Creating Punch… Mixing Warm and Cool Colors .

soothing cool colored bedroom

Berdorf chalet bedroom

If you are looking to create a soothing, peaceful space there are a number of ways to go about it. You can choose all muted tones, ones which are “knocked down” by the addition of black or grey. You can use pale pastels, which are desaturated by the addition of white. Or you can choose analogous colors from the cool side of the color wheel. See the photo above. These hues sit right next to one another on the cool side of color wheel. They include blue, green and violet and those colors in between.

color chart

But if you want to do the opposite  ~ create dynamic harmony and add punch to a space, the best way to achieve this is to add colors from both the cool and warm side of the color spectrum. Those colors which sit directly across one another are considered complementary colors. These pairs include blue and orange, red and green and violet and yellow. You’ll get maximum contrast and impact by combining those. Just the tiniest pop of a warm color in an otherwise cool setting adds instant drama and changes the overall perception of the space from mellow to exciting. It’s an amazing and wonderful phenomenon. In fact, the colors can still be very muted but the addition of colors from the opposing side of the color wheel will still add buzz, obviously not as much as in a room full of highly saturated colors. So the next time you’re in a new space, take notice of whether it has a mix of cool and warm colors and imagine it without both. Different, right?

2Carla

Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest

Amy Krane Color

Amy Krane Color

arch digest

Martha Stewart Living

Martha Stewart Living

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Country Kitchen Color: Beyond All White

colorful kitchenThere is no doubt that the all white kitchen is the standard in home design today. Whether housed in a country home or part of a sleek urban apartment, the all white kitchen is endlessly versatile and seemingly universally appealing. It works with every color palette, is always bright and projects its clean persona.

While the ultra modern, minimalist version sometimes runs the risk of chilliness with its surfeit of reflective surfaces, the all white country kitchen is more often very warm in temperament. Bright white walls and cabinets, Cararra marble or similar stone and the use of white subway tile is everywhere, albeit with variations.

yellow kitchen blue kitchen

Yellow and Blue Kitchens

But why not buck this trend and add color and personality to your kitchen? Color will add instant ambience and express uniqueness. Well chosen color affects our emotions positively, contributing to a feeling of well being and helping to add functionality to a room. Not to discount the contribution that floors, countertops and backsplashes make to the coloration of a kitchen, I’m going to focus here on paintable surfaces – walls, cabinets and furniture.

yellow kitchen

Multi-toned and Pale Yellow Kitchen

There are a few different approaches one can take when adding color to a kitchen. The “safest” place to add color is on the walls as it’s easy and inexpensive to change. You can do this while keeping the cabinets white, black or wood. To pump it up another notch, one can paint walls and cabinets each a different color. A nice touch is to have the cabinets and trim match while using a different color on the walls. Keeping the walls white but adding color to the cabinets or the island is another route, a variation on the all white look which gives the kitchen a very different feel.

grey and teal kitchen

Gray and multi hue kitchen

Blues, greens and greys are the most popular colors in kitchens today. The blues range from teals to navy, robins egg to aqua. The greens run the gamut from refreshing blue-greens, olive and hunter to acid yellow-greens and everything in between. Warm colors like orange and red are said to entice the appetite. They have energy and warmth that the cooler colors lack. Yellow, with its cheeriness befitting the kitchen’s role as heart of the home, wore the most popular crown many times in the past. Last but not least, while beige and off-white are often maligned, adding a touch of undertone to a clean white instantly changes the ambience of the scene and creates serene and inviting spaces for any color-phobic home owner tired of the all white kitchen. Take a look!

red kitchen, orange kitchen

Warm Colored Kitchens

green kitchen

Crisp Architects

blue kitchens

Creamy Off white kitchens

Beige Kitchens

Paint Sheen & High Gloss Glamour.

Steven Gambrel Design

Steven Gambrel Design

A steadfast devotee of chalky, matte paint, my idea of a beautiful wall runs more towards plaster and lime wash then anything with a lick of shine. For practical reasons only, I advise my clients and readers to use an eggshell finish solely for its durability in high traffic areas like bathrooms, kitchens, kid’s rooms and occasionally stairwells. Trim of course, is a different story and eggshell, satin, semi gloss or high gloss are fine for that use. Sheen adds reflectivity to walls and in doing so sometimes adds the appearance of a milky white film to the surface, the amount of which wanes and waxes based on the amount and direction of light in the room and your angle of incidence viewing the walls. The truest rendition of a painted wall color is viewed in flat or matte paint. Those companies who sell a “washable” matte hold the key to both beauty and longevity for a painted space.

So with amazement I note my own interest in the use of high gloss paint in interiors right now. Let me say off the bat that if the light conditions are such that using this paint creates a cacophony of reflected light all over the place, one is guaranteed a headache. It won’t be a pleasant place to spend any time in. However, a deeply toned dining room used at night with the soft glow of candles is another story. The most popular color to give the high gloss treatment today seems to be blue, most often teal. Many of these rooms are indeed glamorous and beautiful. To say one needs to choose room and color extremely carefully is a huge understatement.

Here are some helpful how-to’s:

•If you are putting high gloss on your 4 walls, DON’T put it on your ceiling or your floor – and vice versa. It simply creates much too reflectivity.

•Limit the number of reflective surfaces in the room.

•Try the high shine on some built in millwork, just above a chair rail or some other SECTION of a wall if you don’t want it all glossy.

•Choose colors which lend themselves to the high gloss treatment. Jewel tones look great. So does a warm, not cool, white.

•White is the most reflective color and painted in high gloss the LRV or light reflective value will be off the charts. Use a warm white in a WINDOWLESS space, like a dark hallway.

•Your walls have to be in perfect shape as the gloss will exaggerate its imperfections.

•Try using matte and gloss versions of the same paint color together in some pattern on the wall using stencils.

•Here are some successful and less successful examples.

Red gloss on paneling.

Red gloss on paneling.

Below: Great on the gloss placement, yikes on the color!

This space is too reflective. The glare created will cause the room to be practically unusable.