What the Pros Know Tips on Decorating with Color and Using Paint Colors — ELLE DECOR

What the Pros Know Tips on Decorating with Color and Using Paint Colors - ELLE DECOR

By Elle Decor Staff

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Mix brights and neutrals. Its a challenge to live with bold color and not feel like youre in a cartoon, says Nisi Berryman, owner of NIBA Home and one of Miamis most influential design voices. When you have strong, saturated color, its important to tone it down with some whites, neutrals, and metallic touches. Using color requires a bit of trial and error, she points out. For example, she began by painting her dining room orangemore than once. First, it was too sweet, she says. Then it was too brightreally coming at you. So she changed it altogether and painted the walls bright purple, which she found to be just right. With paint, if it doesnt work, its so easy to do it over.

Colorful ceilings add space. Contrary to what people think, white ceilings can seem lower, says Sarah Fishburne, Home Depots manager of innovation and design. If your room is less than eight feet high, paint the ceiling a shade or two lighter than your wall color. Josette Buisson, artistic director of Pittsburgh Paints. agrees: A white ceiling can be a big mistake, especially when your walls are dark. Visually, its going to bring it down so that it appears too close to your head. Instead, wrap the entire room in color, including the ceiling. I know a decorator whose kitchen is coated entirely in black, and when you walk in, the ceiling seems to go on forever.

Sometimes one color is all you need. Monochromatic color schemes are easy to put together, says Chicago designer Kara Mann. They can be a simple way to give disparate elements unity, and the results are often elegant and clean. Mann uses the tactic frequently, which is why shes familiar with its strengths and its weaknesses. No matter how much you vary the hue, using one color can be monotonous and one dimensional, Mann cautions. To make sure the palette isnt boring, she seeks out a colors inner shadow and adds some murky tones to the mix. The colors are off-kilter and unexpected, so they surprise the eye, she explains.

What the Pros Know Tips on Decorating with Color and Using Paint Colors - ELLE DECOR

Finishes make a difference. Flat or matte paints dont reflect light, so they hide imperfect walls better than higher-sheen paints such as eggshell, semigloss, or high-gloss, says Vic Barnhill of Mythic Paint. However, the smoother the finish, the easier it is to wipe dirt and grit out of cracks and crevices. Flat paints allow moisture to penetrate the walls, and that can result in a mold or mildew problem, so its best to use them in low-humidity areas such as bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways. Keeping that in mind, use semigloss paints in bathrooms and kitchens or any other high-humidity area. They have tighter films and are able to repel water. High-gloss finishes are good for cabinetry and trim. Remember, if youre using high-gloss paint on walls or ceilings, make sure the surfaces are perfectly smooth, because every imperfection will show.

Dont forget the furniture. Consider the underside of furniture, says New Yorkbased interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz. Try painting the bottom of a table red, especially if you have white floors. The light from the floor will reflect up, producing a reddish cast under the table. Guests wont know where the color is coming from. Its like magic. Sarah Cole of Farrow & Ball suggests painting the inside of a bookcase or armoire a dark color. That will set off dishes, glassware, or books, she says.

Opt for ornamentation. Create an interesting pattern on the wall and ignore the intersection where wall and ceiling meet, says Jay Jeffers. a California interior designer. The pattern will distract the eye from the ceiling height or any inconsistencies in the walls themselves. Miami designer Rita Motta decorated the cement floors of her apartment with porch and garage paint. I chose a small, six-by-ten-foot area, about the size of a rug, and drew a mod 60s pattern and painted it yellow. I like to be loud with pattern, and it works well in Miami.

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