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?

BIG color news from Benjamin Moore and Brimfield

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.”

Benjamin Moore Williamsburg color deck

williamsburg collection

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?

 

 

What Your Front Door Color Says About You

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.

our view

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

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”.

Purple front door

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

black front door


 

or else bright turquoise.

turquoise-front-door

Pinterest

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.

 

Before and After…and After… With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Remember this table? This was the very the first piece of furniture my painting partner Susan Siefer of  Mad Patter Art Design and I painted using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

console table before

console table before

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.

console table before

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

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.

Then last week while visiting the Brimfield Antique show we saw this fabulous Union Jack dresser painted by Nancy Chace of Sea Rose Cottage.

Union Jack Dresser

Photo by Nancy Chace of Sea Rose Cottage

Seeing Nancy’s chest inspired us to give our console table a little British flair.

console table after, after

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

green stenciled table before

It now has a new life painted Emperor’s  Silk Red.

Table after

Table after

Here is a close up of the top which we lacquered with images of graffiti that I photographed while vacationing in Barcelona.

barcelona table detail

We gave this red stool with silk fabric a makeover to go into a little girl’s room.

stool before

stool before

and is now painted with Antoinette pink and gold leaf trim and recovered with a bright paisley print.

stool after

stool after

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.

 

Does This Color Make My Room Look Big?

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.

light colored living room

Pinterest

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.

dark walls

Pinterest

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.

Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley

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.

Pinterest

Pinterest

In comparison, high contrast colors act to break up a space, and can make the room look cluttered and smaller than it is.

Mary McDonald

Mary McDonald

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.

high contrast den

Pinterest

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.

horizontal stripe

Pinterest

I’m guessing this room below looks as big as possible since it incorporates all three tips: light colors, low contrast with horizontal stripes.

stripes

Pinterest

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.

 

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?

 

 

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