Which wall is best for a painted accent wall?

I recently received this question from a reader who was painting her family room and wanted to know which wall would make the best accent wall. She was confused as to whether she should pick a solid wall that was a side wall, the fireplace wall, or the wall behind the sofa which had a window and a door.

Regardless of how you feel about accent walls (many designers and decorators see them as dated) they are still very popular here in the north east and quite a few of my color consulting clients ask for them. When choosing an accent wall, remember it will be a focal point in your room, so be sure there is a good reason to draw attention to it. A random “side wall” doesn’t make for a good accent wall just because it’s a solid wall. Also, don’t default to an accent wall just because you don’t have the courage to paint all four walls your accent color, otherwise it will just look like you haven’t finished painting.

So, which wall is best for a painted accent wall?  Here are the three things I look for when deciding on an accent wall.  

1. A solid wall with no breaks or interruptions. A solid wall behind a sofa or a bed is always a good choice. It is a great place for a pop of bold color that adds visual interest to an otherwise lack luster room.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

2. A symmetrical wall. If you must use a wall with windows or other architectural features it will look best if the wall is symmetrical.  A wall with various sized windows or windows and a door is not the best choice.

symetrical accent wall

In the photo above, the accent wall is symmetrical with the two matching windows and sconces. The dark gray also relates to the sofa and draws you visually through the room while adding some interest to what looks to be a long narrow room.

3. The ceiling. Painted ceilings are very on trend right now and since the ceiling is the 5th wall it is a great place to add a pop of color.

blue painted ceiling

image via Apartment Theraphy

Similar to solid walls, a painted ceiling works best if there are clearly defined boundaries. In other words, if you live in open concept house, a bold turquoise ceiling may not work for the whole house. Bed rooms and bath rooms are my rooms of choice for a painted ceiling.

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

This morning I stopped by a client’s home who I had helped with choosing color a few weeks ago. She had recently moved to a beautiful new condo and her main floor was one very long and narrow single room (approx. 60′ x 20′) that was kitchen, living room, dining area.

We decided on an accent wall for the far back wall for two reasons. She wanted to tie in the orange accent from her rug, pillows, fabric and art work and we also wanted to visually shorten the room with the advancing orange wall. Here is the result.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Here is another view of just the wall

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

She told me it is her favorite thing about the condo and just loves walking in and seeing the pop of bright color.

As always, I love feed back…What do you think of accent walls?  Do you have an accent wall in your home?

Friday’s Photo

When looking for color inspiration we often look to nature or maybe exotic travel, or a beautiful fabric or artwork.  However, color inspiration can also come from the most unlikely of places…even trash!

While in Florida last week I spotted this fabulous color grouping of stacked plastic buckets, bins and water bottles and loved how beautiful the colors looked together.

Then while perusing Pinterest, there it was! those colorful plastic buckets turned into a room.

color inspiration

Have a great weekend everyone and don’t forget to keep your eyes open to color, it can show up in the most unlikely of places.

If you would like help decorating or choosing a color palette for your home give me a call.

Benjamin Moore Colors for 2014

Even though it is only early October, anticipation is slowly building as to what will be “THE” Color for 2014.  Pantone is the big Kahuna in this area because they predict what color will be trending not only in home interiors and fashion but in all industries that have a product with color. (I’m predicting it will be a rich deep blue, but who knows!)

The major paint companies also have their say and last week while vacationing in Key West I received an email from Benjamin Moore announcing they had chosen Breath of Fresh Air (806) as their color for 2014.

Benjamin Moore Color of the year 2014

Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air 806

I had to laugh because the hotel room we were staying in was painted in what appeared to be this exact color. It got me thinking about color and geographical location. This fresh blue is so perfect for the hot sunny South where you want to escape from the heat or if you own a light filled beach house like in the photo above.

In the North East where I live, I rarely have client’s wanting to paint their walls blue unless it’s a bedroom. We deal with cold (or cloudy) weather a good part of the year so the majority of my client’s are looking for warmer neutral colored walls (warm grays, taupe, cream or soft white). If they do want blue walls then it’s rarely a fresh blue like Breath of Fresh Air, but a more grayed down blue gray.

Benjamin Moore says that it has “detected a ‘lighter touch’, hints, whispers, tints of color. Shifts to pastels without looking too ‘candy’, too ‘Easter egg’ which is an exciting message for us, a color company. We’ve begun to see a shift away from gray to tints of blues, greens, lavenders and pinks. Pastels, softened and filtered, to lift the spirit but not shout too loud… colors that can make a room happy, flatter your possessions and your art. We call these the new neutrals.”

Here are all their picks for the “new neutrals” for 2014. (Click on image to enlarge)

Benjamin Moore colors for 2014

Benjamin Moore top colors for 2014

Colors for 2014

Benjamin Moore top colors for 2014 (page 2)

Distant Gray, Clay Beige, White Dove, Wickham Gray and Elemental are all staples in my color kit and frequently spec’ed; and Palladium Blue and Van Allen Green are both popular for bedroom colors. The corals and peaches…not so much. Maybe it is simply because of the region of the country I live in as I saw both coral and peach walls while vacationing in Florida.

Lavenders and purples are trending in both fashion and home interiors and just within the past six months I have had an increase in clients requesting gray with a purple undertone. It will be interesting going forward to see if these softer pastels take hold.

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. What do you think of Benjamin Moore’s softer more pastel neutrals? Are they popular where you live?

If you would like help choosing the perfect color for your home give me a call!

The final word on paint color and small rooms

Seems like everyone has a different opinion about the best paint color for a small room. Like I wrote about in this post here, there really is no magic color that will make your small room bigger. However, I was quite amused yesterday when I opened the brand new issue of House Beautiful Magazine. Look what I saw on page 89.

color article from HB

July/August House Beautiful magazine

Look at those two quotes; even the designers disagree! Well I will tell you that I have lived in homes with small rooms. I have painted them light and I have painted them dark. Based on my experience this is what I have learned. It really doesn’t matter what color you paint your small room; light or dark it is still going to be small. You just need to decide based on the usage of the room if it would function and feel best as a small light room or a small dark room. It’s really that simple. A small light room will bounce the light around and feel more airy, while a small dark room will feel more cozy and cocoon like.

I personally like to paint small rooms a lighter color. I have tendencies toward claustrophobia and a small dark room is just not comfortable for me. The one exception is a powder room. I LOVE a dark jewel box like powder room. After all, you are only in it for a few minutes so why not make it feel cozy and/or dramatic.

dramatic black bathroom

Pinterest

Whether you opt for light or dark walls the final word is contrast. The lower the contrast between the wall color, furniture, molding and the ceiling, the less chopped up the room will feel…and hence the bigger the room will feel.

So there you go. Keep the contrast low and your small light room or small dark room will FEEL as spacious as possible.

low contrast small room

niagaranovice.blogspot.com

Low contrast light room

small dark room with low contrast

Pinterest

Low contrast dark room.

 Hope that helps clear up some confusion. What’s your preference; light or dark small rooms?

Decorating From Scratch-Choosing a Color Palette

I am working with a new client who by choice, has decided to bring absolutely nothing with him to his new home other than his clothes. For some people this would be a dream come true…”Woo Hoo I won the lottery and I am buying everything new!”  For others this would be a horrible nightmare, for example the home owners who lost everything during hurricane Sandy. I thought it might be fun to share with you my decorating process and how I am creating a home for my client starting from scratch.

When decorating from scratch there are two equally important first steps; creating the floor plan and the choosing the color palette. In this case I was asked to begin work on my client’s home before the closing so I was not able to get in and measure for the floor plan for a few weeks so I started with a color palette.

Since I had no inspiration pieces such as art work, carpet or fabrics to pull color from I began by asking my client lots of color preference questions.  His favorite color is Orange and his favorite neutral color is Gray. To get a little more inspiration I spent some time walking around his new town.  Located on the water it is a town with a history rich in both nautical and factory work. I wanted to be sure to honor this in the color pallet I chose for his circa 1850′s home.

newburyport-ma

What colors did I see everywhere I looked? Orange and Gray! Two of my client’s favorite colors. The down town is lined with Orange brick buildings and Gray cobblestones.

Newburyport MA

I also saw lots of deep blues and Navy reflected in the water of the harbor. My palette was chosen. I decided to use a warm Gray as the anchoring neutral with Orange with accents of Navy.

Here is the color pallet I presented to my client which he loved.

We painted the walls of his living room, dining room and kitchen which are all open to one another Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. I also added a little pop of Orange to the back of his built in bookcases which flank both sides of a window seat. Here is a sneak peak of the built in with the orange on the back and Revere Pewter on the walls.

little pop of orange

 

Before settling on the final color pallet I chose all the fabrics for the window treatments, pillows, and carpet. It is kind of like a puzzle when starting with nothing. For example I found a Gray and Orange fabric I loved then tweaked the Orange to better relate with the fabric. Everything relates to each other and you need to think about not only the room as a whole but the flow of the colors throughout the house. In my next post I will show how I used my color pallet throughout the first floor so that everything flowed and related to one another.

Have you ever decorated from scratch? If so, what inspired you to choose your color palette?

If you would like help decorating from scratch or just getting a better color flow in your home, give me a call.

Trend Alert: The Return of Burgundy

Remember back in the 1990′s when the color Burgundy was so popular in interiors?  It seemed like half the houses on our street had Burgundy dining rooms and who could forget the oh so popular Burgundy, Forest Green and Gold plaid sofa. Well guess what…it’s BAAACK.

Burgundy was one of the hottest color trends on the runway this past Fall and is trending equally strong for Spring 2013. Today’s Burgundy has been given a bit of a make over (less Red/Purple than the Burgundy of the 1990′s) and Christened with a new name; Oxblood. If you like the color, but like me are haunted by the Burgundy of the 90′s here are a few ways to use the new burgundy and still keep your room fresh and current.

 Try pairing Burgundy walls with lots of lighter neutrals in the furnishings, carpet and accessories like in the room below.burgundy paired with neutral

You can also try the reverse and use Burgundy in the furnishings and accessories while keeping the walls neutral.

Burgundy-for-Fall-1

Another way to keep Burgundy from looking like 1990 is to pair it with something other than green or gold. The room below looks modern and fresh when Burgundy has been paired with blue.

burgundy and blue

burgundy and blue

Personally I am still on the fence about Burgundy. I never liked it in the 90′s and I’m still not sure I am ready to embrace it now. I must say though when I saw this image below from Elle Decor I thought …maybe just maybe…I could learn to love it.

oxblood interior elle decor

oxblood interior elle decor

What do you think of Burgundy? Are you ready to welcome it back into your home?

 

 

Waiting With Anticipation for Pantone’s Color of the Year Announcement

We are only days away from the big announcement from Pantone as to what the 2013 color of the year will be. As a Boston area color consultant this announcement is a really big deal. Kind of like sitting in the front row at fashion week and waiting for the new looks from your favorite designer if you are a fashonista.

Yesterday Sherwin Williams announced their 2013 color of the year and it is Aloe

Sherwin Willmans color of the year

SW 2013 color of the year

Benjamin Moore had announced their pick for 2013 a while back and they chose Lemon Sorbet.

Benjamin Moore color of the year 2013

Benjamin Moore color of the year 2013

Interesting that both paint companies chose pastels for 2013 especially since we are seeing so much rich saturated color in both fashion and interiors. Although both SW and Ben Moore color choices are interesting to note, they are both focused on selling paint…and what pretty colors to pick if you are looking for a wall color.

Pantone however is not a paint company. They are the big kahuna of color influence. Any industry that works with color from fashion to designers to graphic artists to pastry chefs all look to Pantone for influence and guidance on color trends…hence the excitement of the big announcement which will come any day now. Pantone chose Tangerine Tango as their pick for 2012 and the stores have been full of Orange products all year.

In anticipation of the big announcement the blogosphere has been filled with rumors and guesses as to what this years color will be. I have read many of the postings and there seems to be three colors that keep getting mentioned as possibilities. Here they are in order of popularity.

#1. Dark deep Blue: Pantone picked  Monaco Blue  as the top color for fashion for Spring 2013 and many believe that this will also be the pick for Color of the year. Rich dark blues have been all over the runway and was also really big at Fall High Point so this is a good guess.

Pantone Monaco Blue

Pantone Monaco Blue

mary MacDonald

Mary MacDonald

#2. Emerald Green: rich jewel toned greens have been very trending as of late so this is a also a good guess.

17-5641Emerald

Pantone Emerald Green

Miles Redd

Miles Redd  

#3. Purple: The color purple is Hot Hot Hot right now and many are guessing Purple will be it.  I will be surprised if this is the pick but hey…I didn’t see Tangerine Tango coming last year so who knows!

african violet

Katie Ridder

Katie Ridder

As soon as they make the big announcement I will let you all know…until then….what to make a guess of Pantone’s Color of 2013?

If you would like help decorating or  choosing color for your home give me a call.

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