Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Accent Wall

 I have had many clients recently who have complained that their rooms look boring, especially in photos.  I usually suggest to them that we first change the paint color to something bolder.  Then we can go from there.  I can't tell you how many people are afraid of color.  Beige, tan, grey and taupe seem to be every body's safety zones.  I can understand this too, but a room will never really look dramatic without the use of color.

   Color is a tricky thing.  It is actually the absorption of light within a given space.  This basically means the sage green paint you purchased in the paint store will look totally different in your home than it did in the store.  I equate picking a paint color with trying on clothes.  You can pick a beautiful outfit, but when you put on and it doesn't fit, you will hate it.  The same applies to paint color. You have to bring large color samples into your home and leave then up for several days.  This will allow you to see if the color really does something for your space.

  I often get people to commit to a color they love, but when push come to shove they revert back to safety beige.  That is when I call in the compromise I am using more and more these days, THE ACCENT WALL. You color chickens have your out now with the accent wall.  In a sea of beige or grey you can use an accent wall to make a statement without totally letting go of your inhibitions.  The accent wall is the perfect solution to the color challenged.

 There are several rules, though, when it come to the accent wall.  First, the accent wall needs to be the darkest or brightest wall in the space. Secondly, an accent wall should only be used in one room of a house.   An accent wall, in more than one room, will ruin the effect you want.  Thirdly, pick a focal wall to make the accent color.  A fireplace wall or one with special height or architecture is your best bet for this paint treatment. I must admit I too was a little afraid of a change in color.  My living room is a pretty pale yellow shade and every time a photographed the room it looked bland.  I have always wanted to make that large room with 10 foot ceilings pop, but I did not want to make the room too dark.  Today I took the plunge and created a beautiful mossy green color on my fireplace wall.  IT LOOKS FANTASTIC.  I can't believe it took almost 7 years to be color brave. Well, I guess the same color rules apply to me as everyone I work with.   I tell all my clients be brave and  just do it.  After all if you don't like it in the end it's only a little paint.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life after the Christmas Tree

    It is starting to be the time of year where the festive holiday decorations need to come down.  It always amazes me that a room that looked great before the holidays, some how in January, post Christmas, now looks drab.   I hear of people who keep there tree up till the first week in February. THIS IS NOT GOOD.  I say everything has a season.  Embrace the new year with some new things for the winter season.

    First, after the tree comes down and the containers of ornaments return to their primary residence, the attic, don't put everything back in the same place.  January is a time of new beginnings.  Move your furniture around.  This allows you to get a new "feel" without spending a dollar.  Also with the cold temps, add new heavy throws to your couches, chairs and beds.  It will not only keep you warmer.  It will allow you to add a splash of color during the dull drums on winter.

  Secondly, winter can have incredible beauty.  Don't fight it, embrace the beauty of winter.  Clear glass vessels or over sized wire mesh containers can be filled with scented pine cones.  This will add color and wonderful winter fragrance.  Starting indoor pots of herbs and/or ornamental grasses can also give us hope of the spring to come.  Use winter to clear the clutter and keep things simple.   White or cream large pillar candles in over sized  glass containers look great.  Elements of silver or mercury glass resemble ice and look great on a winter table scape.

  Thirdly, and probably most important.  JANUARY AND FEBRUARY ARE GREAT MONTHS TO PAINT.  Most contractors are very slow in the winter months and are often willing to work for less money.  Once the spring comes you may wait weeks for your painter or wall paperer to call you back. Also , when it comes to painting, you don't have to go crazy and disrupt your whole house.  Paint an accent wall, like your headboard wall in the bedroom or the fireplace wall in your family room.  Little changes are not expensive but can really change a room.

  Finally, Plan things.  It is very easy to become house bound in the winter months.  Have projects to keep you going.  This makes winter much more palatable.  Do a big pot of chili with all the toppings and invite a group of your friends over.  Even a casual dinner party forces you to finish projects and make your house look and smell great. Remember it's all what you put into it.  Positive energy is contagious. Entertain and fix up your home in the winter months and before you know it. The Spring bulbs will be popping out of the ground.