When NOT to Use Complementary Colors

A friend recently asked me if she should paint her kitchen walls green to compliment her red cherry wood kitchen cabinets. I asked her if she liked the color of her cabinets and she said no, she was tired of the bossy red wood but heard green “complimented” red so she thought green might be a good choice.

Okay folks, let’s clear up the misunderstanding about the word Complimentary when it comes to colors. Colors opposite one another on the color wheel are called  Complementary with an “e”. This is different from the word Complimentary with an “i” which is used as in, “oh that pearl necklace looks great on you”.

When complementary colors on the color wheel are placed next to each other, they make one another appear more intense and brighter.

complementry colors

 

Since my friend didn’t want her cherry cabinets to appear even redder, she didn’t want to use the complement of red which is green.  See how bright these cherry cabinets look against the green walls in the photo below.

Kitchen-Cabinets-Cherry

The rule to remember, is if you want a color to pop or appear brighter then use it’s complement (opposite color on the color wheel). However, if you want to tone down a color choose a color that is either very close to it on the color wheel or choose a neutral. In this case my friend didn’t want to put red or orange on the walls so she choose a neutral.

Cherry Cabinets

 Look how much more toned down these cherry cabinets look against the neutral light gray walls.

Speaking of complementary colors, I couldn’t help but share this photo of a leaf I came across last Fall while hiking.  Sometimes even nature gets confused.

complementary colors

complementary colors

How about you?  Did you confuse the word complementary with complimentary when referring to color?

If you would like help choosing the right color for your home give me a call.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Photo

Continuing  last Friday’s theme of questionable design choices. Today’s photo comes from Restoration Hardware’s new “deconstructed” furniture line.

Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware

I don’t know about you but I can’t wrap my head around spending $2,545.00 for a sofa that looks like something you stole from the upholster before they started to work on it.

So I ask you friends…love it?    or love it not?

2 Tips to Create a Warm and Cozy, BLUE Bedroom.

Last week while at a color consult my client said she wanted her bedroom to feel warm and cozy and wanted to paint the walls Blue……wait, what???

Since childhood weren’t we taught that Blue along with Green and Purple were the cool colors while Red, Orange, and Yellow were the warm colors?

Although it is true that Blue is a cool color, here are two things you can do to achieve the feel of a warm and cozy room and still paint your walls blue.

#1.  Pick a “warm” blue. Blues range in hue from icy cold to warm so be sure to pick a blue with more gray or yellow in it.  Look at this color temperature scale below.

color temperature scale

color temperature scale

I know it seems backwards but Color temperatures over 5,000K are called cool colors (blueish white), while lower color temperatures (2,700–3,000 K) are called warm colors (yellowish white through red)

The closer the blue gets to yellow the warmer it appears.  Cool blues are bright, happy and energizing, often leaning a little to the purple side like a powder blue or a cornflower blue, while Warm blues tend to lean a little to the turquoise side and are more relaxing and soothing.

Can you “feel” the difference between this cool blue bedroom

cool blue bedroom

cool blue bedroom

and this warmer blue bedroom below.

"warm" blue bedroom

"warm" blue bedroom

#2. Use Warm accent colors to warm up a Blue bedroom.

Elaine Griffin blue bedroom

Elaine Griffin Design

The warm brown wood of the bed as well as the  Orange pillows and duvet create a warm and cozy feeling in this blue bedroom. In the bedroom below the jolt of Orange in the quilt keeps the room from feeling too cold.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Same idea here in this blue bed room below. Although the walls are a seemingly “cool” blue, all the red accents keep it from feeling cold.

Blue bed room red accents

Pinterest

Personally, I love Blue for a bed room since it is such a calming and restful color. What about you? What color is your bed room? If it’s blue, is it a warm or cool blue?

Please contact me if you would like help creating a beautiful bedroom, blue or any other color!

Friday’s Photo

I’ve had this image over my desk for about a year now. I can’t decide if I love it or if  I am horrified by it.

Diamond Baratta Designs

Diamond Baratta Designs

Love it or not, whatever your opinion, it does what all great art and design should do: it evokes an emotional reaction, makes you think and leaves a lasting impression.

What do you think? Would you let your kids go wild with a black marker on a freshly painted white  wall?

 

 

Popular Color Myths Busted!

A few weeks ago I received a call from a writer at the Huffington Post. She was interviewing color experts about how different colors affects us.  You can read the article Here.  She asked me if I knew about the study that indicated the color Pink calmed and pacified criminals. Well it so happens that I did know about the study because when I attended Leatrice Eiseman’s color class this past January, she was intent on clearing up several popular color myths. One of these myths is that Pink calms down prisoners.

pink-prison-uniforms

pink-prison-uniforms

The (Pink is for girls) color stereotyping began in the late 1930′s and early 1940′s when clothing manufacturers began assigning the color Pink to little girls and the color Blue to little boys. Blue was marketed to boys in order to show support for the soldiers who were marching off to war in blue uniforms. Pink became the default color for girls as it represented softness, sugar and spice.  It was falsely assumed that little boys dressed in Pink would become weak and girly.

As laughable as this all seems today the myth still persists. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona dresses State prisoners in bright pink garb believing they will become passive and cooperative…like girls??  The fact is, this myth has been busted!

What studies show is that when unruly prisoners are put into bright Pink holding cells they do indeed calm down; for about 5 minutes. They are initially surprised and shocked by the unconventional bright Pink color. After a few minutes though the shock value wears off and they return to their original unruly behavior.

Leatrice also busted a few more color myths.

The color Yellow causes babies to cry. This is just plain silly. Long story how this myth was started but it is just simply NOT true.

crying baby wearing Yellow

crying baby wearing Yellow

The color Orange is a cheap color. Back in the 50′s ans 60′s  Orange was perceived as a “cheap” color but this is certainly not true today. This year Orange has reached it’s highest form of respect by being named Pantone’s 2012 color of the year.

pantone-tangerine-tango

pantone-tangerine-tango

The color BLUE should never be used in a kitchen or around food. This myth says we loose our appetite around the color blue. …REALLY??  I don’t know about you but I sure think I could eat in this kitchen.

Blue Kitchen by Diamondbarratta Design

Blue Kitchen by Diamondbarratta Design

or this beautiful turquoise one designed by Tobi Fairley.

Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley kitchen

So how about you?  Have you heard any of these color myths?  Did you believe they were true?

Inspiration With Annie Sloan in Boston

Yesterday I had such an inspirational day shared with 100+ other woman in Boston at the final stop of Annie Sloan’s US tour. Just in case you haven’t heard, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint has revolutionized painting furniture. There is no stripping, sanding, or prepping. Simply paint, wax and your done.  Annie spent the morning telling us the background on her now famous Chalk Paint … NOT to be confused with chalk board paint… and showing us all the many uses of the paint (not just for furniture) and ideas for fabulous color combinations.

Annie Sloan in Boston

Annie Sloan in Boston

Annie also shared some wonderful stories about the names of her colors; like her newest color Pink called Antoinette. She named this color after Marie Antoinette whom Annie refereed to as the world’s very first Interior Decorator. Marie Antoinette was responsible for introducing lots of fabrics into interiors and softening up the look of all that hard and cold wood of the time.

Although here in the States the paint seems so new and revolutionary, the fact is, Annie invented the paint over 20 years ago and Europeans have been using the paint for years. I first heard about the paint from my friend Susan of Mad Patter Art Design about a year ago. At that time the paint was very difficult to find and she was driving several hours to buy it. Things are changing quickly though due to the huge popularity of the paint and new distributors are opening all over. There will soon be 3 shops all within 20 minutes drive time from my house…yeah!

The afternoon break out sessions were hands on painting and I had the good fortune to get Celeste Blumenauer as my instructor. Celeste is the owner of Catfish Creative Furnishings in Pennsylvania and has been painting furniture since she was 8 years old. She was a fun and engaging instructor and our group learned 4 different paint Techniques.

Annie Sloan paint brush technique

Annie Sloan paint brush technique

In this photo Celeste is demonstrating a Rustic Finish brush technique. We also learned color layering and distressing, soft gilded finishing and how to get a very smooth glass-like Modern Finish.

Annie Sloan paint techniques

Annie Sloan paint techniques

The photo above are my 4 finished techniques. I was especially excited to learn how to get a really smooth finish. Although I like the shabby chic look, I prefer a more finished look for my own home. The Blue (Provence) side was so incredibly smooth when it was done it almost looked and felt as if it had been sprayed. The secrete to a smooth finish is to apply several very light coats of paint and use a 600 grit sand paper between coats. Then, apply the wax and buff, buff, buff!

Although it is difficult to tell by the photo, the Orange side (Barcelona) has a very rustic and aged look. This was achieved bu applying the paint very thick and then distressing once dried.

The proper way to use the wax  seemed to generate the most questions. The key is to use a very light touch with the wax (I have been using way too much). Also, when using the dark wax you must first apply the clear wax otherwise the dark wax can discolor your paint. We also learned you can apply the wax as soon as the paint is dry to the touch. No need to let the paint “cure” before waxing. Annie is all about painting and finishing a piece in a day…another huge advantage of the paint.

There were many new connections made yesterday with fellow designers and bloggers. I was especially glad to meet Nancy Chace of of Sea Rose Cottage. Nancy was the generous donor of  an Annie Sloan fan deck give away sponsored by my blogging friend Kelly Bernier of Restyling Home By Kelly. I won the deck so I was happy to be able to thank her in person.

I also bought Annie’s new book and like everyone else, posed for a photo with this inspiring, creative and dynamic woman.

Annie Sloan and me

Annie Sloan and me

I am ready to start painting and I have so many ideas. I will be sure to post before and after photos as I go.

Have you used the paint?  If so, what do you think?

If you would like help with color, decorating or home staging please give me a call.

 

 

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