August 14, 2012

Risky Business: Choosing Colour

risky_businessWhen was the last time you played it safe? For me it was the other night when I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant and ordered the same thing off the menu despite the multitude of new items available. I guess it was the easiest thing to do but it got me to wondering: Why did I do that?,…. and furthermore, how did I even discover this restaurant in the first place if I didn’t go out of my comfort zone to begin with?

The same can be said for choosing furnishings for your home. Playing it safe is the easiest route. Big Box stores know this, which is why they are filled with pared down basics in tasteful tones of the moment that lead consumers to believe they are being smart in their design choices. For the most part, caution in spending your money wisely on investment pieces like furniture is a good thing, but opting for safety can yield results you might not anticipate: Dullness.

Green-Sofa5-300x225When asked, most people say they love colour, but their homes hardly ever reflect it, why? That’s because most people worry about making a mistake with colour and go the safe route instead. It stops them in their tracks, frozen in fear. What if it’s not right? Well then, my question is, what if the world blew up tomorrow and you didn’t paint your home your favorite shade of persimmon to enjoy for 1 day beforehand?

Big Box retailers and designer showrooms use monochromatic colour schemes because they know it will sell. They know it’s not stepping outside the box and they are relying on your fear to purchase their neutral goods. But colour, like most things, is a representation of character, of joy if you let it. It can be a barometer for how you greet life and it has been proven to definitely affect your moods. It is a rarity that I meet anyone who says their favourite colour is beige.

Yet for all it’s safety, even beige can get dated. So can grey, taupe, navy, brown & black. Yep,.. they’re all good neutrals and yes they have their place. Yet there is more to this world than those conservative tones. Just look outside in nature and a world of bright, intense, beautiful colour exists that for some reason because it’s nature and not, say a chair, that it’s okay for it to be saturated in colour. Our fear of colour inside our homes is simply a misnomer. As a matter of fact there is a term for it: Chromophobia. It is a veil that needs to be pulled away from our eyes so that we can enjoy what nature has given us freely.


Mid Century Widdicomb Chairs in Ombre Finish

If you want to conquer your fear of colour, here are a few tips:

1) Start small. Buy a bright coloured chair or stool. Even a saturated tablecloth can ease the transition to colour.

2) Paint a small room, such as a powder room or guest bedroom, a saturated bright shade like orange (gasp, I know) But realize that it’s only paint,… can be repainted.

3) This may be obvious, but start with your favorite colour outside of neutrals first. Introduce those favorites in open areas where you can see it easily. Eventually you’ll get used to it to the point that you may feel at a loss when that colour is gone.

4) Take a deep breath and realize you have nothing to lose by adding colour into your life. All colour is temporary, and you can just as easily remove it if you change your mind.

5) Don’t worry what your neighbors think,…they don’t live in your house. You do!


Hollywood Regency Turquoise Table with Damask Mirror Top


Yes, it’s a crazy notion,…a green plaid sofa in my living room? Fuchsia sconces on the wall? That’s risky business mister! But really, what do you have to lose other than your stifled sense of fun and/or adventure. It’s not a permanent mark like a scar on your forehead. Enjoy it for the moment and if for no other reason than a bright green sofa makes you happy. Live your life,……live it in colour!

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