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Afraid of Color? Is it Chromophobia or a Fear of Expensive Mistakes?

Are you afraid of paint color? You might be. Or, maybe you just have a fear of making expensive interior decorating mistakes. Although paint is often touted as a cheap and easy interior design fix, in reality painting your home can be a big, expensive and messy project. With paint prices between $30 – $80 per gallon, plus the cost of application, color mistakes add up fast.

And now is where I usually say, “Which is why you need a color consultant.”  But not everybody can afford or find the right color consultant.

So, what should you do if  you are determined to create your own paint color plan? Here are some color choosing tips if you’re looking to freshen a room with color:

  • Take time collecting samples of colors you love. Look outside of paint store swatches to the ordinary things in your life that you enjoy. The color of your morning latte may be your best soothing warm brown color.
  • Assemble your samples of the colors you love with samples of the colors in your room that you have to live with, like that ugly tile or flooring you can’t afford to replace.
  • Now, using a paint store fan deck, look for a way to bridge the colors you love with the colors you are stuck with. A “bridge” color is my way to describe a color that is a version of what you love, that will work with what you have.
  • Give yourself time with your color choices before you ask for anyone else’s opinion.
  • Life is short, live with the colors you love.  (And that includes white!)

Mid Century Modern Bright Wall Colors

Choosing colors for a mid-century modern home is a balancing act between the historical and the contemporary color palette. Though slavishly adhering to a past aesthetic makes sense for a movie set, I prefer to choose a group of colors that give a nod to the past and live in the present.

Mid-century modern homes typically have an open floor plan that blends the communal rooms of the home: the kitchen, living room and dining area. This arrangement of communal rooms is typically called a great-room. Ceilings in the great-room are often vaulted and intersect at interesting angles with other parts of the architecture.

Bright colors define a Mid-Century Modern open floor plan accented with shapes of bright colors balanced with earthy golds.

These intersecting architectural spaces demand a cohesive color plan that looks great from every angle. Here is how I made the color choices for the home pictured. The home is mine, so the colors are some of my favorites mixed with some of my family member’s favorites. Built in the late 1980′s with a mid-century sensibility I sought to enhance the mid-century aspects through the color choices as I updated and resurfaced the home.

Cork Floor Stairwell with contemporary mid-century modern design and bright wall paint colors
Stairwell with contemporary mid-century modern design and bright wall paint colors

The primary color chosen for the home was the floor color, as the flooring is the same through most of the house. I chose Wicander floating cork flooring in a light golden hue that coordinated well with the existing natural wood baseboard, window and door trim. Cork is also a classic mid-century material that is considered modern, cool and environmentally sustainable, so it was key to setting the conceptual tone of the home.

The interior doors are natural wood (another type of “gold” color). With that earthy gold “anchoring” the home, I chose a gold paint color that I would use in various parts of the house, as a “connecting” color, thereby enhancing the visual flow of movement throughout the home. With that strong foundation of warm golds repeating throughout the home, the remainder of my color choices where predominately the warm colors of red and purple with a subordinate palette of cool green and blue.

The resulting palette of strong bright colors anchored with earthy golds created a happy, contemporary feel to the home.

Choosing Colors Can be Like Chasing a Rainbow

Color communicates. Any color expert, designer or artist will agree with that statement. But ask those creative types what exactly a color is communicating and the answers you get may have surprisingly little in common. Here's why: Color is a language that continually evolves with the cultures that contribute the shades and tones of meaning each of us sees. And, each individual brings their personal biases and perceptions to the mix, further complicating things. Consequently, the meaning of a color is a moving target.

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Modern Metallics Meld Traditional Surfaces with Contemporary Design

Mixing metallics into your home design can give a small space a stylish vibe. Put the metallic accents on existing cabinetry and your small space can remain clear and uncluttered - both practically and visually. And when those metallics come in a coppery pink tone, the result is gorgeous! Metallic finishes can play up modern architecture like this master bath at the same time they link traditional materials like marble with the contemporary shapes of the home design.
The perfect wall paint color brings together the variety of surfaces with a unified color. With that in mind, choosing the color that works with every color in the bathroom is very important. Helping my clients choose the best color for the room meant first determining a few basic concepts.

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When the Color Yellow isn’t Sunny

One of the unexpected changes that can happen to the aging eye includes the color yellow. For some people the lens of the eye becomes increasingly dense and more yellow with age. With that change, contrast sensitivity declines and dark colors can be difficult to distinguish from each other.
The yellowing effect may not be affecting you personally, but if you are a retailer or manufacturer selling products, how your products are being perceived by the older customer with this condition affects your sales.

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Choosing Room Colors

Creating a paint color scheme blending good color design with the architecture of your home is like putting together a 3-D puzzle. One part of that puzzle changes and everything changes. And change can be complicated. If you've ever felt overwhelmed by color, you're not alone. Putting together entire interior design color schemes can be a lot to think about. But, mixing colors around your home gets a little simpler if you think about those color combinations as a master color plan.

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Nature’s Lovers are Colors – Purple and Green Together

Landscape artists often refer to the color combination of violet/purple and green as "Nature's Lovers". Not only do purple and green look good together on an artist's canvas, they can look amazing together in your home. From soft gray violet to deep amethyst purples, painting your walls your favorite shade of purple will go with more colors than you might think.

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Seeing Color Through the Eyes of Neuroscience

Visualize "fire engine red" and the color red rushes to mind with or without a vision of the wheels. Seeing color is such a natural condition that we often don't question why we see colors and we presume that everybody sees the same colors. Though most of us do see the same colors, some people can't.

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