So many of my clients are afraid of color. My answer to those types is always, “Its paint! If you don’t like it, we’ll paint over it.” Color brings out the emotion and personality in a room. 

Usually when decorating a room there is a “feeling” that we hope all who enter it will experience. Whether it is excitement in a game room, elegance in a formal living room or maybe a sense of family in a dining room, there is a message we wish to convey to our guests. 

Color is the most effective and least expensive way to provoke emotion when decorating. Everything else is like jewelry on a woman. Usually the decorating process starts with an “inspiration” piece or focal point. That may be fabric, a picture, etc. For example, in one of my guest baths; it was a porcelain tissue dispenser. From that one small item, I created a whole “theme”. Once you find your inspiration you start collecting items to compliment it. 

“Bold” colors always bring a lot of energy to a room, so choose wisely! In “Modern” design bold colors tend to be “Bright” such as red or yellow. Many times in a modern theme, colors are accents. White walls are the back drop so the art, accessories or sometimes the unique furniture pieces are the “Focal Point” in the room. Sometimes it is the opposite, walls are painted bright colors and the furniture is “Neutral” and art has little movement. It is up to you to decide how much color and energy you want the room to give off. 

Sometimes people get excited over the “Color Trend of the Year”. Think about it “Long Term”. That “Trendy” color could be your guest for years! We generally redecorate every 7 – 10 years. 

This year’s color is a good example. According to Pantone, a major color authority who forecasts to many different industries such as home design, fashion and beauty has named “Radiant Orchid” as 2014’s “Color of the Year”. Although the color itself is beautiful, it may over stay its welcome long before you are in the redecorating mode 

I still come across mauve, peach and teal! That is a dead give a way that you haven’t redecorated in a good 20 years. Remember, “Trends” change each year. A few accents of those colors will go a long way. Accessories like pillows, drapes or even an accent wall will most likely be enough. When you are tired of them it will be less expensive for you to update. So, unless you are one of the very wealthy 2%, stay away from purchasing trendy colored upholstered pieces. In a few years it will be hard to unload them even at a yard sale! 

Maybe the best way for me to help you understand the importance in color choice is a short lesson. Red, blue and yellow are the “Pure” primary colors from which all other colors are created. 

  • Red is the most intense of the colors and often associated with action, adventure and passion. 
  • Yellow brings a feeling of cheerfulness, playfulness, positivity and warmth. 
  • Blue is generally considered a calming color. It is also the color of Royalty. It gives a feeling of authority, dignity, power and success. It is also a trustworthy color, hence the term “True Blue”. Gentlemen, you can’t go wrong when you are wearing a navy blue suit! Accessorize it with a red tie and you are a trustworthy man of action……the perfect Realtor!
  • Green is nature at its best! It is crisp, fresh, healthy and tranquil. That is why eco-friendly companies use it in their logos. 
  • Pink is assumed to be “Girlie” but can also be associated with love. A few pops of pink can bring romance to a bedroom. 
  • Orange is sometimes used in dining rooms and kitchens because it is thought to help with digestion. It is also the color of warmth and stability. 
  • Purple is creative, sexy and fertile. It also represents Royalty. 
  • Brown is by itself bland. Practicality, stability and security are associated with brown. When paired with livelier colors such as blue or green it can make an impressive statement. 
  • Gray is moody, cool and practical but is a great “Neutral” and works well with most other colors. 
  • Black although not considered a color by many, evokes authority, distinction, and formality and yes, mystery. 
  • White, even though also considered to be a non-color without a doubt exudes a feeling of cleanliness, purity (that is why “Traditional” bridal gowns are white), innocence, peace, simplicity and truthfulness. 

Now, knowing the meaning behind the colors, it should be easier to make a decision when decorating a room. 

When going for a specific “Style” of décor, there is a “Color Palette” associated with each. 

Tuscan which has been popular for many years throughout the country is a “Formal” style of decorating. Tuscan, colors tend to be earthy, rich and give a “Natural” feel. The reds used can range from rust to burgundy. Dark yellow and golds warm the sometimes cool tones of the darker reds.

Green is usually in the sage family to bring in the beauty of the Tuscan region. Beige to brown help ground the “Theme” like the rich Tuscan soils. 

Southwest gets a bad rap as being passé and overdone. But, let’s face it, it is where we live. It is still a popular design. Southwest décor has been reinvented many times throughout the years to keep it “In Style”. Most people think Southwest means they have to fill their homes with mauve and teal with garish accessories. The colors and styles today are much more sophisticated. Blue is still the popular color used in Southwest styling. Today instead of teal the color ranges from a deep vivid blue representing our dramatic skies, to turquoise, one of the world’s most loved gem stones. Pair it with a bold deep yellow like our sun and it makes a beautiful statement much like our summer days. 

Terra-cotta and shades of orange represent our rich soil. Who doesn’t love our Red Rock Canyon? Deep rich greens imitate cactus and the desert after a rainy winter. Pops of purple and pink show how colorful our desert truly is. So, if you secretly love Southwest design……be proud and go for it! 

Asian décor has many variations. They range from “Traditional” which is very ornate to “Minimalist”. Red is a dominate color; it represents good luck in the Asian culture. Blue is believed to bring peace and tranquility to the house. Lacquered furniture, mostly black is a staple in Asian design. Gold is also “Traditional” in Asian. Many other colors can be introduced into the “Theme” through tapestries, statues and other accessories. With the “Minimalist” design, sleek furnishings and natural woods such as bamboo are typical. 

I hope this can help with questions you or your clients may have about colors. Remember, if you have a “Bland” room and are afraid of color, paint is the easiest solution. So many times I am told that the decorating process is “Frightening”. It really shouldn’t be. As long as you can remember that paint can be easily recovered and most furnishings can be returned if they don’t work once in a room. Don’t sweat it, enjoy it! 

Color is not your enemy!