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Updating your Décor
Use Colors Appropriately to Update your Décor
Color is one of the things that make life meaningful, you can find a reflection of each one of your moods, preferences and feeling in colors: they help you reflect your personality. But you do not have to be a top-notch interior decorator to make colors work for your home. Armed with a few tips, you yourself can make a colorful difference to how your home looks, feels and appeals to you.
Neutral Shades vs. Rich Hues
Neutral palettes are of course the safest. A rustic, restful simplicity may be nice for a time: a Tuscan décor, for instance, but it can also get boring after a while. With the turn of the century, more and more people prefer their homes to be rejuvenating and fresh. Colors are in demand once again, and you should perhaps seriously consider getting some into your personal space this spring. Blue, red, purple, green, orange and yellow are the new favorites: when used with consideration and insight, they can give your home an entirely new image.
You need not redo all your white or cream painted walls in order to reach for color. You could bring in colors by painting a single wall in a room, and leaving the rest as they are, so updating your décor need not be either expensive or time-consuming. Neutral colored walls provide the right background for one wall in rich color, and allow for a room to be restful despite a touch of vigor. You could consider a few of the following color suggestions and possibilities for your home:
A single purple wall over your bedstead in a white bedroom with purple-accented furnishings and drapes can introduce a new note of passion and romance into your life. Avoid using purple in the study or kitchen however, because this color may lose some of its charm in these areas and not convey the focused atmosphere of a study or the welcoming warmth of a kitchen.
A hallway or staircase which gets enough natural light could be your place for a rich Mediterranean blue. Cobalt or cerulean blues are good too. Avoid the darker shades like navy and prussian which can make the space look dingy. Not only does blue look summery and bright with your cream or white walls, it is a great place to hang up family photographs with cream, black or silver frames. Hang up tribal masks, prints, pictures or paintings with a touch of turquoise, or add sheer turquoise curtains on the windows at the top of the stairs for an airy, beach-side look. You could also add accents of dull gold in terms of artifacts, or Italian pottery in Mediterranean colors. Blue does not do very well in living rooms, bedrooms or kitchens, it is best used in passages or hallways.
Red walls look awesome with neutral furnishings. A cherry red wall in your living room would do very well to give a vibrant accent to the other pale cream or white walls. Use crimson or maroon reds only if you are very sure that is what you want. You can either go the cream lacy Victorian way with your sofas and cushions in the living room; add greenery for contrast and a touch of nature by introducing potted plants. Or, go sporty with solid blacks, creams and browns, even hot pinks. This would go very well with ultramodern Italian steel furniture. A few shiny silver knick-knacks or picture frames, or maybe Murano glass vases would add that extra dash of exotic color and translucence. The idea is not to have too much of red, use it only to underline your vibrant, postmodern personality. An orange and white scheme would have much the same effect, if you prefer a cheery and young feel instead of edgy sophistication.
Yellow can be a great idea for a study, a guest room or a kitchen. Three walls painted a very pale creamy yellow, and the remaining one a honeyed, buttercup shade could brighten up a room which does not receive much natural light. Pale yellow and green vines or floral motifs on a wall paper can also be used to denote a sort of Tuscan air while still retaining an element of energy. For yellow walls it is safer to stick with white, pale yellow or cream furnishings, and maybe add touches of dull gold on paint frames and artifacts. Plants and flowers potted in stoneware would do well in this room as will wrought iron furniture. A white and bronze or copper Tuscan lamp can add to the serene yet lively feel of a sedate yellow room.
Dark, moss, or pale green walls call for furnishings in white or cream. Also make sure you leave one or more walls in white or cream. Emerald greens are best avoided. Use browns, beiges, tans, blacks and traces of pale yellows and yellow-greens for furnishings to make the most out of a green living room. Dry decorations, or paintings with beige accents, and rust or black frames would work well. You can go for shiny rust-colored cushions, and possibly bring in a gray stone trickling water-fountain to complete a rich, soothing, oriental look.
Do's and Don'ts for Using Color
While using colors, it is easier if you do different rooms in different colors. However, do not put more than one vibrant color in the same room, or you might end up making your home look like a fast food-restaurant! If you have a small home, you might want to be very careful about introducing too many colors in your rooms. Choose one room or two in an apartment to accent with colors so that they stand out and enliven the house. Too many walls in different colors can look jarring.
The colors in the living room and the dining area would also depend to an extent on who and how much you entertain, bedrooms should have colors soothing to your senses, and the kitchen should have warm colors, and not blue and green. Keep in mind that the shade and tone of a color is a very important factor in your decision, and give all fluorescent shades a wide berth. Complete the color update of one room to see how you like it before you venture into the other rooms. Remember, not all your rooms may need an update.
The idea is to provide colorful highlights while maintaining the inherent harmony of the home, not to overwhelm the eyes with a jamboree of colors. Moderation is key. It is perfectly acceptable to leave a few rooms of your house with their walls in cream, white or pastels. They can enhance the appeal of the selectively painted bright walls by playing up the contrast.
In these untouched pastel rooms, carry out the bright color themes in terms of furnishings, accessories or paintings, because changing the color of the wall paint may not be the only way to bring in the accent of new colors into your home. For instance, you can add accents of green in sofas, cushions, furniture, paintings and potted plants in a room with cream walls, and make the room look predominantly green. A children's room does not always need extra-colorful walls, it can have colorful stick-ons and drapes on pale walls and still look vibrant and cheerful.
Choose your lighting with care, warm yellow lights and white lights may change the look and color of a room, and that should always be kept in mind while choosing paint colors for your walls. For instance, it would be best to provide warm yellow lights in rooms with green or yellow, as white lights may make them look harsh or sickly. Include the color and type of flooring you already have into your equation, a green wall would be great with a wooden finish or white marble floor, but with a red mosaic floor it can look ghastly.
The suggestions given here are just that: suggestions. They provide a springboard for ideas on what you can do with colors to your home. Depending on where you live, the way your home is built, what you do and your likes and dislikes, you can tailor the use of colors the way you want. You will never know what would look good till you experiment, and the best way to do it is color a big cardboard and put it up against the wall under consideration to see how you like it. So reach out for color today: depending on your budget, ambitions and preferences, not only can you update the décor of your home like a professional, you can also have heaps of fun doing it!
By Damyanti Ghosh