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October 10, 2021
Color. It’s one of the first things we consider after the nuts and bolts of designing a space. Wall color, floor color, sofa color, what colors are in your area rug? Your tile? Your countertops? Color impacts everything and it’s an evergreen topic for design magazines, blogs, and Instagram accounts. But if color is everything and information about the where and how of it is everywhere, why are many of us so scared to use it? We’ve become accustomed to designing our houses for resale, which leaves very little room for expressing our own identity in the most personal of spaces.
It’s true, color trends do come and go, but it’s not just the bold schemes that expire, it’s the neutral ones too. Let us travel back in time to the late 90’s/early 2000’s when it was all about the perfect mushroomy-taupe wall paired with sage green and cream as accent colors. Or a true 80’s/90’s classic: the oak kitchen. Beautifully crafted, high-quality oak stained to highlight its natural glory. I’m not criticizing these trends and I’ve had both in my home. I decorated our first home using that exact taupe, sage and cream color combination, and the house we live in now had a kitchen full of milk washed oak. The point I’m trying to make is that the safe choice doesn’t mean never updating. Trends will always change, and our interiors are meant to evolve over time, just as we do.
I want you to feel something in your home and I think sometimes we stick to neutral as a way of playing it safe instead of choosing it intentionally. Maybe you have a great art collection, a stressful job, or maybe you’re just attracted to light and bright or natural and calm- all are great reasons to intentionally choose a neutral interior. I chose white (Benjamin Moore Cloud White OC-130) for the store because I wanted to use the walls as a backdrop for the items I carry: the artwork, the fabrics, the décor, the throws, and rugs. They don’t compete with the wall color and so it keeps the focus on what’s most important.
If on the other hand, you’re contemplating going neutral to avoid making a tough decision, getting it wrong, or growing tired of it, start small. Try a darker or more vibrant color in a powder room or incorporate it in the form of a pillow or throw. These things can easily be reversed or changed from season to season. The way we interpret color is very much influenced by what surrounds it: a deep blue sofa with cheery yellow pillows is a fresh, bright combination. Now think about that same deep blue sofa with warm copper pillows. Rich, sophisticated and all you did was change the pillows for a whole new look and feel. If you’re thinking about painting your front door black, would you consider a dark green or navy? Both are incredibly timeless and have the same moody, classic feel as black but with, dare I say, more interest?
For interior and exterior classic color inspiration check out Benjamin Moore’s Historical Collection and Farrow & Ball Paints. I’ve also compiled a few Pinterest links below for inspiration. So, do you use color in your home? If not, what’s holding you back? If you do, what colors did you use and how?
English Home Interiors- A lesson in mixing color and pattern.
Beata Heuman Interiors- Heuman is known for her colorful, playful interiors.
Design Mom- Gabrielle Blair is currently living in France and renovating a home from the 1780’s.
Lori Paranjape- A Nashville Designer seamlessly integrating color in her designs.
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