Location: Iowa City, Iowa
Type: Big decaying house, half Queen Anne, half Craftsman
Why I use color: I use color because, like most people, I live in a place that's a little the worse for wear. Before my family moved in last year, my house survived many rough years as a roominghouse. I don't have the time or the money to fix the water stains in the kitchen floorboards or to fill the cracks in the plaster (at least not right away). I'm not ambitious enough to strip the dark molding so that I can paint it white. So I use color to draw the eye away from my house's dingier features. I've painted the dining room "shadow box blue" and covered my dining room chairs with a bold graphic print so that the room feels cheerful whatever its state of disrepair. For the record, the dog is not often encouraged to sit on the table.
2 good color tips:
1. Use vintage fabrics to help you find color combinations that make your heart sing. I have a constitutional aversion to brown, but when I saw a brown floral print teamed up with a pink polka dot fabric in an old quilt it made me rethink my color limitations.
2. Do not pick a paint color by committee. Not everyone is going to like the stripe you have test-painted in the foyer. Go ahead and paint the walls that color anyway if you love it.
2 good color resources:
1. If you don't enjoy rooting through fabric bins in thrift shops, turn to Cath Kidston's IN PRINT. Although Kidston's rose chintz granny aesthetic does not square with the beloved minimalism of many Apartment Therapy readers, her book provides great ideas for adding jolts of color to neutral settings.
2. My local hardware store has a computer that can come up with a paint formula for anything I want to match. I suspect it is not unique in this regard. If you want to replicate the exact shade of a fabric swatch, you can have it scanned and a paint formula custom mixed.