We all love color, but most of us don’t know how to use it. Many think that a room’s design begins with a paint color, but I never start that way. Thousands of paint colors are available, so it is easy to find those that work once you have a palette inspired by your rug or upholstered pieces. I always use more than one color in a room. Even with a monochromatic design, I use more than one shade and tone of a color. This is what creates a “color story.”
The color story
Taupe, dark brown & lime green
For the room in this photograph, I used taupe, dark brown and lime green to create a contemporary room with a warm, cozy feeling. I started by choosing an area rug and fabric for sofas. My client and I both loved the dark brown, velvet fabric and the taupe color of the wool and silk rug. I decided to make taupe the anchor of the room, so I painted the walls a more pigmented, deeper version to create a rich, warm environment. I wanted the wall color to be dramatic but not so deep as to make the room dark.
Keeping the room open and bright was my client’s top priority.
How wood comes into play
I carried the dark brown of the sofa fabric throughout the room by using a dark espresso-stained wood finish on most of the wood pieces. The color of the wood in a room always affects the color story, so bear this in mind when you make your selections.
To keep the room airy yet dramatic, I chose a tone-on-tone patterned linen fabric for the window treatments and used a taupe slightly lighter than the color of the walls. I kept the treatments simple and made floor-length panels that frame the windows and allow the maximum amount of light in.
The color and pattern of the panels create a serene backdrop for the room, allowing the furniture and accessories to do all of the talking.
Using accent colors
Most of us think that if we love a color, it has to be the predominant one in a color story. I have learned over the years that this is not always the case. Sometimes, the best, most dramatic look is achieved by using a color you love in the accessorizing. The color used for accents and accessories can completely change the feeling of a room. The color can stand out and even be remembered as the predominant color in the room if used correctly.
In this case, I chose one of my personal favorites, lime green, as the accent. I used large lime green vases, placed green foliage in the room, and added green cording on the sofas. To add extra interest and pull the room together, I painted the ceiling a lighter shade of lime green.
When I think of this room, lime green comes to mind. Even though the color was used only as an accent, it is the color that makes the room dynamic. The combination of taupe, dark brown and lime green creates a memorable, serene space.