Most people believe they should paint the walls in a dark or windowless room a light color. It seems counter intuitive but just the opposite is true. If there is no natural light, such as in a basement, the best way to treat the walls is to paint them a rich dark color. Without natural light, walls that are painted a light color will simply look lifeless and dingy.
“A light color will never come to life in a dark room but a rich, deep color can make a dim, somber space feel warm and luminous – even though it receives no natural light.” Donald Kaufman
The secret to keep the room from looking like a cave is to use plenty of light or bright colors in the rest of the space. Light furniture, a light carpet, bright artwork and most important, lots and lots of artificial light. Table lamps, floor lamps, and ceiling lights are absolutely essential in a dark windowless room.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Here is another view of just the wall
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?
Hello again! I am finally back to my computer after almost two weeks of design and blogging related travel. I have so much design and color info to share with you from both Brimfield and Blogfest. I will start with Brimfield and the big color announcement made by Benjamin Moore.
Drum roll please….Benjamin Moore has released a whole new line of paint colors called the Williamsburg Collection.According to Benjamin Moore this new palette is “historic American colors derived from classic American design. Based on original pigments developed more than 250 years ago, Colonial Williamsburg’s curators have re-created this rich, authentic palette.”
The 144 new colors are absolutely beautiful and timeless. Another perk is that since all the colors have similar saturation the colors are meant to blend seamlessly with one another. In other words, you can mix and match these colors in your home and not worry about anything clashing. Of course you still need to get the undertones right so you still may want to hire me!
I am so excited about these new colors and they came at a perfect time as I get ready to repaint to the entire “core” of our house. I have my eye on several of the soft neutrals and plan to paint up sample boards soon. I’ll let you know what I pick.
I also just happen to have an additional Williamsburg fan deck to give away. If you would like to have it simply comment on this post and I will choose a winner next Monday.
What do you think of these new historic colors and do you think you would try them out?
I hope you all enjoyed Memorial Day weekend. My husband and I spent the long weekend in our camper in the White Mountains. Since the Camper is “off the grid” we have no internet, no TV, and other than my iphone, no technology distractions. We do have solar panels to run lights so I always bring up an armload of books and magazines and find it is the one place I can get caught up on my reading.
view from our camper: Linda Holt Photo
One article that caught my eye this past weekend was from Traditional Home. The paint company Farrow and Ball conducted a color survey on 2000 British residents in order to determine the correlation between front door colors and the personality of the occupants inside. A spokesman for Farrow & Ball, which commissioned the research to find the world’s best exterior door, said: “A front door is the first thing you see when you are approaching someone’s house and can tell you a lot about the home and its owner”.
According to Farrow and Ball’s survey here are the results:
A red door indicates a happy homeowner
A green door is a sign that a sophisticated and intelligent home owner resides inside
A blue door indicates a trustworthy homeowner while a pink door is favored by the daring risk takers
Socially gregarious types prefer purple doors
orange or terracotta was the color chosen by people who were happiest in their relationship and
The most highly successful and career driven types paint their front doors black.
White, green and brown were the door colors chosen by the occupants who were overall the most content with their lives (not sure how that differs from the happy red door homeowner).
There is no mention at all of yellow but maybe a yellow door is just not popular among the Brits where the study was done.
My front door is currently painted purple although it would really be a stretch to call me “socially gregarious”.
Linda Holt Photo
Since I am ready for a change I have been planning on repainting this Summer. Now I just have to decide if I want to be “sophisticated and intelligent”, “highly successful”, or become more of a “risk taker”.
Actually, I am debating between a glossy black door and also painting the side lamps and house numbers matching black
or else bright turquoise.
What’s your vote… black or turquoise?
What color is your front door? Do you think Farrow and Ball’s survey results matches your personality?
If you need help choosing a front door color or with any other color or decorating issues, give me a call.
The top was covered with dirty contact paper that was hiding at least two previous paint jobs: notice the yellow that was painted over the blue that was painted over the original wood.
contact paper over paint
Since we had heard there was no striping, sanding or prepping needed with the Annie Sloan paint we wanted to try it on really rough piece. You can read my blog here about all the steps we did with the paint, stencil and wax to transform it into this.
console table after
Well after looking at it for a few months in the studio we weren’t feeling the love anymore. In fact there were several of our earliest pieces that we got the urge to give a make over. Luckily, one of the best things about the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is that if you decide you want a change …just repaint it…again, no sanding, prepping or striping.
Seeing Nancy’s chest inspired us to give our console table a little British flair.
console table after and after
We used nail heads around the edge for a little added bling.
We also gave a makeover to this Antibes Green stenciled table.
green stenciled table before
It now has a new life painted Emperor’s Silk Red.
Here is a close up of the top which we lacquered with images of graffiti that I photographed while vacationing in Barcelona.
We gave this red stool with silk fabric a makeover to go into a little girl’s room.
and is now painted with Antoinette pink and gold leaf trim and recovered with a bright paisley print.
Even this orange and blue table got a little tweek
with the addition of a pompom accent trim.
Since we have recently acquired some large and unique pieces to paint, as well as a few commissioned pieces, we need to clear out and make some room. We are putting all our pieces for sale on Etsy. Click HERE to see what is for sale as well as some of Susan’s paintings. You can also see our painted furniture by following my board on Pinterest . We will be adding new pieces as we paint.
So what do you think of our makeovers? Have you used the Annie Sloan paint yet?
If you have a piece of furniture you would like transformed or if you need help choosing the perfect color, or decorating give me a call at 617-965-3342.
Last week while touring a client’s home she told me she painted her guest room Benjamin Moore Cape May Cobblestone because she was told it makes a room look bigger. When I got home I did a little research and the Benjamin Moore website does indeed say “This classic, elegant gray confers a sense of spaciousness that makes it ideal for small bedrooms and areas like hallways and mudrooms.”
Wow…wouldn’t it be great if there was a specific color that when painted on the walls would make the room magically look bigger? Personally, I’m not convinced that Cape May Cobblestone is the answer but if you want your room to look bigger here are three ways to create a more spacious look simply with paint.
1. Use light(er) colors over dark(er) colors. Creams, pastels, and light cool colors (blues and greens) generally make a room look and feel bigger over dark warm colors. Light, cool colors have the effect of reflecting the light around whereas warm and darker colors tend to absorb the light making the room feel cozy but smaller.
The dark walls in the living room below create a cozy but seemingly smaller space than if it had been painted in a light or pastel color.
2. Choose low contrast over high contrast. Consider painting your walls the same color as your furnishings; this will give the effect of the large furniture items virtually disappearing into the walls and will create an open feeling in the room.
Even dark colors when used in very low contrast can make a room appear larger. Notice how the trim is painted the same color as the walls keeping the contrast down making this seemingly very small room appear bigger than it actually is.
In comparison, high contrast colors act to break up a space, and can make the room look cluttered and smaller than it is.
Even though the room below is high contrast look how the wall color matches the biggest piece of furniture in the room, the sofa. Try if you will to imagine how much more chopped up and smaller the room would look if the sofa was yellow like the chair or orange like the ceiling.
3. Paint a horizontal stripe around the room. Just like with clothing, horizontal stripes tend to trick the eye into thinking something is wider. A horizontal stripe, painted on one wall or all four, will carry your eye around the room, making it appear wider.
I’m guessing this room below looks as big as possible since it incorporates all three tips: light colors, low contrast with horizontal stripes.
As a final note: be careful not to confuse making a room look and feel bigger with making a dark room look and feel brighter. Maria Killam wrote a great blog post about this and you can read it here.
So how about you? Do you have a small room that you used a paint color or technique to appear bigger?
If you need help with finding the perfect color, decorating, or home staging give me a call at 617-965-3342.
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
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
and this warmer blue bedroom below.
"warm" blue bedroom
#2. Use Warm accent colors to warm up a 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.
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.
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!