Where are you from? It's a simple question and shouldn't require a long answer, right? It's a complicated question for me. By the time I left home for college, I had called 6 different places "home". My father was an executive who was transferred and my mother was a realtor who was into houses. Moving was viewed as an exciting thing and an opportunity to explore different places and make new friends. I never really had a problem with it and as an adult, I carried on the family tradition, taking it up a notch. Since collecting my diploma and launching into the real world, I have lived in 15 different apartments or houses. The process of making a house into a home thrills me. It's almost an addiction. For the sake of my children's mental health ("Mommy, I like this house. Why are we moving again?"), I started my business, so I could live vicariously through other people's moves (real estate and home staging), renovations and home decoration projects (interior design). Through all of these moves, I have developed a strategy, a sort of recipe that enables me to take a cold, empty, strange house and infuse it with the essence of warm home. The first thing I do (after ripping out wallpaper, wall to wall carpeting, or any other truly offensive stuff) is to pick a color palette that will be the foundation for the design scheme. To me, color is a powerful tool that can quickly and inexpensively create atmosphere. My minister/painter husband once told me that my rooms are 3D paintings because my approach to design relies heavily on the use of color as the essential design element. So, as I look at a blank canvas room, what thoughts go through my mind when I am trying to come up with a design? I first think about how I want people to feel in the room. Do I want them to feel relaxed, peaceful and contented? Or do I want them to feel excited, energized and ready to take on the world? Or maybe I want them to feel sophisticated and glamorous. Or smart and intellectual. Or cozy and warm. You get the idea. Once I have determined the mood that I want to create, I then decide the colors that will elicit the emotional reaction that I am going for. Here are a couple of color palettes that I have used to create certain moods or atmospheres.
Here are a few photos of spaces using the Smart and Intellectual palette:
The next time you enter a room, take a moment and ask yourself how you are feeling. Then notice the colors in the room, not only the paint color on the walls, but also the color of the floors, the ceiling, the carpet, the upholstery and the light fixtures. See how the colors are distributed around the room: a large swath of paint on the walls; a brush of color on the sofa; a dab of color on the pillows and lamp shades; and even tiny highlights on picture frames. Once you become aware of the power of color to create atmosphere, you can begin to use it to influence emotion. Don't be afraid to experiment and have fun. It's only paint! You can always change it. Or move.