#26 - Elizabeth and Toby's "Enough Bright, Enough Calm" Space

#26 - Elizabeth and Toby's "Enough Bright, Enough Calm" Space

Oct 20, 2006

Name: Elizabeth and Toby
Location: Oakland
Type: 2 bedroom lower unit of a duplex - rented

Why I use color:

To claim our space. When we moved into our apartment EVERYTHING was the same color of white - walls, ceilings, trim, cabinets, built-ins, throughout the entire apartment. And let's face it, unless you're going for the super minimalist, super modern look, all white just looks styleless. The first thing that we did, before moving in furniture or anything, was paint the walls, and immediately it made the space feel more personal. Especially in a rental, where you can't make any big structural changes, adding color through paint, accessories, and art makes a space feel uniquely "you" and not just like renter #46. . .

. . .We also use color to balance out our personalities. Toby is totally a neutral guy - his office is all blacks, whites, and greys, and the whole house would be too if he had his way with it. Elizabeth, however, is the kind of girl who thinks bright turquoise is the perfect color for bedroom walls. So we balanced, by having the neutral walls (which are a greenish tan) and furniture, and then adding the bright yellow accessories, along with some greens, oranges, pinks, and blues. It gives Elizabeth enough bright, and Toby enough calm to make us both happy in the space.

2 good color tips:

1. Create "areas" of color in a room. You can start with a neutral base and add splashes of color to different parts of the room, allowing you to get multiple colors in without having it feel too crazy. We have a corner with all blue objects, a brown and yellow area, a green corner, etc. They all tie together through the neutral walls. Flowers are great for this, they're a big part of our design, and you can change flowers when your mood changes, bringing a whole different range of colors and so feel to your room.

2. Art! Art is a great way to bring color into a room, and can be a really affordable way to do it. We don't have a single piece that cost over $100, and most cost much much less. If you're strapped for cash, you can frame wallpaper scraps, wrapping paper, greeting cards, etc. (like we did) to add blocks of color and pattern. We think this looks best done in groups, and will probably add some more when we find more paper we like, but a really stunning card or paper could stand on its own.

2 good color resources:

1. Florist shops. A never ending source of color, and an especially great way to take a color home with you and try it out in your space. We never thought of using purple with the yellows and greens until a friend brought us some irises and they just popped in the room. Also great because if you get bored, you can switch them out. We sometimes will do all yellow flowers, all white, or a mix.

2. eBay is great because you come across things you never would have thought of. Example: a search for "vase" or "wall paper" will get you a ton of hits, which you can then sift through and find things you would have never thought of that will look perfect in your room. If you're having a hard time looking for the perfect accent color, try looking for the perfect accent piece and then go off the colors in it.

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