Living In Color

Merriam-Webster defines color as the visual perception of how an object reflects light. So, unless you have decided to just sit in the dark, you are surrounded by color. We often rush by the colors in our life but whether we actively notice or not, color is a powerful force of nature. Animals use it to keep predators away and to woo potential mates. Plants use color to attract pollinators and to disperse seeds for future growth. We humans are attracted to colors because of the way they make us feel.

Color informs our decision making from what we wear, to what we eat, to how we decorate our home. Every year, color experts from around the world create new palettes of color they believe will attract consumers. These new colors influence color-conscious industries such as fashion, home furnishings, and product design. Being more agile than other businesses, fashion houses are the first to present new color trends. Colors hit the runway a couple of years before we see it in home furnishings.

Paint companies have started releasing “Colors of the Year” to inspire us to update our homes. Painting is one of the easiest ways to make an immediate change. In addition to protecting your home’s value, it can make an invaluable change in how you feel every day.

Selecting paint colors can be daunting. Here are some things to think about when you get started:

Choose colors that create the mood you are looking for. Painting the whole house or most of the house one color can give a home a serene, calm effect. It can create a neutral palette on which to layer colorful textiles and furnishings. We love Benjamin Moore’s Fossil for all over the house. Just change up the paint’s finish for the walls, trim and ceiling. If you want more variety, we like painting special rooms coordinating colors. The master bedroom can be a place to bring in another color to set it apart from the rest of the house.

Having neutral walls doesn’t mean they need to be painted gray or white. A color can be neutral when it doesn’t compete with your furnishings and accessories. Creams, dusty greens and blues, along with umbers and siennas can all be neutral. The new hues you will see for 2021 are colorful, just more subdued than we have seen in the past. Everything in the interior design world is being called “natural” and “organic” right now.

Ceilings should always be painted a color, even if that color is white. Make a deliberate decision. We recommend using a lighter version of the wall color on your ceilings.

Painted kitchen cabinets and islands are still a great choice. The kitchen is a place to be a bit bolder with color. If you are up for trying black on some of your millwork, we really like Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Oil. It’s black with a little brown thrown in.

If you are going to stop with paint and not update furnishings, keep in mind how your current pieces will look with the new color scheme. And if you have decided to paint your bedroom a different color, here’s a designer tip: update your linens in the paint color of the rest of the house for harmony between spaces. Use the “mad” money you have tucked away and splurge on a little luxury.
Magazine pictures of beautiful homes are surely inspirational and we say gather some of those. They can really help you narrow down what you like. But don’t forget to appreciate all of the color around you. Take a drive, a hike, or a walk and really look at the colors of South Mississippi. From the browns in the brackish bayou waters to the orange and pinks in a winter sunset, we are surrounded by inspiring colors. Spend some time outside and then get down to business on the inside.

Holly Harrison has been a licensed interior designer for over 35 years. Shannon Stage has spent nearly 20 years in the giftware industry. Together they own Sassy Bird Interiors in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

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