Inspiration is everywhere!
Good morning all you lovely readers!
We have another wonderful Saturday at hand, so let’s visit! Recently, a reader asked how designers arrive at color schemes for rooms. That is a very loaded question because there are actually many, many ways to arrive upon a color palette. One method—that is oh so successful—is to use a photograph. Back when I was in school, a million years ago, this was referred to as “the concept photo.” That concept photo worked well then and it still works today.
Inspiration is Everywhere
Let’s suppose you are one of those forward-thinking people who keeps an entire file of wonderful photos of completed room interiors and other photos of inspiration (otherwise known as your dream file!). Perhaps this file includes several photos of incredible landscapes, city scenes, or even a hillside of fascinating cottage-type homes featuring a bazillion colors and shapes. You have hung on to these photos because you enjoy the composition, but you don’t really know why or what to do with it. Well, you can put that photo to use as the catalyst for your next room renovation color palette.
In fact, while teaching about color palettes in my classroom, I always brought in a monster-sized Italian cookbook. Why? Because it is loaded with amazing photos of tile roofs sitting atop stucco homes, open-air markets with fruits and vegetables of every imaginable color and shape, and exquisite Italian food beautifully crafted and displayed artfully on a tablescape. Obviously, you can find color palettes in the most unexpected places.
Make a Plan
Deciding on a color palette for a home is a very exasperating exercise to some. Nobody wants to make a mistake and be forced to live with colors that just don’t seem right and even, possibly, make you unhappy. This type of mistake, whether it be a new paint choice or new carpet selection, is costly and disappointing. But if you develop your color palette with a plan in mind, you will be able to sail into color decisions with ease.
Let’s consider the family room, where everyone hangs out during some portion of the day. The furniture has been enjoyed and lived a good life, the carpet or rugs are seeming a bit dated, and the room’s paint color just seems off! So a refresh and redo is at hand! If only one room is in the budget at this time, then the new room will still need to blend in with the rest of your home. (Otherwise, the fresh new room might make the rest of the house seem tired and you don’t want that!)
To get started on a room refresh, start with a real tour of your home. Take notes on the common colors that run so effortlessly through your home, and maybe even take photos and study them. You will be surprised how you have incorporated similar hues throughout your home, maybe without any foresight. Certainly these colors that you identify need to be in the new redone room’s color palette. Of course you can make the color a bit stronger or a bit more reserved, but definitely include it. After all, it must be a color you prefer if you unconsciously sprinkled it throughout your home. Make sense?
OK, once you identify at least one or two colors that need to be part of let's say a family room’s redo color palette, start looking for inspiration. Review art books, cookbooks and art you already own. Take a lovely walk and snap a picture of something that makes you stop and take notice—maybe the stone picnic areas at Garvin Park with the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky, trees and grass.
What I want you to do is look for texture and color in this exercise; don't look for a completed room to clone. For example, the stones in the picnic area feature six or seven detectable variations of gray, the foliage is several shades of green or completely gone, the classic Kansas sky goes from cerulean blue to soft gray. Imagine if, by chance, a cardinal lands on the stone table. Well, there it is in all of God’s glory—the family room color palette! Quietly placed right in front of you, please don’t miss it!
Putting Your Color Palette to Work
Now, how do you actually fit all these magical pieces together? Let me explain! This is one of those hallelujah moments in life when you get the opportunity to completely redecorate a room—wahoo!
First, take the photo and stand in the room. Begin to imagine the possibilities inspired by the colors and textures in the photo! Maybe you decide to focus on cleaner lines and fewer accessories. Take the variations of gray from the stone fireplace, find a wonderful tweed fabric and upholster a sectional to create a perfect spot for movie night or the sporting event of the moment. If blue is one of your favorite colors—as it is for about 40 percent of the population—paint the walls that wonderful dusty blue variation of the sky in your photo.
With inspiration from Garvin Park alone, the room is beginning to develop a personality. So far, you have the dusty blue along with multiple variations of gray, creating a sophisticated, relaxed and family-friendly room. You can incorporate the red of the cardinal into the entertainment cabinet—such a striking contrast off the wonderful dusty blue wall. The cardinal red is your blast of color, so use it at least three times in the room. Consider decorative red pillows for the sectional. (When selecting these pillows, remember to use the same character of fabric as your tweed sectional. I would suggest denim, flannel, wool, a heavy cotton plaid or a large scale botanical print on a canvas like fabric. This is not the place for a silk pillow! Think sturdy and make your fabrics all blend with the same personality!) Now, for that last dose of the color blast, maybe add an area rug of predominantly cardinal red.
What you have done is literally striped the room with your punchy color by placing it on the floor with the rug, in the middle of the room with pillows and above your head in the entertainment cabinet. Let’s say you observed a strong influence of gold throughout your home. Add some gold fabrics to your decorative pillows and use a rich warm gold fabric for window treatments.
As you had heard me preach a dozen times rooms are literally boxes! What you do with your box can make such an impact on how life is lived in that box. With a family room like this, inspired by a park, a touch of wallpaper can drop you into a forest, a room of clouds or even a stone picnic area. Black Crow Studios creates amazing hugely scaled wallpaper murals that engulf you into an astonishing world. Don’t be frightened by the word wallpaper—once it’s up, you will love it! Get ready to be amazed and excited when you visit www.blackcrowstudios.com.
If you are not feeling that gutsy, but still have a fearless attitude, consider this Lee Jofa wallpaper (SKU: 95/5032.CS/White) featuring a collection of exquisite bare winter trees with golden pears, see how the gold was introduced so naively? Just envision standing in your own forest of tall birch trees with the occasional golden pear, oh my gosh! This is a perfect paper to make the ceiling in the room soar, as the trees rise to the heavens! You will find that this room will soothe and charm you and your family—all inspired by a simple afternoon walk in Garvin Park! Now aren't you the smartest fancy pants ever gorgeous!
So, to wrap it up for today, I want you all to think outside the box when it’s time to select a new color palette for one of the boxes in your home.
Have a marvelous and merry week! I will be here next week to chat!
Happy Mother's Day to all of the glorious Moms!