Splashes of Color

By Christine Brun

February 15, 2017 4 min read

No doubt there is an element of freshness to the idea of an all-white room. But such a room also poses a challenge. Think of when we use the term "black and white" to mean "cut and dry," or no wiggle room. There is no other interpretation of an all-white room except to say that it is white! Small apartments and cottages are often completely white. Landlords love the idea because it is easy to touch up between vacancies. My father was a landlord, and he painted everything imaginable stark white. It seemed so boring and harsh, but he was adamant.

Only once in my career have I worked on a custom home in which all the cabinets and woodwork were pure white. It was a large traditional-style house with bead board and lots of trim work with antique accent pieces. Nevertheless, the project stood out in my mind because it was so unusual for someone to opt for white everywhere — an all-white kitchen or bathroom is a little more common. But we are currently seeing a bit of resurgence in the popularity of white kitchen cabinets along with white Carrara marble countertops.

It is true that a small room appears larger if it is painted in a light tone, and white is surely the lightest color possible. But how do you alleviate potential boredom and introduce color in effective ways? It might comfort you to know that when a room is devoid of color on the main surfaces, whatever hue you introduce will truly pop. A simple vase with a pattern of daisies or daffodils will really stand out, for example. So it is important to look around the room in question to see where you might invite color. Here we see a contemporary light fixture paired with a bold blue wall paint over the counter. Such a sharp and colorful light fixture could even be hung in a rental. Stash the boring one that came with the house, and install yours to enjoy.

Accessories often get a bad reputation as fluff pieces, but they provide so many useful ways to weave color into a room. The much-maligned throw pillow is an obvious option. Fortunately, pillows are affordable and easily replaced. Whether you opt for a stack of large floor pillows or a few pillows on a sofa or bed, colorful pillows are impactful. Another option is an area rug, which can add a spark of color at the front door, down a hallway or in front of a sink, or even cover an ugly linoleum or vinyl floor that is not to your liking. A specific character can be created by different types of rugs, such as Chinese, American braided or Scandinavian wool. Check out the carpet squares and area rugs offered by FLOR. They are sassy and fun. Online shopping makes the search for an area rug very simple, but I do like the idea of bringing a rug home to try out in your environment.

Think of what you hang on your walls as a huge color opportunity. Art is subjective, but pay close attention to the impact specific colors will have in an otherwise barren room. The internet is bursting with options, but you can buy beautiful original framed art in consignment and resale shops. In the secondhand market, art is priced very low, which is unfortunate for the seller but an excellent opportunity for you.

Photo Credit: DelightFULL

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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