Overcoming the Fear of Color and Adding Life to Your Home
Many people live with an all-white, off-white or beige interior for years, simply because they aren’t sure what else to do. Afraid of making a mistake, they instead do nothing.
But that in itself could be a mistake: there’s a growing body of evidence which suggests that a colorless environment negatively affects our mood, our ability to concentrate, and our productivity (gray office cubicles, take note!).
So how do you break the beige habit, and start integrating color into your life? See our helpful and easy-to-follow tips below.
Three Ways to Introduce Color – Which one is right for you?
In terms of color, schemes fall into one of three general categories:
- Color in accessories only.
- Color on walls only.
- Color both on walls and in accessories.
COLOR IN ACCESSORIES ONLY
A good way to start exploring color with minimal risk and investment is by adding colored accessories to an otherwise neutral space. A few cheerful accent pillows, curtain panels, a flower arrangement or a rug will give the room immediate personality and spark. Further, it allows for easy, budget-friendly updates: all you need do is change out key items for a whole new feel. The more accent colors you use, the more lively the scheme becomes. For simplicity’s sake, limit yourself to two or three different hues in a room.
How to know what goes together? Look to a favorite piece of art, a patterned rug, or a printed fabric, and pull out the colors you like most. The artwork shown here, courtesy of Z Gallerie, could easily kick-start a color palette. Use Sand Beach or Barcelona Beige as a neutral backdrop;
Then choose a few of these shades for cushions, throws, window treatments, or other accessories.
COLOR ON WALLS ONLY
Wall color is still the fastest and most economical way to change the feel of a room, especially if you can do the painting yourself. The more neutral your furniture and permanent fixtures like flooring or countertops, the wider the variety of color choices available to you. When the walls are the primary source of color, you can generally afford to go a bit bolder, or even get away with a pastel if that’s your preference, especially if it’s anchored by dark woods or a darker floor.
COLOR ON WALLS AND ACCESSORIES
This combination results in maximum warmth and vibrancy. However, the degree of vibrancy is highly variable, depending on whether the colors used are muted or bold, and how many different colors are combined. In general, it’s simplest if you limited yourself to three colors: one dominant color and two accent colors. Or, you can inject variety just by using different shades of the same color, lighter and darker. For example, a pale celery green and a deeper mossy green.
Whatever color is on your wall should also appear on a couple of accent objects in the room. This quickly pulls the room together. Finally, take care to choose a wall color that doesn’t clash with any adjoining rooms in the main part of the house. This can be a common issue in newer homes, whose open floor plans mean you see many rooms at once. One easy way to make the transition between rooms is by taking a secondary color from an accent object in the current room and flipping it to a wall color in the next room. Or, just flow into a complementary neutral.
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