Gone are the days when homeowners refused to paint their walls in distinctive colors. While they may not choose to saturate their rooms in bright hues, there are plenty of accent colors that can give a lift to a room along with traditional neutrals.
Sonu Mathew, senior interior designer for Benjamin Moore, believes consumers have often taken their lead from popular culture when it comes to choosing a more colorful path in home design. Shows like "Sex and the City" featured bold hues in apartments as well as fashions and may have led many home decorators to do the same.
"It got people excited about color, and that's what color is meant to do," she told the Los Angeles Daily News.
Having Rich Choices
Colors like wine, a deep purple with undertones of dark brown, for instance, is a great accompaniment to wood floors and furnishings. The same can be said of deep reds, bright orange, periwinkle and violet blues. Yellow is a great complement to green, gold and camel.
However, HGTV designer Candace Olson added one caution for her viewers. She recommended choosing one category of hues - all jewel tones or light pastels - for a good flow from room to room. Otherwise, the overall decorating scheme can end up as what she called "a patchwork of opposite looks."
Don't overlook rooms that are small or have a utilitarian purpose. Home offices, bathrooms and laundry areas can be turned from drab functional places to those with style all their own. Once the new colors are introduced, homeowners may want to upgrade further. Adding a heated towel rack, for instance, provides the comfort of warm towels all ready for people as they step out of their showers and tubs.
Going with Gray
Once gray took over in recent years as a favorite neutral in wall color, a wide range of reds and pinks began to emerge as natural complements. According to Sarah Cole, marketing director at Farrow & Ball, pink has a warm tone that creates a casual, relaxed feeling in a room. It's especially effective in rooms that get lots of natural light.
At Sherwin-Williams, a new variety of reds are favored by many paint shoppers. As Jackie Jordan, the company's director of color marketing, told the Daily News, the new variations go well beyond the stop sign red that was popular on exterior doors about a decade ago and now have more subtle undertones.
For those who are stepping gingerly around using bold tones, the experts suggest trying them in unexpected places - the inside of a bookcase or on the rear wall of glass-door kitchen cabinets.
Soft furnishings such as slipcovers and window treatments are another way for homeowners to introduce a bright color if they don't want to commit to one on their walls.