Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More about color

In the early 90’s the whole ‘Southwest’ decor style came at us. Peach and blue; geometric borders, ceramic coyotes, zipper paintings. I remember one house in Alberta done entirely in this color scheme that was so cold feeling in the winter it was very uncomfortable. Then some smarty pants designer re-did the color scheme to deep red, blue and green and it worked. The vibrant colors complimented our climate and matched our state of mind .

About this time the economy was getting busy and our interiors became softer, colors more muted, lots of beige and taupe. Lots of monochromatic schemes. Not much color anywhere as we all cocooned in our great rooms and stainless kitchens. We were very busy outside our homes and wanted the interiors to be soothing; places of refuge from the hectic day to day life.

Take a look at the shelter magazines on the stands right now. COLOR is what it’s all about. As the economy struggles, our homes become the go to place for inspiration and ‘cheering up’. Lots of purple -the color of power and luxury. Orange is around again - the color of health and mental activity. Vibrant blues are the colors of creativity and intelligence.

What makes this decorating cycle a bit different is the way the bright colors are appearing. The walls of our rooms are staying soft; muted versions of the bright hits of color that appear in the rooms. Red leather sofa -no; red cushions, yes. Lamp shades, area rugs, vases, art; maybe some painted accents but mostly the vibrant colors are removable.

Color will affect your state of mind. If you want your space to be more invigorating, for example, choose a color that will help you achieve this, like orange, and add it to your existing rooms. There are many shades and tints of each color so you should be able to find one that works with your existing scheme. Do some reading on the psychology of color. Do a few pieces at a time. You don’t need to spend a lot of money but you do need to have some fun.

As a side note, while researching for this I read several times that tests have shown that babies cry more in rooms with yellow walls....

Please visit my website Designsewlutions.ca for more information and for re-prints of all my Design Dilemma columns.

Friday, May 7, 2010

How to choose an area rug.

I’ve decided I need a new area rug for my living room. There are an infinite number of prints and styles and colors and prices available and it can be overwhelming. I know I’m working backwards; I should be decorating the room based on the rug but this will just be more of a challenge. I made a list to help me stay directed:

I need a rug with the colors that exist in the living room.

The space it will occupy is a rectangle, so rectangular or oval are the shapes I will look at. I need a rug 10’ x 12’; the edges need to be secure under furniture.

I have a cat so no wovens. I don’t want a super expensive rug; this rules out most wools or handmades.

My colors are rust, cream and black so pastel colors are out. The only print in the room is my favorite chair which is slipcovered in a retro tapestry of elongated ovals so I’ll look for a soft design that hints at these ovals.

I have enough stuff in my purse so rather than haul around a bag of fabric swatches, I put together a mini color board using paint samples and stuck it on the back of a picture of my favorite chair and wrote the size of the rug I need. I carry that in my wallet.

By listing what I need I have eliminated many rugs; cutting down my shopping time considerably.

Don’t forget the possibility of choosing a carpet from the carpet store and having it cut to your specific size and trimmed. Not nearly as expensive as you might think and it’s a great way to get a large area rug or an odd sized one. Look for roll ends.

Most furniture, home improvement and flooring stores now carry area rugs that will fit my price range. I will bring a few small ones home on approval and see how they work before ordering the large one. I’ve been looking online too. One website I found lets you take a picture of your living room and apply their rugs to it.

I'll post a picture of my chair/color card this weekend..