Color Blog


My blog offers a fresh voice on the design scene, with ideas, inspiration and color advice focused on color for the built world. Updated regularly, discover current trends and tried and true proven approaches to color design for your home, your business or your brand. It's all about the human response to color. Learn how to choose and apply color in a way that supports well being and adds beauty and function to any environment. Whether interior or exterior, residential or commercial, smart color design makes the difference between a space that's hardly noticeable and one that makes you feel alive! Thanks for stopping by........Amy      

Decorating with Variations of the Same Color

Use Color Theory to mix colors

Amy Krane Color Using Complementary Colors

As an Architectural Color Consultant I'm often asked how I know which colors "go" together. One particular design direction, decorating with variations of the same color stumps many people. There is the science and art of working with color. The science is established. Colors can be quantified and measured in many ways. The art has more to do with one's taste and sensibility. It's personal. ( I don't mean private). In the end it's about who you are and what you like. How adventurous are you in your color tastes? When it comes to being liberal or conservative in one's color proclivities, either goes, and unlike in politics, people who are one or the other have no trouble sharing the Thanksgiving table!


Color Theory and Decorating

When you mix colors in a space, using color theory helps you choose colors whose relationships are established and minimizes the chance of messing up. Relationships like using analogous hues ( next to each other on the color wheel) or complementary colors (across from one another on the wheel) are tried and true.


Monochromatic Colors

Monochromatic color schemes use colors from the same hue family together - an all blue room or an all yellow room, for instance. Such a space would likely be perceived as monotonous and overwhelming for most people. Mixing variations of the same color with neutrals like white, gray or beige helps the eye rest in such scenarios. Incorporating the same exact blue many times over in an otherwise white room will be sedate and fairly unexciting while mixing different blues with white amps up the wow factor. Contrast is so important.

mixing variations of the same color

Monochromatic color combinations

Mixing variations of the same color in a room works but you may not like it. On the personal side, I like mixing oranges, greens and blues with themselves, yellow a little less so, reds and purples, not at all. But that's my personal taste. To some people's eye these combinations clash. To others, they are interesting and compelling. Be careful when combining neutrals from different parts of the color wheel. Brown grays and blue grays don't mix well nor do yellow and pink beiges. You need to be mixing colors which have enough saturation (purity) to be perceived as distinct and different hues (colors) if you're going to attempt mixing variations of the same color and ignore their components.

Universally accepted is mixing different greens. Why? Because we are accustomed to seeing this all around us in nature. It's completely familiar and natural and this makes the world of difference.

Mixing Different Greens

To me, mixing greens is as natural as a walk in the park. You just don't question its authenticity. The mind's eye accepts the wide variation of greens as harmoniously co-existing in the environment.

In the photo above we see many kinds of green, both yellow green and blue green. It feels right. No thoughts of "clashing colors" here. And as long as there is another color ( red above) in the setting there is nothing monotonous about the combination.


In the room below, the window frames are almost black and recede from consciousness, sending the viewer's eyes outdoors and bringing the greens of nature into the room. The ambiance is simply captivating.

Bringing the outside in

Attribution Unknown

But if your home is not graced with large picture  windows you can achieve this look anyway.

Below, Hawthorne, the Hudson Valley country home of Ted Sive and style writer and design doyen Ted Kennedy Watson, founder and creator of the eponymously named Kennedy Watson lifestyle stores, mixes greens to great effect. Using white as the counterpoint to the bold greens the owners' achieve both excitement and balance at once.

The mix of greens is very stimulating. As none are muted it makes this choice even more bold. These are highly invigorating, saturated tones of green which would overpower without all of the white. The atmosphere is upbeat and sophisticated. The color combination is so unique the experience of visiting is unforgettable.

You may not have the confidence or inclination to decorate your whole house this way but rest assured if you do, mixing greens will create an environment of beauty.


10 Design Trends for 2018

It's that time again to take stock of what's happening in the world of interior design and see what's on the horizon in terms of design trends. Some trends are just starting to poke their heads above the fray while others have been gaining popularity since the beginning of 2017 and even before.

Terracotta Tiles

I know what you're thinking. "Not those dated floor tiles from the 70's!" Nope, not those. Check out this gorgeous, original use of hex shaped terra-cotta tiles by design firm General Assembly. The photo above highlights no less than 3 trends for 2018. One is the choice of terracotta, two is mixing different tile styles together in a very unique and creative way. Lastly, the choice of a hex shape which is a really strong trend right now.

The Bath Tub within the Shower

The bath tub inside the shower has really been building momentum. It's a very efficient use of space as long as the bathroom can accommodate this layout and it enhances the spa-like atmosphere that so many homeowners aspire to in their bathrooms. Clad in the same materials, the two seamlessly dwell together in the same space.

Amy Krane Color, Home DIT

Sheepskin Rugs

I know. They've been a standard in Scandinavian and Bohemenian style homes for some time. But their popularity and use seems to know no bounds. You're seeing furniture upholstered in it. Sheepskins are used as throws as often as rugs. Whether in their natural colors or dyed, lambskin pillows are everywhere in home design.  Plush is in and these furry items are at the forefront of the movement.
Home Design Trends Amy Krane Color


Yellow Accents

The brightest of all the hues yellow is usually best used in moderation. That is if you're going for a saturated version of the color. I'm seeing fantastic yellow tiled walls and backsplashes as well as decor and accessories of all types. Yellow is cheery and fun and can even be considered sophisticated in certain softer shades, like above.
Home Design Trends Amy Krane Color


Black Millwork

Black is a major home design trend. Its popularity on house exteriors and kitchen cabinets can't be overestimated. Black is a bold statement for a wall color and can intimidate all but the most intrepid. Used in smaller doses it's easier to consider. It's graphic and bold and edgy. We're seeing more and more black in case goods and on wall millwork.
Home Design Trends Amy Krane Color

Catherine Plumet Interiors

Ceramic Tiles

I had to include this again because the trend is so strong.There are more and more sources for these beautiful, often colorful, always graphic, ancient tiles. Companies like Popham Design and Claesson Koivisto Rune are leading the pack with innovative patterns which harken back to the past while adding the warmth of a handcrafted object.
Home Design Trends Amy Krane Color

Attribution Unknown

Blue Velvet Sofas

Yes, luxe is here and juxtaposing the luxurious with the rough hewn, handmade or rustic is a hallmark of interior design today. Velvet is back and blue velvet sofas seem to be making a splash.
Amy Krane Color

Miguel Angel Garcia Belmonte


Ceramic Lights

Another nod towards the handcrafted. Pendant lights have been hot since the island was ushered into our kitchen design lexicon. We're seeing more and more lights which have the artisanal, hand made feel. Due to their opaque nature the clay is often punctured to create a peek a boo effect.
Home Design Trends Amy Krane Color

Trough Utility Sink

The Trough Utility Sink

Remember these? You might have seen one in a basement, in a 1940s home or maybe as a slop sink at a work station. They're finding themselves, often painted black on the underside, in more genteel, modern environments. It's that mix of utilitarian and designed which make them so interesting to use. Home Design Trends Amy Krane Color

Creative Tiling

Think the only way to tile is to use one pattern, one color, one size of tile and cover an expanse creating 4 plumb corners? Uh uh. Tiles are being creatively combined with other tiles and materials like wood, plaster and cement to create truly unique surfaces.   There you have it. Where home design is heading in 2018. Let's meet again in December 2018 and see if these burgeoning trends came into fruition full force. See you in 2018.

10 Tips on How to Choose Wallpaper

Choosing wallpaper can be daunting. It's a bigger commitment than choosing paint color because of its expense and removal process. Chances are you're going to keep it longer than you would a paint color so you really need to be sure about your choice. Apply the following systematic approach to picking the right wallpaper for your home and it should be smooth sailing.

What to consider when picking a wallpaper.

1.Every item in your home pays homage to its identity. Each piece tells another bit of your story. Nothing telegraphs a story faster than wallpaper. It covers a large expanse and sets a tone right away. Ask yourself, "What story do I want to tell?" Are you looking for whimsy, elegance, fun, sophistication, historical reference, cultural identity ? Choose a paper which contributes to the story you want to tell.   Amy Krane Color 2. Just like choosing paint, the color palette of the wallpaper helps create the mood and ambience in a room. Cool colors: blue, green and violet are soothing for most people and visually recede, making a room feel larger. Dark colors add drama. Warm colors: red, yellow and orange add excitement to an environment. Light colors create a feeling of expansiveness and space. What kinds of colors do you like and what works for the room in question? Amy Krane Color

What's trending in wallpaper for 2018?

3. What kind of pattern appeals to you? There are so many different styles . Right now botanicals, geometrics, hand drawn & whimsical, folkloric, metallic, chinoiserie and global patterns are some of the most popular styles out there. Black and white prints are also trending at the moment.  
Amy Krane Color

Sanderson Wallpaper

4. Remember scale is very important. Small rooms will do better with small or medium size prints. Large rooms with medium or large prints. Large scaled patterns may make a room appear smaller to some degree. Vertical stripes will enhance the perception of height in a room and horizontal, width. If you like mixing patterns be careful to vary up the scale of all of the patterns in the room.
Amy Krane Color

Linear Stem by Harlequin

5. Think about the function of the room and choose accordingly.  In a bathroom be careful about water splashing and consider a backsplash for your sink. Dining rooms with a chair rail can utilize wallpaper above the rail. In a bedroom consider wallpaper on the headboard wall if papering the whole room seems too much. A long hallway which is dim will benefit from a bright or light wallpaper or use it at one end.   Amy Krane Color6. Order swatches. They may take time or cost a bit but they're so important to make sure you've chosen a pattern and color that's right for you. 7.  Get creative. Don't want to paper a whole room? How about one wall as an accent or a fireplace wall, a headboard, a cabinet interior, a bookshelf interior, a drawer, a closet, a ceiling?  
Amy Krane Color

Shibori by Scion

8. If pattern feels too bold consider something neutral like a textured paper, perhaps a neutral grasscloth or a metallic textured paper. Textured paper will help cover wall imperfections.  Places to try a bold print is in a powder room or other areas you spend little time in. Amy Krane Color 9. Embrace new technology. Digital printing has allowed custom wallpaper creation. Customers can send hi- res digital images to fabricators and have wall murals created for them. Removable adhesive wallpaper has ushered in new wallpaper options for apartment dwellers.
Amy Krane Color

Mr Perswall Vibrant Vintage

10. Pay a professional to hang it. Don't risk a costly mistake.
Amy Krane Color

Woodland Chorus by Sanderson