Monday, May 3, 2010

Making Colour Pop

I need colour in my life. I could never live in an entirely white or beige (or black) space. Integrating colour into one's living environment, however, is trickier than it looks. In the May issue of Martha Stewart Living there is a wonderful article about 'superneutrals' - those natural, subtle neutrals that still provide a kick of interest with their unusual hues. Mixing them in exciting ways, as the editors point out, is how you achieve successful colour harmony.

Below I've supplied a different look, from the pages of House & Home magazine, Canada's leading decorating publication. The look incorporates bold, vibrant colours in their purest forms - no quiet pastels here. The effect is powerful because the colours used are both restrained and highlighted by the sparse setting and the clean, white surfaces they interact with.
In this house, white is the base (the canvas) against which all of the colours play. The giant, floral paintings on the wall are by the home's owner, Bobbie Burger. Bobbie and her husband wanted a clean, gallery-like space and achieved the look with an Eames Elliptical coffee table, bent-plywood chairs stained a deep red and Fat Lava pottery. The walls are painted a light shell and the hardwood floors are wide-plank.

Having a neutral base upon which to build colour is one way to achieve a balance. The furniture and walls all seamlessly blend to create a harmonious but textured palette, allowing the vibrancy of the cushions and the views outdoors to really pop. The desaturated elements of the room's foundations further enhance the saturation of the colours that accent it. The same is true in Bobbie's kitchen, where one of her striking canvases hangs. Stainless-steel appliances juxtapose beautifully with the rustic wood table, accented by fresh fruit, flowers and a bright yellow stool.If you're looking for fun and fresh accents, such as these throw pillows, Anthropologie is a great destination. Often featuring embroidery, wool fringe and glorious mixtures of colours, they are ideal punch points in otherwise neutral rooms.Palette perfection is in the mix. To mix up colours effectively, use colours that have the same intensity, and balance the sweet with the sour. In Bobbie's house, cool lemon tones have a colling effect on the sweetness of deep cherry.

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