#50 – Courtney’s Captivating Colors
Location: Los Angeles,CA
Type: 2 bdrm in a 4-unit bldg/Own
Why I use color: Color defines us in ways that we often take for granted. Color doesn’t just explain our skin coloring (I look best in earth tones.), an era (That avocado green kitchen is so 1970s!) or our state of mind (I’m feeling a little blue.). Color can delineate a space or lift a mood – and it can make or break an interior design concept. The idea that a red door implies prosperity or a pale blue room conveys a sense of calm fascinates me. The fact that color can trigger a memory of a great vacation or your grandmother’s kitchen is similarly intriguing. Color captivates – and its power is sublime.
2 Good color tips:
1. Many people shy away from using color in small spaces, opting for ‘studio white’ in the hopes that it will make their cozy space appear more spacious. Because all the homes I have owned were built in the 1920s and 1930s (and, therefore, tend to hover under 1000 sf), I have had the opportunity to break through this traditional thinking and experiment with color in small homes. I almost always start by using a painting or a piece of fabric for inspiration. I pull two or three colors from that piece to inspire my color palate for the entire house or apartment (in this home, I used orange and turquoise – pulled from a 1960’s painting by Jean Nerfin). Repeating variations of these colors throughout the home allows the small space to feel unified instead of cluttered. It keeps your eye moving from room to room – making space expand before you. Try picking a bright color from your living room or entry way (like the orange used here) and then use it as an accent color in other rooms with a throw or pillow, a window shade and a vase or piece of art glass..
2. Another design fallacy is that dark colors make rooms appear smaller. I have found that using a dark color on the back wall of a small room gives that room dimension – and stretches it as a result. I put that trick to use in my tiny kitchen, painting the back wall charcoal grey to contrast with the white cabinets and the other walls (painted a warm grey). The depth is creates makes the room feel larger (too bad it didn’t add more counter space!).
2 Good color resources:
1. I love Downtown LA’s fashion district for color combo inspiration. Fabric stores with bolts and bolts of raw silk make your head spin (in a good way!). And sometimes just walking past the fashion designer’s displays at The Cooper Building gives you a new perspective on up-and-coming color combinations.
2. Nature may very well be the best inspiration – especially at this time of year when the leaves are changing, the skies are moody and the afternoon light takes on a quality that warms both your home and your spirit.