My very inquisitive, artistic 10-year-old daughter asked me one lazy Saturday afternoon, "Mom, what's your favorite color?" Simple enough question I supposed but I could not answer it simply. I replied that individual colors don't get me excited, rather their combinations. A color by itself can be attractive and even evocative of memories and emotions, but true appreciation for it requires contrast and complements.
Here in the Midwest we are often accused of being bland, unexciting and in general afraid to commit to color in our home furnishings and other fashion related areas of our lives. Ironic since half our year is spent in a monochromatic world that resembles the inside of a snow globe. Why not make our interiors sing with the colors from nature that we miss so dearly? Because we are afraid that what we enjoy today may not be what we enjoy tomorrow. So in an effort to avoid making costly changes that we may possibly find distasteful in the near or distant future, we agree to settle for average or ordinary. But chromophobics need not despair; infusing color in your spaces doesn't have to be a sweaty panic inducing commitment. There are options! Let's first assume that injecting color is the only way to achieve that design nirvana we strive for in the places we live and love. A sea of beige in your master bathroom is not going to make anyone do a back flip. But when you combine that basic beige with contrasting neutrals such as charcoal, black or chocolate brown, it now becomes the basis for a dynamic color pallet. To this foundation you can now add a primary accent color - try something vibrant and dynamic like taxicab yellow, poppy red or a gorgeous shade of turquoise. Layer it again if you are feeling adventurous! Secondary accent colors add richness, depth and that unexpected twist that leaves others saying "those colors look amazing together! I never would have thought of that combination!" Use your neutral pallet as your canvas and add color and accessories in layers until you are happy. Remember, if you have loved turquoise your whole life, most likely you will love turquoise the rest of your life. Don't be afraid to use your favorite colors in more permanent places, and save the trendy tones for the removable items.
Experiment with your newfound color chops, mix and match wall color swatches or download a color or design app that allows you to play before diving in head first. Lastly don't forget that texture and balanced contrast are colors' amazing sidekicks. They are a must in monochromatic spaces that crave a visual hierarchy.