Is everyone afraid to use ‘Color’ in their home? I am amazed at the number of homes where color has been avoided, forgotten or misunderstood. Yet nearly everyone says to me that they “love color.” What’s up?
I’ve determined that because many people really do not know where or how to effectively use color in their homes , rather than make a mistake by using it incorrectly, mismatching it or using too much of one color, they instead shy away from using any color at all. Understood.
But using color in your home can be fairly simple. Let me share some basics.
One easy way to pick your palette: find a fabric that you like that has at least three colors in it. These should be colors that you feel comfortable with, so you can use this as your “focal” fabric. (Focal does not mean that you must use an over-abundance of the fabric, but that it will be seen “throughout” the room, such as in the drapery, or the Coverlett, or maybe even the pillows on the bed, as is shown in the photo below).
Once you have selected a focal fabric, you may then decide to play it against whites or neutrals, which is perfectly fine. A once colorless room is instantly been transformed into a room with vibrant accents. Don’t forget to add colorful accessories that replicate the hues in your color palette, as this is another compelling way to bring color to your room.
If you want to bring in even more color, select one of the colors in the focal fabric, and paint the most dominant wall in the room – the “accent wall” – that color. Remember to use supporting accessories in order to pull everything together, and to carry out the accent color’s hue and value.
Lastly, you may decide to do what we often do in many of our interiors and use the different colors from your “new-found” color scheme in various, creative ways.
For instance, if the color scheme is derived from a special painting, which perhaps has hues of Milanese Gold, Chinese Persimmon, Mascarpone White and Fiji Blue, we would design an area rug with Fiji Blue and shades of Mascarpone White and cover the sofa in the Milanese Gold – adding decorative pillows displaying the Persimmon and Fiji Blue found in the painting, as we did for The Eldorado Country Club’s reception lobby. We often refer to this as “Color Bounce” – essentially using varying colors from your color palette in different areas of the room – a very effective tool for utilizing color.
Its always one of the first questions both my friends and clients will ask. Should the Wood Flooring be light or dark? And in more recent years, an additional question has been added – “Smooth or Distressed?
While dark floors have been predominant in most Interiors over the past four or five years, many people are beginning to re-think this entire question. And personally, I am very glad as it really shouldn’t be about “What’s in?”, or “Whats popular?
But really, it should be about, “What works with the style or look of the space”. The color of Wood Floors should not be based upon the current style, or fad (as we used to say). Rather, it should be considered as a design component, not dissimilar to the color of the walls, or the stone species on the counters. If all of the design selections work togeher harmoniously, then whatever color of stain is chosen, should infact work.
We are presently working on a project, in which we are going to “paint” the floors a dusty Robin’s Egg Blue, and are then going to add a stenciled border with bright hues of fresh picked raspberries and creme brulee. The painted floors and simple white cabinetry with polished nickel hardware will create a Martha’s Vineyard Kitchen, or a simple New England Cape Cod look.
Alternatively, we have designed some beautiful Log Homes on Swan Lake in Big Fork, Montana (www.thekootenai.com) in which we have re-used existing wood flooring. The wood flooring was removed from the original hundred plus year old cabins, and re-installed. In this situation, we refinished the floors in a darkened clear finish. They are neither light, nor dark.
In each of these projects, the color of the floors were designed to compliment the rooms as a whole, rather than the color of the floors dictating what other finishes were selected.
We have always believed that good design is timeless.
Collections – such as antiques, artifacts and memorabilia – can be a compelling part of any interior. They can help add depth and interest making a key difference between a bland, boring room and a memorable one.
But don’t collect just for the sake of collecting. Begin by collecting something that truly interests you, regardless of its value. Then decide on exactly the type of collection you want and your budget.
Artifacts, interesting pieces of furniture and various other objects can all come together to create an “eventual” collection. I am always thrilled when I meet up with a friend or client who has started to assemble their own personal collection – this individual focus can run the gamut – model ships, saddles, pewter, blue and white ceramics, botanicals, bird feathers, ducks, hats, guns and more.
The wonderful thing about collections: they are fluid and can take on a life of their own. They begin at different times, and are never really complete. It’s never too late to amass a collection. Don’t be afraid to have several collections at once. At the moment, I have 14 collections – including Finials, Antique Keys, Chinese Mud Men, Magnifying Glasses, Marble Eggs, and Model Train Engine to name a few– all at different stages.
Lastly, don’t get hooked on the number of items in your collection. It might merely consist of only two treasured items. One of my favorite collections was a beautiful pair of white alabaster lamps with handles carved to resemble swans.
A compelling interior is not unlike a forest – and is characterized by layer upon layer of colors, textures and finishes. There is an art to this layering, and to that end, an art and sense of adventure to acquiring meaningful collectibles, which infuse personality and depth into your home – becoming your very own prized collection.