Want a quick but dramatic change at home? Get out that bucket of paint! There's no easier option for completely changing the feel of any room. What a shame that so many of us never take full advantage of the multitude of paint possibilities. Consider, for a moment, how different each of these “period” rooms feels:
There's funky with shocking pink. The feeling is youthful and artsy with a serious dose of humor…
Then there's elegant with a cool grey. The effect is sophisticated and chic, cosmopolitan and rather serious…
And then there's fresh and airy with seafoam green. The feeling is beachy, homey and natural…
Note that the rooms themselves aren't terribly different from each other. They each have good light, high ceilings and some nice architectural details. But the emotional resonance of each space is completely different thanks to paint. If each space had been painted white, it would have been a waste of a creative opportunity.
For those willing to explore all the color options, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1) Light, bright, white, works best in rooms flooded in light. So many of us want to our homes stark white in the hopes that it will look modern, airy, welcoming. Something like this:
Well, it won't. Unless, that is, you live in Sweden or in a home blessed by high ceilings, lots of windows and loads of natural light. Stark white in small, dark rooms with little natural light is going to appear a rather sad, bare gray, which is certainly not the effect you're after. In older homes with smaller rooms and lower ceilings, walls seem to cry out for a little color.
2) Go for saturated color in basements without a lot of natural light. It sounds counter-intuitive but painting a basement a bright, light, white color can be a bit like wearing white pants in winter. (Sad and desperate, that is.) Instead go for saturated warmer colors which can make a space without much natural light feel cozy. Here's a basement bedroom niche painted a rich chocolate. The effect is welcoming and chic rather than drab or depressing.
3) Don't be afraid to go very dark in a bright room.
Who would have thought of painting a bedroom charcoal gray? Well here's one that looks fantastic:
And here's a picture of the same room painted white:
Isn't it amazing how much warmer and vibrant the room feels painted dark? The homeowner chose to keep the molding and trim the same dark gray, which makes the room feel modern and larger. Removing the curtains in favor of simple shades and adding punches of color in the rugs and pillows also manage to make the room feel airier than it did in white.
4) Consider a deeper neutral. Not all of us are ready for shocking pink on our walls. For those wanting to stay neutral but add a little pop, try a darker neutral than the usual white or beige. Here's a deep taupe which feels chic and fun.
So what's the moral of the story? It's time for the purists and modernists out there to move beyond the cold world of white. Big bright rooms can go almost any color — either light or dark. But smaller rooms with little natural light usually feel best when painted a color. The exact color will depend on numerous factors, including the type of light that enters the room and at what time of the day. So get out the color wheel and give it some thought. Now's a great time to color up those walls!