Home decorating

Give colors a chance

4:31 PM

When I was working as an interior decorator (code for sofa maker in Switzerland), which is now feeling like it happened in an entirely different life, one of the thing I found the most boring was how our clients kept playing it safe in their choices of fabric.

I re-upholstered too many a sofa in boring browns, beige, and blacks to bot want to ever see one ever again.
Ditto with boring white sheer curtains and earth tones opaque one. In fact I don't think I can see a picture of an earth tone everything home without cringing inside.

See back in those days, our workshop was choc-a-block full with fabric samples, many containing amazingly colorful prints and patterns, and colors, and it never failed, out clients would chose the most boring beige or brown they could find in any of the sample books.

Why? Because they were afraid that anything bolder would clash with their "beigy-beigy" decor, nevermind that when your entire home is done in "mega-blah" tones, any splash of color will be welcome and look awesome.

For the color lover that I am, you can imagine how boring that was. We had a few clients that made bolder choices and I loved working with them.
Back then I was a young adult, living on my own for the first time, in a tiny studio apartment in the attic of an old house.
My home was, like every other homes of 20 something adult furnished by Ikea, with the notable difference that mine was bursting with colorful accents.
I had bright cushions, bedding, and accents all over the place. Picture Monica's apartment from F.R.I.E.N.D.S crammed into a 26 square meter attic studio apartment and you pretty much get an idea of my living quarters back in those days.

Screw the rules about infusing tiny spaces with white and neutrals to make it appear bigger, mine was the exact opposite. And guess what? It still looked much bigger with furnitures in than empty.

What made it look big was my clever trick of segmenting the space and never really let the eye rest in one place, the fact one had to turn their head here and there to survey my space instead of being able to take it all at one glance is what made it look big.
And with all those bright colors around, there was plenty for the eye to catch and linger on.

Nearly 2 decades later,  I still love bright colors, and still go by the segmenting the space and creating small "visual islands" all around my home.
The more "technical" or rather professional term for these is vignettes. The prime vignette spot in my home is my "Lhasa chest of drawer" and the DIY project that everyone visiting my home falls in love with.

But this is not the only place my home burst with colors. I peppered the whole place with accents, paintings, and vignettes that I change often.

For example, there is an ever growing collection of painted pebbles in my office, along with indoor plants.
As of late, I have a thing about adding indoor plants here and there. I go for the sturdy type like succulent, peace lilies, snake plants or money plants, because they don't really need a lot of care or constant bright sunlight, added bonus, they purify the air and make the place look really pretty and homey.

My dinning table is usually kept clutter free and I always style it with a table runner or a center piece (often both)

As my regular readers know and to the outrage of some, two of my favourite table runners were DIY projects that involved ripping a dupatta apart and painting both halves, one of which featured in the picture above, the other...well you can read all about it here.

As i said, I am a color lover, and have no fear blending colors and infusing my space with it. But many are scared to take the leap, and this is why we had so many clients stuck in a beige and brown rut back in the days.

My advice is to start by introducing one color in your space, make it your favourite color and work from there.

For me, that would be blue. I love blue, and blue pretty much rule my world. You won't find a single room in my flat at the exception of the bathrooms without a blue accent something.

The beauty of blue? It's that as colourful and bright as it can be it is still very neutral color. It is a very good base color to start building upon. Blue naturally goes well with purples, greens, pinks and yellows. It's a bit trickier with red, but if you pick the right red hue it will still work, and know that orange is blue's complimentary color, so if you want a bold contrasting decor, you add splashes of it as long as you don't go over board.

If you are familiar with the color wheel and have basics of color theory, decorating your home in bright hues will be easier.
If not, I encourage you to play with swatches of colors, trust me we all have that capacity to figure out which color combinations are cringe worthy.
It means that if you pair two colors and they make you feel very uncomfortable your instinct is probably right on the money.

Another tip is to avoid painting your walls right away. White walls will help you create your decor more easily. Once you have all the big items and the general feel of your space you can figure out if you need to paint an accent wall or not.


I myself prefer to add colors to my walls by hanging colorful artwork all around the home, and if you live in a rental property, you might be really limited by what you can do to your walls.
Wall stickers and removable mural and wallpapers are a very good option to look into. If you don't like it, you just have to peel it off.

This is the part where I do a little shameless promotion and let you know that a lot of my artwork is available as removable wallpaper and wall murals at Society6, including that amazing aqua blue 70's inspired flower mural.

In short, it is all about starting with your favourite color and slowly building your decor from there. Stop playing safe, and even if beige is your favourite color, know you can pretty much pair it with any other color. Don't believe me? Hold paint swatches, bright fabric, and times right next to your beige hotspot and see how it comes to life paired with something bright. 

5 comments

  1. I think every sofa I've ever seen in Switzerland has been some beige-y oatmeal thing. Wait, I recall two very $$$'s Italian leather sofas I saw in a posh chalet- one was chocolate brown & the other black but they had beige fur pillows on them, HAH!
    I think the best advice for small spaces is as you say -to paint all the walls & ceilings the same NEUTRAL color- be that white (or even beige). Keep the flooring the same throughout too. Save the pops of color for upholstered furniture & vignettes.

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    1. I don't know why blogger didn't notify me of comments posted on the blog, a good thing I decided to check directly on my dashboard huh?

      Yeah I saw one beige or brown sofa one after the other in 4 years working in that workshop. It was BORING as hell.

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I’ve wondered if you would be open to doing a series/answering questions about home decoration. We bought our first home this spring and are so excited to put our own touches on it. Nearly all of the walls are beige. Blah! We’ve painted the front room accent wall a lovely blue.

    I want to look for fabric for curtains during my next trip to India. We’ll see what turns up!

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    1. That is an excellent idea, I'll probably start this series in August or September when I'll have more time to focus on it.

      Right now I don't even know why blogger stopped sending me email notifications for new comments. I just decided to check on my dashboard today to see if there were comments and turns out there has been a few in the past 2 months I haven't been notified about...sigh

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  3. Sorry everyone if I seemed to have been neglecting the comments in the past few weeks, I just had no ideas there were even any comments as email notifications stopped. It seems I found a way to fix that just now, finger crossed!

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