"Colors have a language and stir feelings on their own," says Brooks, who offers a free Paint Colors for Your Home e-book full of DIY tips. "For example, pale blues and greens mixed with tans often translate into a 'beach-y,' serene feeling.
Pale pinks and corals give off a romantic or feminine quality, yet some still bold enough to cause some people to think twice about incorporating them into their homes. To help her clients decide what color to paint a particular room, Brooks asks them to consider questions like: What color is most prominent in your wardrobe?; What color calms you?; What color excites you?; and What color are your favorite flowers?
"At the paint store, I pull any swatch I give a second look," she says. "Then I narrow it down by my starting piece, muse or other inspiration that I have gathered. After I narrow them down to four or five hues, I then narrow down my selections tonally as well."
When designing with color, Dee Dee Taylor Eustace — founder of design firm Taylor Hannah Architect and star of HGTV's The Real Designing Woman, prefers classic color schemes. "I like to use black and white, but also love using creamy whites, blues and grays with accents of Hermes orange," says Eustace. "These colors give a timeless feel to each room, and that's something I like to incorporate into my designs."
The Toronto-based designer doesn't change her color-combo faves with the seasons, but, she says, "If anything, I change the shades." For fall and winter, she opts for darker blues and grays, and she prefers creamy colors for spring and summer.
Arkansas-based interior designer Tobi Fairley of Tobi Fairley & Associates is known for her bold style. But if you are hesitant to use color, she advises you to "start with a neutral base, keeping your largest and most expensive pieces in your favorite neutral tones." She adds: "This gives you longevity for these investment pieces, and brighter colors can be introduced in smaller doses."
Fairley shows how to easily incorporate and layer color in your home step-by-step in a YouTube video, where she transforms her chic living room "from bland white to a symphony of blues and greens" as an example.
Color tip: Start with a neutral backdrop
"With a neutral backdrop, it is easy to add, use and change up vibrant colors in your home," says Brooks, who often accents a neutral room with bold purple, red and orange accessories. "I love switching the drapes, pillows and throws for seasonal variety."
A few of her no-fail neutral colors by Benjamin Moore include Grand Hills Gold, Gray Owl, Silken Pine and Nantucket Fog. "These are my versions of neutrals that I use in 90 percent of the spaces I design," she says.
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