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Category:  Decorating

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Decorating with Color

By Nikki Willhite



Question: How do you get the biggest effect decorating for less money?

Answer: By using Color!

One of my favorite subjects in home decoration is color. This is because of all the things you can do to make a decorating statement, nothing is more powerful and has a greater impact than color. Yet, it is probably one of the least expensive decorating "tools".

One thing to remember is that Color never stands alone.  It is always influenced by the colors around it. Since colors go in and out of style, this can often be used to your advantage (if you want to try to "keep up").

Let me give you an example from my home. (Remember this article will be outdated by the time you read it) I'm sure you remember when mauve was extremely popular. It is such a soft, beautiful color. It was lovely in both carpets and upholstery.

Sadly, after a few years, jewel tone colors became popular, and mauve started looking dated.  My carpet was neutral...but I had a mauve chair (which was a gift) and several mauve accessories.

What I did was to pick a jewel tone that I liked that blended with the mauve. I call it raspberry, but in different shades it might be called burgundy, rose, or maroon. I then brought this raspberry color into the room...and it overpowered the mauve, which then became a minor accent color.

How did I bring it into the room? Here are some examples-  In my flower arrangements I added some beautiful, large raspberry flowers. I changed the mats on some of my pictures. I changed the valances on my window treatments. I added new pillows.

The finishing touch was an oriental wool rug, that I bought for a very reasonable price at our local warehouse store. It was stunning.

The room now looks totally different. A lot of the items that I removed from the living room I put in other areas of our home. I try to carry at least one of the colors from the main living areas of the house into one other rooms. Versatility saves a lot of money.

My family room is still carrying the country blue of many years ago, but it blends nicely with the mauve. The mauve chair has been "demoted" to the family room. I also added navy blue in this room, to give it more "strength".

I have made my bedroom raspberry, but it is accented with hunter green. While the living room has an English Country feeling about it, with the raspberry, mauve and cream, the bedroom is bold and contemporary with the raspberry and hunter green. Someday the window treatments from my living room will probably make it into my bedroom. It is great to have that versatility.

It is often hard to blend colors. Many stores offer free advice. Looking at the prints in fabrics often helps.

One of the easiest ways to decorate a room is to pull out the colors in either a picture or a piece of fabric, and spread them around your room.

Update:  Several years have passed since this article was written.  Jewel tones have "come and gone" in the world of designer colors.  At the present time, neutrals are in vogue.  I have kept this article on the website because it is does teach a few things about color and versatility.  However, because jewel tones are bolder colors, they are not so easily disguised and do not blend as well with earth tones.  If you want a more neutral color scheme with soft greens, browns, and golds, you will have to eliminate the darker items, paint them, or use slipcovers.  Give it enough time....and they will be back!


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