Four Myths About Dark Interiors

 

Scared of the dark? Don’t be. I’ve got your 4 reasons to not be right here:

Fear of the dark is a very real thing. No I’m not talking about nighttime and monsters under the bed: I’m speaking of painting your walls a dark colour. Even the thought of doing so conjures up irrational fears in others. Dark colors get a bad wrap in interior design but they don’t have to. We are going to dispel some myths about “the dark” and shed some light on why it can enhance your home’s interior.

You’ve probably already got a few concerns swirling around in your mind:

What if:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ,..it encloses the room?                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ,.. feels too heavy?                                                                                                                                                                                           ,…soaks up all the light from windows?

 

I can dispel these myths and fears right now:

Myth Buster #1: Dark colours enclose a room:

Courtesy of DesignIndulgences.com

Dark colours don’t always enclose a room. As a matter of fact, it may even expand a room by wiping out any borders we see such as where walls meet ceilings or floors. Dark room can give focus on things such as views from a window, acting as a virtual frame for the beauty that takes us beyond a room’s borders. The key to many a dark painted interior is Gloss paint, and that brings me to the next Myth:

Pro Tip: When painting a room in a dark tone, use a satin to semi gloss paint to help reflect the light back into the room – keeping a balance to the atmosphere even though a dark tone exists.

Myth Buster #2: Dark Colours are heavy:

If you use darker tones in your interior the correct way, they will never feel heavy as much as they will feel grounded. For some of us, it will even have a cocooning effect that can calm our senses and bring us back to center. The key to keeping a dark coloured interior from being heavy is to make it glossy. Use of a gloss paint will reflect light from any source and bounce it back into the room.

 

Myth #3: Dark Colours are drab:

Have you ever tried searching for that perfect little black dress but nothing was “black” enough? Or the richness of your favorite garments have started to fade with repeated washings? You’re not alone in being disappointed when there isn’t enough colour in the things we gravitate to in our wardrobes. When it comes to dark and dramatic tones, we actually do not crave the “darkness” of a colour, we crave the intensity of it. The saturation of it. There has been study after study in the fashion world that the saturation a deep navy has been found to be more desirable than a lighter, more washed out version.

Pro Tip #2: Intensity of hue can make any dark colour exciting.

Courtesy of Homedecorideas.eu

Myth #4: Dark colours are depressing

Black, gray, navy and hunter green have all been given a bad wrap; yes, dark colors do represent depression in many ways, but it’s not the fault of the colour itself. Colour is colour; you either like a certain colour or you don’t. All white rooms have been shown to make people feel just as uncomfortable as all black rooms. So if that’s the case, why blame certain tones in the spectrum as depressing? The key to making sure that a dark room isn’t depressing is to create harmony in colour. What I mean by that is creating a colour story like the image above where hues of soft earthy paprikas and red ochres create a calm, not depressing, interior. This is an example of the cocooning effect displayed to perfection. But an opposite or complimentary colour from the walls can have a lively effect like the image below – making sure that there’s no room for solemness in this interior.

Courtesy of Freshome.com

So the lesson here is: If you want to be afraid of the dark, remember, it’s only in your mind. Dark can be, and is, lovely in many an interior designed room.

Can Minimalism Be Bold?

Minimalism Living Room

For many, a minimalist approach to design is unsettling. Assumptions of cold, harsh environments proliferate the mind. As modern day consumers, we are emotionally tied to our possessions. They are what define us, our style and our self worth. The more you have, the richer you are, (so the saying goes). Minimalism is a stance against excess but it doesn’t have to mean going without. Here are a few tips we employ in our interior design practices when the client wants to pare down and explore a minimalist approach to design.

Minimalism doesn’t mean spare: When going for a minimal look within a room, replace the word “spare” with the word “curated”. The best pieces you can pick to furnish a space should have a special or artful (almost sculptural) presence to them. Not everything has to be modern in flavor, antiques and heavily adorned pieces can be used. The trick is getting the balance of impactful furnishings and space to coincide. Think of an art gallery, the focus is one the art and not extraneous stuff. The same can be done with furnishings.

Minimalism can have colour: Mention the word minimal interior to most people and the thought of a blank white room comes to mind. Yet minimalism isn’t about a lack of color but rather the judicial use of it. Keeping a simple palette of three colours can keep things in perspective and the use of color helps promote a bold statement without all the adornment.

Minimalism Library
Minimalism isn’t about losing your possessions: As is thought, one must get rid of all their possessions in order to live a simple life. This really isn’t the case. However, editing what really matters to you within a space helps focus your view. The photo above showcases two main collections that were very important to the client: Books and a vintage glass collection. Both are cohesive by being grouped together and that’s what makes this room work. A limited collection of items help keep the feeling light and not compete for attention from the viewer.

Minimalism doesn’t mean going without: Believe it or not, one can live quite comfortably in a minimalistic environment. It’s all about paring down to the basics: what you really utilize on a daily basis. Do you sit in every chair in your house? Do you use those three sets of dinnerware with regularity? Most of us are apt to repeat a familiar routine daily, using only a few items. The rest is just “stuff” we look past without a thought. Having a few things to admire and utilize is becoming more important in the new millennia than having lots of possessions that get no attention at all.

Minimalism Bedroom

Popular assumptions of minimal interior design of being cold and harsh are starting to fade into the past as people realize that one doesn’t have to sacrifice style in order to create a fully realized environment. Minimalism is more about a way of life and how to lead one in its simplest form without losing the luxury of a warm and inviting place to dwell in. Less clutter in your home is less clutter in your mind.

Our Obsession With Virgins

blue-small-tufted-sofa copyYes I know, the title is very subjective, enticing even, but I wanted to get your attention. I’m not really talking about “virgins” in the personal sense but rather in furnishings for the home sense.

Huh?

That’s right, I want to shed light on the psychology consumerism; mainly the tendency to want “new” furniture, i.e. “viginal” products and furnishings because somehow, we think that’s better than anything old. When consumers buy new, they are excited. Feelings of being successful, on the cutting edge, fullilling desires for a well curated home with trendy items are all reasons to buy new. Old stuff in comparison has smells, stains, outdated fabric, the list of excuses can go on and on.  I get it. It’s a great feeling to buy new and I don’t blame anyone for wanting new stuff. It’s hard for me to not be enticed by those slick well crafted ads from  big box retailers, but I know a thing or two about purchasing older items that can rival your habit of buying new, i.e. “Virginal” never-been-used items. So I thought I’d share those tips with you before you go out and spend that hard earned money on something meretricious.

Meretricious: (Adj): A word meaning something that looks good on the surface but has no intrinsic quality and/or value.

Those large companies are betting on you falling for the bait.                                                 Call me when the cheap fabric wears out in a few months,……!

 

Recycling Isn’t Just For The Eco-Minded:
Xprod7491936_E67630052_TQ                                                                .           Did you know that furniture, just like fashion, recycles looks every couple of decades? In the furniture world, it’s usually about every 30 years. All one has to do is look at any successful big box retailer selling home furnishings nationwide to see that many of the furniture designs aren’t new. If you’re over 30, you probably grew up with some of those items showcased in fancy catalogues. They just have a new coat of color on them so to speak. But what consumers don’t know is that in fashion, how garments are made is still roughly the same. In the furniture industry, practices have changed dramatically; all in the name of mass production and profit margins that need to be met. What does that mean? It means you’re paying a higher price for a chair today that looks exactly like a chair made 30 years ago when quality standards were much higher and profit margins were less. Ok, so the chair you bought new today is gray in color and the old version is brown,….ever heard of painting the chair? Maybe new upholstery? You could save yourself some hard earned dough, keep the quality furniture and still get the trendy look of the moment.

 

The Age Of “Re-Issues”vintage-charles-and-ray-eames-dining-chairs_3

Have we lost our creativity? Nope, at least not in the smaller realm of artisans and craftsmen making exceptionally well made and innovative furnishings. That industry is alive and brimming with ideas but they are overshadowed by big box businesses that have large budget campaigns and rely heavily on what is now known as the “Re-Issue” of iconic furniture design. Talk about hitting the easy button, and the consumer falls for it religiously.

eames_woodenWe can thank companies like Design Within Reach for this burgeoning trend. Now everyone has an Eames chair in their house and, well, it’s not so special anymore is it? Considering your neighbors down the street have the same darn chair. Lots of retailers are getting on board with this trend, because it’s just plain easier to sway consumers on the tried sand true even if it lacks imagination. The goal is profits for these companies, not originality. Mental Injury: you’ve probably just paid twice to three times more for that new Eames chair new than finding an original version. Insult To Injury: the construction of the new one, well, it’s sub-par……..but it’s new. Virginal. No butt’s been in it except yours and that’s all that matters right? Call me when the wood joints come loose in a couple of months,..!

nanaLook To Grandma For Value

What’s the saying? “Those who haven’t lived and survived the bruises of life are void of character and possibly real beauty.” I had a grandmother who was the quintessential funny lady. Her legendary jokes and upbeat personality had people guffawing everywhere she went. She was magnetic; you were drawn in every time. By the end of a day with grandma, your sides hurt from laughing but you didn’t care, the experience of being around her was more important than anything. What most people didn’t know was that my grandmother had deep wounds and dark secrets, that in today’s age, are nothing to be ashamed of, but back in her growing up years, she was practically exiled for her mistakes. Tragedy and pain make for some of the funniest people around. She acquired dents and dings and it was those things that made her more valuable as she grew into an adult and finally into my super hilarious grandmother. I could never think of replacing her with a “new” version of grandma,..it just wouldn’t be the same. But we do this with our furnishings constantly – not realizing that what we are throwing away has more built in quality than what we are getting new. So I’m going to challenge your way of thinking by telling you to do this:

Replace the word “new” with “new for me”

By changing your mindset on what “new” is, and opting to purchase well made quality items despite being a little older or worn around the edges you will start to understand what quality in furniture is. Don’t let a dent or ding scare you. If it’s been around for 50+ years, it’s probably made to last and not fall apart anytime soon. By opting for the “new for me” approach, you can start to realize what you’re really purchasing are things with character. Just like my grandmother had. I don’t have my grandmother as she passed away a long time ago but I wish I did. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Buy quality, buy character, but something that’s had a good life, something with a soul,…just like you!

 

 

Loss of (Color) Vision

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Children aren’t afraid of color, so why are adults so scared?

When we were kids, color was our friend. It stimulated us, gave us joy and allowed us to explore our minds and develop a more fully rounded experience towards creative thought. We weren’t afraid. Somewhere along the path of growing up, most of us lost our attraction to color. It’s as if we’ve become afraid that somehow, adding color back into our lives is too much of a commitment. So we choose neutrals and eschew color for the most part – except in bits and pieces. What once made most of us happy is now something we fear,….it’s time to change that mode of thinking.

We did this colorful column out of upcycled paint can lids in just about every color imaginable for a children’s dental clinic in Excelsior MN. Now instead of a dental office being a place to dread, it’s a place of joy and fun for the patients who come here. It’s amazing how much color, or the lack thereof, can affect a person’s psyche.

“What once made most of us happy is now something we fear”

The design industry tells us that neutrals are always the way to go: the typical reasonings are that neutrals are easy to live with and provide a calming retreat. But nature already does this. The sand dunes of the desert, or the beaches, forests and rocky mountains all provide that calming palette many of us strive for and yet they also pack in loads of wonderful, spectacular color. Conversely, most of us stick with beige, brown or grey in our homes and barely venture into color territory except in the form of a pillow or some other small item. It’s almost as if we’re telling nature we don’t really want to live with all that color inside our homes,..but it’s perfectly fine, uh, outside. My questions is why? What are you really scared of?

singhray_blog-09-690x457 50+-Outstanding-Examples-of-Landscape-Photography_48-@-GenCept-700x466

 

 

Think about it, will adding color back into your life completely derail you? Will it destroy your existence? Probably not. Nature provided color for a reason: so that we can experience all kinds of wonderful and emotional stimuli that color can bring. I often ask my clients a very simple question when I start to work with them on the interior design of their home; I ask what their favorite color is. What I get as a response is hardly ever a neutral shade, but mostly blues, reds, greens. Yet I see no evidence of any of those colors in their interiors.

There are also times when I ask the same question and the response is just a rumbling of neutrals as if the client is scared of not seeming sophisticated if they named an actual color other than grey, beige or white. I found one client who couldn’t even come up with a favorite color when asked. I noticed she had a garden in her back yard, a beautiful one, so I changed the question: what color do you gravitate to most in your garden? In an instant I got my answer, “I love deep pinks, reds and white”,..Bingo! I then got to work incorporating those colors into the home and it proved to be the missing ingredient the client never knew she needed in order to be happy within her four walls. Sometimes, going too neutral makes a room lifeless. That’s not what nature intended for us to live in, so why restrict yourself from the joy of color? Go out and start to add color into your life. It won’t kill you and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be better off for it!

Color lives here

How to go BOLD (Without Going Crazy)

I’m going to ask you to picture a bold interior room in your head. What immediately comes to mind?

Do you envision a room so intense that it overwhelms? Too much color, too much pattern, too much of both? That’s usually what happens when I ask potential clients this question. They go to extremes in their imagination and the resulting imagery isn’t what they want in their own homes.

What if I said you can have a bold look in your home without going crazy? It can happen. With a plan of attack and the knowledge of your favorite colors, you can have the bold yet comfortable home that doesn’t scream of overwrought design.

When asked, “what is your favorite color?”, almost no-one answers beige. So why is it we live in such fear for color? The design industry may have something to do with it. For decades there has been a trend towards using neutrals as a base and if warranted the judicial use of controlled brighter tones to help flesh out a room. Seems like sound advice, Yes? Except when the room you’re designing ends up being cold,  lifeless or just plain jane in appearance. If that’s the case, then it’s time for a color injection.

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world.” ~Allen Klein

 

bluesalmon Life is about color, all you have to do is walk outside to see that. Beautiful gardens bursting with color, blue skies, even the desert has intense colors going for it and yet most of us shy away from it and choose what we think is “safe” i.e. neutrals. If the quote from Allen Klein is any indication of how colors affect our lives, then it might be worth adding more color to yours to fill it with joy instead of the alternative.

So how do you start? It’s easy, first pick your favorite color. Then pick coordinating colors to go with it. This is where the fun can begin. For simplicity, here’s a link to understanding color harmony at Sensational Color. Once you’ve decided which version of color harmony you like you can be off and running.

Next there’s the ever solid advice called the “60-30-10 Rule” which states that you can use your dominate color for 60% of the room’s space, 30% for the complimentary color and 10% for the accent color. So let’s say the wall color takes up 60% of your over all design scheme, then you have other colors to use with furnishings and etc. Let me make it clear that this formula doesn’t mean one has to start with the dominate color being a neutral unless desired.room1

A big tip when planning a room is NOT to select the wall color first. Why? It is because paint is the least expensive thing in your design scheme. I’ve seen many cases where the client picked a color for the walls and then had a hard time selecting furniture to go with it. There are far more choices of paint tones then there are sofas, so if you have your eye on the brightly colored sofa, get that first. Then work your way around it with items to compliment

 

Ivanka trump’s Apartment NYC

Ivanka trump’s Apartment NYC

Since color choices are highly subjected to personal tastes, select what you like regardless of what is trendy. After all it’s your home. You need to wake up every morning and come home at the end of the day to a home that speaks volumes of your multi-layered persona.

Of course we wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that every photo here shows a mix of new and revamped furnishings to create a wonderful home.

 

 

 

 

Roberto Dutesco Photogrsaphy for Elle Decor

Roberto Dutesco Photogrsaphy for Elle Decor

Garrow-Kedigian Design

Garrow-Kedigian Design

*Don’t worry about making your life sedate, if you live in a neutral themed home odds are it’s already there. Instead, worry about not making it a rich experience. Color can add the richness into your interior and conversely – into your life.

 

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