Every now and then I get an email from a reader that makes for a great post, so rather than a quick email response, I like to answer them here from time to time. Like this recent question from Jaime:
“Hey Kate! We’ve been living in our first house for almost a year with mostly leftover furniture from our college days and everything is sooo beige and brown, including our sofa and walls. I’m really tired of it being so boring, and I’m craving color, but nothing too crazy. I like neutrals, they feel safe to me, but I’m wondering how to bring some color to our home. I’m a little afraid of picking something and then hating it. I’m really not sure where to start. Could you help, maybe offer a few tips?” ~ Jaime
Hey Jaime, great question! I know there are so many people out there who love the idea of color, but tend to play it safe with neutrals. Having a neutral base in shades of gray, taupe, cream, white, or brown will stand the test of time, and also allow you to experiment with color in different ways.
First, when thinking about color, my best advice to you is to ask yourself how you want to feel when you enter your home. Color is so closely tied to emotion. Do you want to feel energized, stimulated, and inspired? Then you’ll likely be looking for bold vibrant colors. Do you want to be soothed and nurtured? You are probably more drawn to muted tranquil tones. Asking yourself how you want to feel is an important first question when looking for ways to bring color into your home.
Next, find your inspiration. Your source for choosing color can come from absolutely anything, whether it’s a fabric, a favorite flower, collectible, piece of art, a favorite article of clothing or scarf, or even something more intangible like a favorite vacation destination. Perhaps you love the colors of the sea, or the vibrant hues of a sunset? The opalescent tones in an abalone shell? The intensity of a magenta orchid? The deep red skin of a ripe heirloom tomato? Nature is always a great source of inspiration. Choose something in your home that you love, or look to nature. Find something that makes you feel good when you look at it, that’s your best cue.
Once you’ve decided how you want to feel, and what specific things inspire you, then it’s easy to choose a favorite color or colors, and you build from there. Now that you’ve picked your inspiration color or colors, here are a few ways to incorporate them into your home.