Coloring Outside the Box

BY ERIK J. MARTIN ON SEPTEMBER 27TH, 2017

blog-image A dining room painted in Honey Glow from Dunn-Edwards.

Many homeowners like to play it safe by sticking to tried-and-true hues in the paint spectrum, opting for low-risk neutrals like tones of gray, tan or off-white.

But experts say it’s freeing to think outside the Crayola basics box and apply some chromatic character to a room or area by choosing an out-of-the-ordinary and perhaps underappreciated wall color that is neither bland nor brash – one that will harmonize with other interiors yet leave a lasting impression.

“It’s worthwhile to consider painting a room an unconventional color because your walls can act as a statement piece in your home,” says Dan Schaeffer, owner of Five Star Painting in Austin, Texas. “If done correctly, this color can make you and your guests stop to appreciate what the color does for the overall design and feel of the room. And colorful walls also reflect the personality of the homeowner.”

Sara McLean, color expert at Los Angeles-headquartered Dunn-Edwards Paints, agrees.

“Painting with an unconventional color elevates the room to its full potential, creating a welcoming and inspiring atmosphere,” McLean says.

Rooms ripe for color experimentation include bedrooms, powder rooms, and hideaway spots like a home office, library or sitting room, say the experts.

“Areas that aren’t high-traffic gathering places for family and friends typically lend themselves to a bit more creativity. I notice people tend to be more daring in rooms such as the hallway to the bathroom, kids playrooms, and even the laundry room,” Schaeffer says.

The easiest spaces to be extra colorful in are those behind closed doors, “although you can come out of the closet with a bolder color in your living room or dining room, too,” says Sallie Finney Kjos, interior designer/owner with GreyHunt Interiors in Washington, D.C.

Ponder these seven curious paint colors to make a safe yet striking statement:

1. Shadow (Benjamin Moore 2117-30). “While dark, this is a great middle point between favorite gray and a more ambitious purple,” says Ray Wheeler, owner of The Paint Manager, a painting service in Clermont, Fla. “Use this in hallways and foyers for a calming effect.”

2. Honey Glow (Dunn-Edwards DE5354). “Whether you have traditional or modern design elements, this is a beautiful warm, golden yellow that creates a warmth and vibrancy to the room,” McLean says.

3. Salamander (Benjamin Moore 2050-10). This dark blue-green is ideal for an accent wall in the living room that’s complemented with grey and white accents and pine wood floors, Schaeffer says.

4. That’s My Lime (Behr T17-16). One of 20 new limited edition trend colors in Behr’s 2017 palette, this shade of greenish beige adds instant interest to nearly any living space.

5. Cloudberry (Olympic OL677.3). Purple paint doesn’t have to be off-putting, especially if it’s a soothing lavender shade like this, just right for a bedroom.

6. Tropical Teal (Dunn-Edwards DE5754). “Teals are trending again, highlighting references from the sixties and nineties and providing vibrancy and life to a room,” McLean says.

7. Rosy Outlook (Sherwin Williams SW 6316). “This is perfect for a little girl’s playroom or bathroom,” notes Schaeffer. “It’s a light dusty color that provides a great way to mix in an unconventional color without being too over-the-top.”

To ensure more congruent transitions between your curiously colored room and adjacent spaces, don’t overdo it.

“For a more seamless, calm effect that’s not too overwhelming, I suggest picking only one to two rooms to paint in unconventional colors,” McLean says.

Schaeffer recommends painting adjacent rooms a more neutral color, “or at least two shades lighter than the focal room to create more cohesion throughout the house.”

Lastly, remember that it’s best to avoid curious colors when you’re trying to sell your home.

“Potential buyers want the home to be as much of a blank canvas as possible so they can envision their personal style in the home,” Schaeffer adds.

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