One of the most interesting things I learned my freshman year in art school (apart from the painful fact that I was not nearly as happening as I thought) is that even if you're well-versed in color theory, your innate color sense is often a better guide for determining what hues go together—or at least a more interesting one—than adhering to rules. Sure, cool and dark colors, such as navy blue, recede, and complementary hues, such as shades of red and green, are natural pairings. But nothing beats gut reaction (What colors make you happy?). By developing your own palettes, your decor will be much more personal and inviting. Inspiration can be found in unlikely places. Today I noticed a beautiful bright-skinned orange balanced atop a roll of duct tape next to a roll of kraft paper on my kitchen table (please, don't ask). Voilà—an instant orange, gray, and tan palette! But how to use those colors decoratively and in what amounts? To figure that out, I matched the objects to Benjamin Moore paint swatches —Fairway Oaks #1075, a rich tan; Gunmetal #1602, a silver-gray; and Fruit Punch #140, a lively orange—and then played around with them to decide how much of each color I wanted to see. I decided to use the soothing tan on the walls, and opted for gray upholstery, and, to cheer things up, patterned pillows and a throw in vivid orange. For a bolder approach, use the brightest color as your main hit—an orange couch would look smashing against dramatic gray walls and a neutral tan rug.
Getting in touch with your inner color genius is not as challenging as it seems: three hues per palette is usually a good starting point, with one color serving as the main hit (think: wall color, flooring, or a large piece of furniture) and the other two playing supporting roles (pillows, fabrics, and accessories). Adding one more shade, try a lighter or darker version one of the colors in your palette, will provide interest without being jarring.
Following are four palettes, each made up of personal favorite colors that remind of things I like—it's no coincidence that four out of five are food or drink related!
It’s always a good idea to test out paint and fabric swatches in several locations in your rooms. Then consider what the hues will look like at various times of the day, as changes in natural light will alter their appearance. To learn more about basic color theory, visit: colorsystem.com and colormatters.com/entercolormatters.html.— Angela Riechers, Art Director
Who doesn't love the delicious dusty muted pastel shades of Necco wafers? But pastels can be so…babyish. Go back to the candy counter for some dark chocolate to bring an edge to pale yellow. Brighter lavender provides a complementary pop. Glidden Soft Yellow #824, Violet Iris #1582, and Bird's Nest #353 are a nice mix.
Robin's egg blue is about the best blue on the planet. You often see it paired with other subtle muted shades for a quiet effect, but I love it with the jolt of red geranium plus a driftwoody brown to calm things down just a hair. Try Valspar Glass Shop Green # 94-29B with Fire Island #95-8B and Market Street #93-39C.
|DRINKS TIME |
Think of a martini. What about sharp olive green and orange-red pimento together with the palest icy gray? Yum. Pratt & Lambert January Frost 1291 plus Citronette #1606 plus Mandarin #1869 will make every hour happy hour.