Location: Urbana, Illinois
Type: 2 bedroom rental
Why I use color: Color can help to personalize anonymous spaces (such as blah-white rental apartments!) I can't paint, but I can hang things on the walls, so I use fabric-covered wall panels to add color and comply with my lease. (The panels also help with the noisy neighbors.) Brown can be boring, but it can also be warm, rich and comforting which is the effect I wanted (and think I achieved) here. The color inspiration for my bedroom comes from the print above the bed which has a lot of personal significance for me.
The paintings on the wall by the window add a punch of vibrant color, which helps get me going on gray fall mornings. The green glow-in-the-dark Hoberman spheres are fun to look at and work as nightlights.
2 good color tips:
1. If you're afraid of color/change/commitment but not computers, try out SketchUp (free version available from Google for personal use – www.sketchup.com). You can test your ideas in this relatively easy to learn/use 3D program before committing.
2. Lighting can dramatically change the way your color looks and color can dramatically change the way your lighting looks. Think about this in advance! Provide for different lighting options/combinations to add versatility to your spaces.
2 good color resources:
1.Travel—both exotic and ordinary—is tremendously inspiring. Routine trips are often overlooked as a source of inspiration, but the trip to work, product packing at the store, and all the "ordinary" places of everyday life can provide very interesting color ideas.
2. Film and television are great sources for color and design ideas. Currently on TV, CSI Miami and Las Vegas use color in fantastic and interesting ways. Foreign and independent films are usually good bets, but big-budget Hollywood pictures put a lot of money into set design, location fees, and filming so they can also provide inspiration.