Part I: The Power of Paint!
Working with color is just about the easiest way to make dramatic and welcome changes in your home. Use your imagination and a few helpful hints from how decorators are using paint today and you can change the look of your home without hammer and nails or a crew of carpenters and architects.
- Dark colors: The first thing to do is decide to be brave to get the effect you want in a room–like this bold wall in the dining room of the Primrose Hill collection.
The deep tone of the walls perfectly sets off the trellis white finish of the chairs and the china cabinet. Artwork is also shown off to great advantage against such hues. Here are some other things to consider when selecting to use jewel tones:
- Don’t be reluctant to use dark color in small spaces. Bathrooms and foyers, for example, can benefit from not only the depth of a dark paint, but also from a lacquer-like finish. Besides being décor-savvy, the walls and even the woodwork will be much more durable. The spaces come alive with luster as well as a brave new look.
- Dark doesn’t mean gloomy. And no amount of sparkling white or happy yellow will turn a normally dark area that doesn’t get natural light into one that looks like it does. You can make the space have its own dimension by choosing an appropriate deep shade.
- A ceiling that’s not white? Is it a decorating sin? Not if you want to define a space that otherwise might be overlooked.
- For a cozy space, nothing is as appropriate as a dark tone. A den, library, or home office all take on character with dark paint colors.
- Bright colors: To give a room good cheer and energy, consider a bright color such as the intense blue walls in this Harbour Pointe dining room.
Today’s decorators are using such color liberally throughout the entire house for results that make ordinary rooms special. Here are several ideas to take into consideration when using bright colors for a new look for your home:
- Use the same color for woodwork, doorframes, and walls. The uniform look will make your space look clean and fresh. Sometimes painted details can make a room, and depending on the look you desire, one bright color treatment takes attention away from old-fashioned fussy details.
- Old houses just might welcome a modern touch with bold colors–and the combination can be a striking one. Traditional furnishings against such backgrounds will give your home a fresh new look.
- Why not have complimentary colors flow from room to room? It’s been a rule for a long time to choose a color range and repeat it in different shades. But now, go for a new approach and have bright, distinctive colors play with each other as your eye moves from open space to open space. Within each space, pick up one of the colors of an adjoining room–this way the colors will get along beautifully.
- Neutrals and Off-Whites: And just when we thought these decorating standards have gone old hat, there are exciting new ways to take advantage of their subtle power. Giving a room a soft touch is illustrated in this living room furniture area from Hooker Furniture’s Sienna Canyon.
Here, the existing tones in the furnishings dictate the paint and allow a very pleasing, unified look. When using neutrals and off-whites, take into consideration these ways to work with natural light:
- For north-facing rooms, avoid off whites with a gray base as these will make a room seem darker. Instead, choose yellow-based, creamy neutrals.
- The joy of south-facing rooms is that you have a wide choice of hues. Whites with touches of blue give you a sense of a seaside home while red-based white paints are warmer and more formal. Using a pure white for ceiling and woodwork will give you a crisp linen look.
- When facing east, you might want to choose a white that has a touch of blue to give the feeling of morning sunlight.
- White walls will enhance west-facing rooms giving you a light, airy feeling. Natural and artificial light are both nicely reflected in this point of the compass. A neutral with gray undertones tends to change during the day giving a warmer feeling in the room as the day moves along toward night.
- Neutrals and off whites are real challenges, but can also give very satisfying results. Painting different aspects of a room with three or four shades can be stunning and actually create optical illusions. Don’t hesitate to ask for help at the design center where you buy your paint.
To sum: Paint is one way to make dramatic changes in your home without taking down walls or making other altering changes. And, it can be lots of fun in the process.