Let fireworks inspire your color palette
It’s the Fourth of July - time for the sky to serve as a backdrop for blasts of colorful fireworks celebrating our nation’s freedom. But what about the walls in your house? Do they also serve as a backdrop for color and diversity? If not, this could be the year you stop playing it safe.
Since the housing crisis began and the financial crisis took our breath away, Americans have retreated to the safety of their homes. Most of us are eating more meals at home, less four-star restaurants; more stay-vacations, less South of France; and more neutral colors and less Brazil. Our big ticket items especially have tended to be neutral - cars, furniture, floor coverings - almost as if we’re looking for the color equivalent of comfort food; mac and cheese instead of paella.
Unlike Europeans who still favor rooms with a lot of gold accents and walls of yellow and orange, Americans’ love affair with neutral colors continues to flourish with some changes. Grey with its wide range of hues from soft gray to charcoal is the new brown, but combined with discrete splashes of vibrant yellows, reds and oranges. Organic greens continue to gain color strength based on the growing shift toward eco-consciousness, and the surge of blue after 9/11 remains a comfort to many. The surprise of the year is violet catching fire especially in the younger generation as well as high gloss paint and walls with antique patinas. Wine and amethyst are also colors we’ve seen sprint to the front of the color charts.
And speaking of color charts it may be time to throw yours away. All the major paint companies have fabulous websites with on line color charts, companion color suggestions and more advice about painting that you could even imagine. Sherwin-Williams also has a room visualizer where you can upload a photo of one of your rooms and change the wall colors to see what works best. If uploading a photo is a little too geeky you can choose one of their rooms which most closely resembles the room in your house.
Sherwin-Williams also just came out with a new smart phone app called ColorSnap which at first may seem like something you will never need. But think again; for example you’re having fun with your friends touring the Anna Maria Tour of Homes in March and one of the properties has just the exact color in the kitchen you’ve been looking for. Simply bring up the ColorSnap app and take a picture of the wall. The app will then tell you what color in their color palette comes closest to the picture along with Sherwin-Williams’ inventory number. They will also give you a choice of coordinating colors and inventory numbers, and you can explore their color palettes on your smart phone, hopefully not while you’re driving. The photo is saved in your photos and can be used again or deleted.
ColorSnap isn’t perfect since photos of colors are not always true to the actual color but it will get you in the ball park if you happen to run across something unusual. The app is available for free in Apple’s App Store.
How about making this the year of more is more? Embrace the real estate turn around that we’re just starting to believe by painting your home happy with color you were once afraid of. Make your July Fourth an explosion of color in the sky and on the walls.