Unexpected Home Color Pairings
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Opposites Attract1 of 13
By Amy Elisa Keith
When you're considering a room renovation and staring at those stark white walls, two words of advice: be brave. Design expert Genevieve Gorder suggests going beyond the usual wall color combinations to add some personality to your home. "The most common home decor dilemma is a fear of colors, hands down," says the host of HGTV's Dear Genevieve. "Painting takes just a couple days and $25, so you can always change your mind. It's forgiving!" Gorder shares the latest trends in paint pairings and tips to get the look.
Balancing Act2 of 13
"I think layering patterns is probably the toughest thing to do," says Gorder of mixing and matching. "It's all about balance." But don't worry. Gorder says that blending stripe and floral patterns boils down choosing the right ones: simple plaid and minimal floral. And be sure to toss in a "buffer" like a neutral colored pillow that has a bit of texture, but that can balance out the black-and-white striped pillow, for instance, and the beautiful turquoise floral. "Every curve needs its line, every line needs its curve," she says.
Mind Bender3 of 13
For so long, home decor magazines and how-to design books have discouraged bold, bright colors in small spaces. However, Gorder says that those are the very spaces that are perfect for a little experimentation. When it comes to hallways and bathrooms, Gorder says that because of their size and limited exposure, "they can afford to be really bold and really playful." These "transitional spaces" can satisfy your craving for bold color without the major commitment of remodeling a living room or kitchen.
Warming Trend4 of 13
While the color pink has long evoked feminine and childlike energy, Gorder pairs shades of the color with camel for neutral warmth in a room. "I've done it many times, and of course people are like, 'I never thought!'" Combine blossom pink with a camel tone like Valspar's Brownstone Walkup, and you can achieve an elegant bathroom that's not overly girly.
Metal Magic5 of 13
Similar to the gray and yellow combination, Gorder kicks things up a notch by pairing gold and pewter. This ultra luxurious duo can take the form of wallpaper, brushed metal furnishings and, of course, light fixtures. "Pewter and gold look stunning together and add depth to a room." To dip your toe into this trend, try out metallic lamps or mirrored side tables with flecks of gold or silver. "I love really warm slate gray, like a volcanic ash, and then paired with gold," adds Gorder.
Sunny & Overcast6 of 13
Another seemingly opposite color combination is a go-to kitchen motif for Gorder: yellow and gray. "Gray is becoming the new neutral," she says. And like beige, "gray just needs friends, otherwise it's just really plain." By pairing gray with a pastel yellow, like in this kitchen transformation, a seemingly moody tone is made instantly cheery. Gray also works well with lilac and deep fuchsia, says Gorder, who suggests trying out these combinations in bathrooms or small nooks as well.
Black Beauty7 of 13
While painting an accent wall in shiny black lacquer may seem a bit dark, Gorder insists that this new trend is nothing to shy away from. "Black isn't something that's as scary as usual. Through couches, wall color, area rugs, I've seen that color pop up everywhere." Like in fashion, black is a staple among accessories and is now taking over in a major way. Transform even your modest living space into an ultra mod abode with a few black velvet pillows or a noir shag rug. For the risk-takers, try out a black accent wall with floral furnishings in the dining room for extra drama.
Emerald City8 of 13
Another popular color among interior designers is rich emerald green. While it may conjure up thoughts of The Wizard of Oz or a stuffy Park Avenue penthouse, the average person can infuse the bold color into their home with accent furnishings like desks, bookcases and armoires. "There is a lot of power in the color of emerald, and mixing a lot of different greens together," she says, suggesting mixed tones of emerald, Kelly green and even a lime lacquered coffee table tray for an added punch. Toss in just a hint of pink, like a vase, for a playfully preppy addition.
More Than Meets The Eye9 of 13
"We've gotten a bit more graphic as we've dived pretty deep into the folk textiles," says Gorder of patterns like ikat, uzbek and the zigzag or chevron print. "They can be very contemporary when the palette is altered." For example, Gorder says that combining chevron and an ikat print is "money." While the two may seem overpowering, consider anchoring the room with chevron area rug and then tossing a few ikat pillows on the neutral colored sofa. "The fusion is something very new."
Merchant Of Venice10 of 13
Except for the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, we rarely see purple and green shades work well together. After all, the pairing can seem rather cheesy or thematic. However, Gorder insists that plum and a soft pea green can add a regal yet energetic touch to your dining room, for example. "Being that it's more of a celebratory place, like a place to spend time in on holidays, the dining room is kind of forgiving, and you can have a little bit more fun," she says. To compliment the plum wall color, "add bold highlights to a space with fabric," like the green window drapes and upholstered chairs.
Time Travel11 of 13
Oftentimes homeowners feel obligated to decorate their homes according to their architectural style. But these days, Gorder says to break away from the confines of Spanish bungalow, pre-war or Victorian. "It's about the architectural lines but also about how you want to live," she says. For instance, you don't want to sit on a Victorian settee to watch the game. Instead, buy that clean-lined sofa for comfort, and accent it with a Victorian-era throw. "If you live in an old home, bringing in contemporary furnishings doesn’t detract from the beauty of your home; it gives it a jumping off point."
Christmas Cliché?12 of 13
Contrary to popular belief, you can pair red and green in your home without it looking like Santa's workshop. "It's like the immediate reference: red and green, Christmas!" But Gorder insists that combining a persimmon red and a gray-green can be a welcomed gift. "Obviously you don’t go for the bright cherry red and the evergreen green, but [try] more of a burnt rust color and bring in a creamy gray-green." The gray will soften up the green shade and serve as a buffer to the red. Again, it's about finding the right shades of these colors to blend them successfully.
Go Graphic13 of 13
Another popular trend in fashion that has bled over into the world of interior design is houndstooth. With dinnerware and textiles being overtaken by the black-and-white graphic, Gorder says that infusing a floral into the mix softs things up. Instead of getting caught in trend-overload, complement the print with frilly florals or even feather prints. "It's so bold, so you need something a little bit more delicate to balance it," she says. If you invest in houndstooth bedding, then try pairing it with a pretty floral throw blanket and accent pillows. "It's timeless."