Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Colorful Confession

I have a dirty secret. When I was in kindergarten I stole a box of crayons. It was the big box of 64s, much bigger than the my own box of 24. In our classroom, we had our own cubbies that had a little door, and one day, I opened the wrong one by mistake and spotted the box of treasures. I reached for it out of sheer curiosity and when I opened the box and saw the the colorful, shiny pointed tips, I was hooked. That was the moment when I first fell in love with color, a turning point in my life, but of course like all criminal acts it had to end badly. My parents were dismayed and angry and I was made to return it and confess to my crime the very next day. I had since gone on to become an honest citizen, and had never stolen anything since that day. However, I am still addicted to colorful things. Color is the first thing I notice when I have to pick something out, whether it's a chair, a purse, or a scarf. I have gone on countless and many a fruitless shopping trips, coming home empty-handed because the shirt I wanted was not available in the exact color I had in mind. I have also been stuck with far too many things like eye shadows and bangles that I never use, but I keep them because I just like looking at all the colors.
As a designer, one of my favorite challenges is trying to convince somebody to pick out a color other than white (which is not a color, by the way). Somebody will come to me and ask for help in revamping a room, getting new flooring, new drapes, new everything, but the walls have to stay white. I also tell the same people that many times, you can spend a fortune on furnishings and still the room feels cold and bare, and that's because of all the white on the walls. Unless a room is spectacularly blessed with the good bones of architectural details like wooden beams and high windows, a standard square room will benefit from even just a little color.
Pastels As Starter Colors
Pastels are big for 2010, and they are certainly not the ones from 80s past. Benjamin Moore's Envision Color 2010 has a collection called Simple Indulgences, and one of the standout colors is a pretty lilac hue called 'Violetta' (see picture below). It's as pretty as a bottle of expensive nail polish, and on a wall is serene and sophisticated. Somewhere in between the predictability of blue and the girlishness of pink, this color has all the outstanding qualities of both colors--cool and calm and very feminine. Yet, because it is neither, you can select it without compromising anything. 

Lavender is an ingenious color that has a little bit of blue and a little bit of pink with some gray added to it. It lends itself to various applications, brighter versions are what little girls who don't want pink choose for their rooms, and very grayed-down versions work well in powder rooms and even master bedrooms.

Watery greens have that endless look that make your eyes glaze over. It visually expands the room. A pastel green has all the lightness of a pastel color without all the fuss. A green is green and that is that. Guilford Green, also from Benjamin Moore's Envision 2010 would be great for a study or a bathroom. It has minty-fresh, clean look. Like Violetta, it is a pastel that gains sophistication from a shot of gray added to it.

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