While gray and white walls and finishes are still a homeowner favorite, some designers and color experts say they’re seeing more clients open to the possibility of vivid color.
“I am seeing a shift away from gray as the whole color scheme,” California-based color and design consultant Diane Hendrix of Reflective Color & Designsays. “I think people need an uplift these days — more energy than gray can provide. Gray continues to be a great neutral but is now taking a back seat and being used to support rather than dominate a room.”
“Not only do we want our spaces to be a reflection of ourselves, but we want them to be a place of relaxation or maybe motivation in certain instances,” Holzer says. “Studies have shown that color has the power to do this.”
Maxed-out color inspiration can come just as easily from a wildflower bouquet as it can from a favorite glass vase. Holzer says she looks to nature as well as well-loved pieces such as velvet armchairs, braided rugs or window treatment trim that a homeowner already has to drive her colorful work. If you’re still not finding a palette you love, Florida interior designer Tracy Stern suggests exploring a paint store and collecting swatches that speak to you.
Once you’ve landed on the colors you want to play up, figuring out where to show them off can be a challenge. Here are a few high-voltage ideas.
Small space, big wow factor. Incorporating a lot of color and pattern into a small space can be a good starter project for homeowners who like the look of bold color combinations but aren’t quite ready to commit a full-size living area to it. Stern recommends experimenting with a powder room by mixing colors, patterns and adventurous wallpaper. A designer can help find the right combination.
“I like the peep-show quality of surprise when you open a door to something dramatic,” she says.
There are no set rules when it comes to over-the-top color. Instead, designers suggest homeowners embrace the combination that brings the kind of energy they’re looking for into a space. That can mean taking into consideration things such as texture, scale and the room’s lighting during the time of day the homeowner expects to use the space most.