Lamenting the loss of colour

blfentonMay 6, 2011

I don't know if others have noticed this but I'm noticing a lack of colour in the rooms that are portrayed in magazines. My latest Elegant Homes and Style at Home are both basically brown from the front cover to the back cover. Everything is neutral and interest in a room is conveyed through texture.

What ever happened to being committed to colour? Reading coastal_modern_love's post and looking at her kitchen with the vibrant blue lights and backsplash really made me sit up and take notice.

We did a whole house reno last summer and when we moved back in I noticed that my house was brown. Brown floors (midtone Maple hardwood), cream cabinets, giallo ornamentale granite(brown), brown walls of varying degrees throughout, natural maple in the bathrooms, brown tile, brown granite counter (wenge which is my favourite thing in the whole reno) but all brown.

We had a KD and to be fair to her, I wanted the whole house to flow seamlessly from one room to the next and that it does.

I have noticed that our slate in the front entrance has grey-blues and gold-orange in it (Oyster slate) and our copper inlay backsplash behind the range has variegated copperish orangey tones and so I am slowly building up a blue with brown colour scheme and orange accents.

One of my grandmother's painting (she was an amateur artist) has blues and oranges in it through a floral arrangement and I found a platter that I really like which as become my colour "inspiration". (The plate is Bird Delight White Chop Plate if you want to google it and see it). But I'm bringing colour in through accents and artwork rather than fully committing to it through expensive permanent pieces.

Have you noticed this trend at all? If you have "committed " to colour, How did you do it and what is your favourite colour in your home and where is it?

I now have a blue chair near my grandmother's painting and some orange stripped pots with plants beside my platter, I also have a hammered-copper bowl which I really like under a copper clock in the shape of a frying pan. These are in the kitchen/family room. The orange in the pots and in the picture are the stars. I also have a large squamish rock fireplace that I now notice has orangey tones in it so I'll do something in the living room to accent it.

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I did things a bit backwards. I have a LOT of help in the form of painters, carpenters and handymen. Wen I am offered any help I take it. Our house basically stayed empty and in the condition we bought it in for 4 years while I researched and learned and decided. A family member offered his help in painting the interior of house. I RAN to the paint store and started picking colors I loved, not yet knowing what furniture was going in! , I did have some old pieces that were being replaced- 1 couch, 1 table & chair set and TV (not including bedroom sets). The walls were originally cream, the tile floors cream, the toung-n-groove ceilings and beams cream. My thought process was to incorporate color first in the walls (which could easily be repainted). But when the paint went up I was hooked. All the remodeling and redecorating we did had color incorporated in things that could be changed easily like accessories and paint. My favorite color is blue (mostly aqua/turquoise tones) and have it incorporated throughout many spaces.

My summer house I changed things up. ONLY because it is a beach house and I am sooo inspired by the rooms I see in magazines like Coastal Living, did I decide to go mostly all white walls, slipcovered furniture, moldings and cabinetry. I am bringing in a lot of texture through wood items and tones, textiles and objects. I am doing something unexpected here with color- painting the ceilings a pale turquoise. And of course my accessories will all be bright and beachy. I do what I love and not worry if it is "in style" if it will "go out of style" or if it is overdone as some people have mentioned. Only I will be living there. My friends and family have such diverse decorating styles that we can appreciate the beauty and decor style of each other. That is why I love this forum.

And SORRY to go OT a bit...
There are some bashers out here that make fun of us who post pics saying we are "braggarts". I do not or did not come here for any such thing. We have had a hand in every aspect of our design including the labor. If I see a pic of a million dollar kitchen or bath or house, I can admire without being jealous and take from it ideas and tips to bring into my design. Others feel differently and that is too bad for them, their loss. If they want to post negatively about pic posters and sound petty and jealous, that is their right and they will live with their bad karma. We are having fun in what we do, love connecting with people who have similar interests, and like to pass on our opinions (professional or not).

Everything I did in my home took years to plan and save for, and the research I did was laborous. We visited open houses, took landscaping tours, looked at books and magazines and learned what we could to bring in elements to our design. I could not afford landscape designers, interior decorators or master builders. When the time came for my kitchen remodel I did enlist the help of a KD because of some difficult areas that i knew I would need help with. We come from trade working families who help each other out when needed. So that is why all these posts and pics are pivotal in my learning and planning.

Thanks to all who put their homes out for us to see and learn from. Keep posting your ideas and dreams. We are here to help and be thankful of the professionals here who go out of their way to give advice and encouragement and criticism.

Can not wait to read more stories and ideas and thoughts and of course KEEP POSTING THOSE PICS!!!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:16AM
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Neutral tones throughout a house are soothing and relaxing but (for myself) can get boring.

I once painted my living room a dark red. I now squirm at the thought but I enjoyed it at the time. Two coats of paint and it was ready for sale...and paint is sooooo cheap to accessorize with.

Our new home though 15 years old when we bought it, still had ALL "virgin" walls (bachelor lived here and did no decorating). After thinking about it for a year over the look I wanted for the house, I got so sick of white walls, woodwork, carpet, countertops, and cabinets I went up and bought a can of paint to just put some color into the house. I painted a few accent walls and we all liked it so much, we have decided that we are going to paint more of the house with it. I picked a greyed down eggplant and love it!!! It looks neutral in a dramatic way and, as all colors do, it changes extensively throughout the day.

We too have decided to use color where it can be easily and inexpensively changed out. We are putting in floor to ceiling (10') white drapes and have taupe couches. I can change out the pillows for that as I wanted. The eggplant is more neutral but I don't want to overpower the room (like I did with the red).

CML as you know I love your kitchen and if you hadn't posted it, I wouldn't have been able to visualize it. It's like having an idea but it's hard to put into words, a picture can put say it w/o the words. It's fun to share your excitement with others especially after all the hard work and decisions have been made. I see post from others asking how the project ended up. Life is for sharing and GW is just another way to connect with can never have enough "friends".

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:25PM
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We have lots of color. Our kitchen is going to be blue and white as I'm sure everyone knows. Our gathering room book cases will be the same blue as the fireplace, sunroom fireplace is the same blue bahia. The conservatory, dining room and great room are going to have stained blue and yellow (a different blue) to match the blue and yellow tile mural inset into the hardwood floor in the entry way. Master bath is blue and grey w/ wall and floor in blue tiles and blue vessel sinks, upstairs bath is light blue in one bath with a stained glass mural. The other bathroom will be in greens with a cabinet painted with flowers. The house has navy blue shingles, navy blue door. There's no safe and no browns.

Sometimes, I get a little nervous. What if I get sick of all these colors and end up hating everything after a few years. But, then I realize I grew up in a house with these colors. And I don't want boring... So, that's what it is. I hope it turns out OK.

Coastal, I must have missed the thread where people were bashed as being braggarts. I like posting pictures because I'm really excited and I want to share my excitement. This is my very first house and I've spent countless hours upon hours agonizing over every detail and trying to make it perfect. I like to share my excitement and most of my IRL friends are not yet in the home-buying phase of their lives or not into decorating like I am, so this forum is where I find like-minded people who care about decorating who I can share some of my excitement with.

Preclude intro into pictures :)

My tile mural border that is framing the inset tile mural in the hall. The inside will be a checkerboard pattern of tiles in the same blue and yellowy color and the cabinets will be stained to match these colors:

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:31PM
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LOL I think it's just that we get bored and have do to something different...and thank God for that!

We're in the Florida Keys, trying to get this house sold, so we can move up to the mainland and get a few acres.
But for the most part, everything down here is so colorful, I can't wait to move and do beige and white! The colors are starting to drive me crazy!

I even want the "out of style" white kitchen with marble counter tops. I figure I can add any color to that depending on what mood I'm in and that will go with a farm house.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:36PM
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Colors all cycle to some degree, the same with woods and flooring. I've had the rusts and browns, and the hunter and burgundy and the peach and green which was concurrent with the mauve and country blue theme.
In one kitchen I had oak cabs and a rust leather look counter, not much I could do the change up the color scheme without replacing everything...sold that house before I had to redo.
In my current home I had put in a new kitchen in 1992 and got caught in the peach phase of 'in' colors. Can you see where I'm going? I get influenced by current trends. When I started to seriously think about redoing the kitchen about a year ago, the one thing I had on my mind was to not make my same mistakes with trendy colors on anything permanent. So I picked a very neutral palette on purpose.

Still, I'm in love with color and chose to indulge myself with aqua wall paint in the new kitchen. I don't have a lot of wall space showing and I really like the accent. I can paint the entire kitchen with a quart of paint. I was influenced though by the current trend of using gray as the new neutral and I love it. I feel I can go off in any direction with my accent colors. My second floor is all done in a med/light taupe and My still to be finished main level will all flow with gray for now. Colorful accents are fun.

I think there has been so many strong trendy colors that people in general are ready to do neutrals. Take a look at Pottery Barn items, they aren't my style but I know that is what people are loving at the moment and what designers and home stagers are suggesting.

Factor in the economy and the cost of redecorating and I think it's easy to see why neutrals are big at this time. IMO.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Beagles, that post wasn't in kitchens. I won't say details but it is on what was another of my favorite forum's other side here.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Coastal_modern_love - I love Coastal Living and I'm trying to liven up my neutral brown interior with some ideas from it.

wizardnm- you make a good point about how, if we're older we have been through the gamut when it comes to colours in our home. Prior to our reno my kitchen floors - carpet and laminate had the greeney blue and burgundy trend in them and my living room/dining room curtains had a swirly pattern of the peach and green.

Gosh maybe I shouldn't be lamenting the loss of colour.

But I was wondering if the economy played a part in our decision. It is so cheap and easy to go to Winners or Home Sense and pick up a couple of very inexpensive things to bring in colour.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 4:43PM
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Funny you should bring this up as I have been thinking of this very thing. I think my home would look hopelessly outdated to some here. I love pale yellow, oranges, purples, certain shades of red and teals. I have used these colors for over twenty years. I could not live happily without color. When I did the kitchen recently I added yellow uppers and cherry base cabs...not a real popular color combo for some but it makes me happy. I did have a period in time when my style was all the rage. I will not change but I secretly wish the mags would show more color so I could feel cool again lol.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:56PM
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I grew up with so much colour, then added colour in my home for so long, that I have been getting sicker by the minute of it, lol

So interesting and informative to read about your colours though. I don't know what colour I would want to paint my rooms because I tend to decide, and after a week or two, change my mind.

Interesting topic.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 1:45AM
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I also think there is a loss of pattern.

Elle Decor for one, is full of eclectic rooms, full of pattern and color, (and full of wallpaper and broadloom carpet) but it does not seem to be one of the favorite magazines of GWers.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 12:01AM
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i agree with both loss of color and, as pal, said lack of pattern too. I am toying with wallpapering the hall but after spending my first 6months in this house stripping laura asley florals off 1800square feet of walls i am afraid to paper a large space. Has any one used a stencil wallpaper pattern on a large area before? A painted damask seems like less work to change when my tastes change again.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 8:31AM
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I love Elle Decor. Also a big fan of House Beautiful. And I love color, but I hate it when they feature an interior by Miles Redd because his rooms seriously make me nauseated and dizzy and I have to turnthepageveryquickly.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 7:10PM
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I've actually noticed the opposite trend - a decade ago, everyone seemed to want off-whites or muted colors; now I'm seeing more boldly colored walls and furniture. In real life that is; I don't often read the mags.

Anyways, it's not like you have to make *your* house look the same as what's in this month's magazine.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 2:10PM
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I know this thread is old, but I just got the HUGE Restoration Hardware catalog (first time ever, I have never purchased anything from them or requested their catalog) - talk about blah! It's page after page of monochromatic greys and browns, generally one picture spread per one or two pages. Not sure why they wasted trees on that. I threw it into the recycle trash. I remember being so excited over the similarly sized Sears catalogue when we lived in the country as a child- and that catalogue had everything, not just decor. Yet they discontinued that years ago due to cost.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 6:52PM
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BL, to my mind this has been going on for a very long time now. Amount and brightness of color varies with national mood, and with socioeconomic outlooks. I'm older, and had never been beige and brown lover, so I noticed when, just about around the time the country went significantly more conservative and starting talking a lot about "family values," etc., approximately the 1980s, color started disappearing from cars on the roads, eventually brown and gray and black cars everywhere, the only color still out red. Brown and beige on the upswing inside homes, "real" colors in dull and muted versions (hunter green, maroon) or softened from bright to pastel. Like that washed-out mauve and teal or dusty blue period. This was all opposed to the bright sunshine yellows, kelly green, oranges, etc., that not everyone wanted before, by a long shot, but had nevertheless been so much more common. Now you found them only in high-end stores.

The country's feeling pretty battered now, at least 70% of it anyway, so no surprise if people once again are reacting by retrenching to what feels more safe and sober from what reflects an adventurousness and enthusiasm they just aren't feeling.

Sort of sad, maybe, because when you look at studies on color preferences, brown is consistently among the less liked colors of a lot of people.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Scrappy25: there were a couple of threads about the RH catalogue over on the conversation side of Home Decorating. You weren't the only one where the catalogue went from the mailbox straight to the recycling.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 7:26PM
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I love color...but more pastels than dark tones. I don't like gray or any gray tones, but that may be due to our very long winters.

While I do like wood floors, brick fireplaces and lots of plants (almost a 70s vibe) I also like lots of creamy white woodwork, painted furniture and cottage prints. Usually, I like smaller patterns on larger pieces, with a bit of pop for the accents. So, I would like flowered pillows on the back of a banquette, but not an entire room (wallpaper, fabric, rug) of cabbage roses.

Acutally, I prefer violets and smaller, cottage style flowers to formal ones and would like to mix in some plaids, stripes, ginghams, etc. in a kitchen or sunroom. I really don't like brown, although tan is okay, but mainly I'd use it in a 'guys' room, such as my husband's bar/TV area. Mainly blues, greens, creams, wood, brick and a little pink and purple floral for me. I love being in the garden, so if the inside feels like that, I'm happy :)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 4:30PM
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