room, on the staircase risers and in a bold wall leading up to the attic bedroom. Tangerine orange might not be your pick, but using a color consistently throughout your home in carefully chosen elements will create a harmonious blend, and lead your eye from one room to the next.
Feeling confident about your choices is the key, but you have to try something daring occasionally to get that confidence under your belt. If “its just paint”, then its just paint. You can change it. And if you don’t like your initial choice, leave it for a while, it may grow on you.
Just don’t try to please everyone in the family with each color choice. Unanimity is a rare phenomenon, but consensus may spontaneously occur. The color may grow on you, and it may grow on your family as well.
Take a few chances, add some texture, some pattern. Try something new. It only makes life more interesting. Have fun and come and see us if you get stuck and need a color nudge!