Location: New Orleans
Type: 3 bedroom 1800's shotgun house, rented
Why I use color: When we first stepped into this old house, I remember thinking it felt like a dank medieval castle. Every wall and ceiling was painted white, with plenty of dark stained wood everywhere. It was cold, uninviting, and actually quite creepy. I used color to make this house more modern and liveable. The color of the walls in this room creates a place of relaxation, a sanctuary.
The ceiling rafters are exposed, and though the room has a small footprint, the ceiling peak is 15 feet or so high. So in this case, I used a darker color which makes the room feel less tall. The colors in the room may not contrast much with one another or be very bright, but to me, they are still bold in that they create an atmosphere—a feeling of richness and comfort.
2 good color tips:
1. Use color to enhance your space.
Every home improvement or interior design show I have ever seen has heralded painting lighter colors to make rooms seem larger and more inviting. We painted this room a light yellow at first, and it was terrifyingly uncomfortable. People actually commented on the room making them feel uneasy. Though the new color is darker, it works for the proportions of our particular room.
2. Trust your instincts.
If you paint your room a certain color and are uncomfortable – change it! If you see a photograph of a room that makes you feel happy inside, use a similar color scheme. Don't worry about what you see in the magazines—if you don't like zebra fur or patent leather, don't put them in your house. Ultimately you are the one living in the atmosphere you create—use colors that make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
2 good color resources:
1. Local art and antiques.
I went to a street festival last fall and found this wonderful booth with amazingly colorful photographs. The two photos I purchased are the ones you see in my room, and they were just the inspiration I needed to repaint. Almost all of my furniture is old—not pricey antiques, just affordable items in good condition I found around the city. I would have never chosen a sofa with a stripe or those colors, but I couldn't pass up the great deal. Now, the sofa and its colors work within the space.
2. Paint matcher at Home Depot.
Knowing I did not want to use the exact same colors as in the photos, I looked through magazines to see if I could find any colors that would complement them. I found the perfect color in an old issue of a design magazine. I brought the magazine to Home Depot and tried to match it by sight, but thankfully I was able to scan the image and have the computer pick a color for me. I know, not the most artistic way to do it, but I would have spent forever trying to decide.