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It’s All White

By Rachel Perls of Hue Consulting, decor8 guest writer

White is the color of whipped cream and popcorn, of fresh snow and fluffy clouds. It is the presence of all colors in light, but the absence of color in pigment. White has the vibrancy to rival the brightest hues, so should not be considered a neutral. Think of whitewashed buildings in Greece overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean.

via: Flickr

A common misconception is that white, in and of itself, will make a space bigger and brighter. Much of this depends on the lighting-just picture that small, dark hallway with white walls. It tends to look grey and dingy, doesn?t it? Without light streaming through a big window, it doesn?t work. I must admit, as a color consultant, trained in the psychological and physiological effects of color, I try to steer my clients away from using too much white. From a scientific perspective, studies have shown that it has little, if any, positive psychotherapeutic value. But, these articles on color are good exercises in learning how to embrace something that you might otherwise wrinkle your nose at. And so, without further ado, I bring you, white!

Signifying purity, simplicity, and the barest of essentials, white is a favorite of designers and architects for sparse modern spaces.

It?s also been embraced for a more country feeling; think Rachel Ashwell?s Shabby Chic. Thought of as clean and pristine, you have to be careful not to over-do using white because it runs the risk of appearing cold, lacking emotional warmth, even clinical.

To avoid this effect, off-whites such as ivory, cream, and whites tinted with colors can be layered in, adding texture and softness.

One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

It?s a great place to start with your big ?base? pieces: the couch, fireplace mantle and side chair. Then bring in other colors to really customize the space to your taste. Same basic elements, totally different feel to each.

White is great as an accent, to add contrast, and provide a unifying element through spaces. For instance, white trim, molding and floorboards. Or how about this great idea – artwork all framed in white-so sharp!

White kitchens are quite popular. As a super duper messy cook, my white cabinets and stove are my undoing; every tiny little splatter glares back at me. It sure does look lovely paired with some soft blues, doesn?t it?

via: Fired Earth

Another way to avoid white?s side effect of sterility is to bring in different textures and natural materials. I love the bathroom shown above with soft, natural stone and creamy colored tiles. Just think about all the different materials you can use, all with vastly different looks- stone, ceramic tile, painted wood?

These rooms use the same color scheme, but look at how a few key pieces can completely change its character.

White is a blank canvas, and really is there for you to project your personal tastes and styles upon. How do you feel about white? How do you use it in your home?

{Thank you Rachel for stopping in with your post about white. To read more of Rachel’s insights on color, visit her blog or previous articles written for decor8 right here. -holly}

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, guest bloggers on September 20, 2007

Color of the Month: PURPLE

Rachel Perls, our visiting color expert from Hue Consulting, is back to talk about the decor8 color of the month: Purple!


I have to admit, it was hard for me to select purple because I’m not drawn to it and actually own nothing violet in my home or closet. I think that if there’s one thing design blogging has taught me, it’s to have an open mind and to experiment more with color. For me, this is my big step into the unknown, my way of experimenting with violet a little bit. I rarely show anything violet on this blog so I’m stepping up and embracing all things purple today. Now let’s see what Rachel has to teach us about this rich, regal hue. Take it away, Rachel!

Color of the Month: PURPLE
By: Rachel Perls, decor8 contributor

Ah, the ever-elusive purple, such a misunderstood color*. It makes sense; after-all, it?s composed of two completely opposing colors, red and blue. Dark purples express warmth and sophistication for the winter. In fact, its association with royalty stems back to ancient times when purple dye was very expensive, so only nobles, kings, and queens could afford it. Brighter purples and lilacs express a fresh playfulness for the spring and summer.

Uplifting, spiritual, and mystical, purple has positive associations for Americans. But be careful about how you use it in Europe, as certain shades are powerfully aligned with death for Catholics there. Case in point: the original Euro Disney signs were purple, and visitors perceived them as morbid. Definitely not the impression Disney intended to give.

When it has warm undertones, purple is more closely aligned with the dynamic energy of red. Those with cooler undertones are connected with contemplative, calming blue. Periwinkle is a very blue-based purple. Paired with crisp whites, this room feel very fresh and spring-like. No wonder people have such a hard time interpreting what purple stands for. This can work to purple?s advantage when blue or red just doesn?t fit the bill. (Images from GV Interiors and Gundrun Sjoden.)

What comes to mind when you think of the color purple? For me, it?s my favorite 80?s music icon, Prince. Now there was a man who knew how to take a color, and make it all his own: creative, eccentric, passionate, complex. This kitchen in a house in Mexico can take the saturated hues because of the intense light these southern regions get. It?s important to look at what kind of light your space gets, and chose colors that can hold up in that specific context. (Images from Amazon and SaidAlice on Flickr)


A truly trendy color this season, purple has made its grand entrance into the marketplace through fashion, interior accessories, textiles and beauty products. Purple has infused the market, appealing to women and their eternal quest for beauty. It is truly a hip color for the season in fashion. It’s one of those colors that will last throughout the year because it can change with and adapt to the seasons. (Images from Saks, Tory Burch, various ads online)

This serene space (top left) doesn?t need any embellishments. The large areas of color on the walls keep the room clean and modern. I think this dining room set is so classy, pairing sleek modern lines with a rich textured purple fabric and intricately patterned back. Can you just imagine lounging in this luxurious lilac lavatory? (Images from Domino and Homes + Gardens)

Once relegated to fragile old women, designers now embrace lavender as a calming, feminine, luxuriously soft tone. Purple can be understated and sophisticated when it takes on more of a dusty mauve tone. (Image from Homes and Gardens)

The kitchen is a fun, surprising spot for purple. I have always loved these soft lilac cabinets. Doesn’t this look like a fun spot to prepare a meal? (Image from Sunset)

Purple can be brought into your d?cor through artwork, flowers, pillows, candles, so many accessories, so little time! (Image from Location Works)

Purple can be incorporated into outdoor living spaces, too, through natural elements like flowers. Isn?t this wisteria vine gorgeous? (Image from Domino)

..or even an over-the-top bathtub! Wow. Would you dare to go this bold in your bathroom? (Image from Bolig)

Purple is a malleable color, so put your own creative spin on it to suit your personal taste. Go forth, dare to explore the color purple in all its tints and tones. As you can see, the options are endless. Have fun! – Rachel Perls

*A footnote on terminology: purple is an imprecise term for both mixtures of red and blue and pure colors in the violet range of the spectrum. Read more here on purple versus violet: violet is spectral; purple is extraspectral.

Thanks, Rachel! For more color-inspired posts, please visit previous posts on Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green. In June, we’ll be learning about Orange, so stay tuned. (We usually do our color of the month posts here mid month.) I’ll be back with more purple inspiration of my own later on today…

(top images from Living At Home and Living Etc.)

Follow The Yellow Brick Road…

More yellow to love, refreshing, energetic bursts of joy! From shoes to fashion, brides to stationery, there’s so much out there in sassy, classy yellow. Be inspired!

Brides magazine

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips on April 14, 2007

Yellow Interior Inspiration

You can always count on Domino magazine to deliver some of the best spaces. Here are a just a few of my favorites… Pay attention to the fabulous use of yellow in these rooms. Some with just a touch, others that really pile it on. From sunny yellow, to lovely jewel tones, this color cheers, warms, welcomes, and ushers in a positive feel-good mood.

QUICK BITE: If you don’t have a touch of yellow in your space and you’d like to change that ASAP, visit the grocery store. All you need at home is a bowl or glass vase. Pick up a bag of beautiful lemons and some tulips. The lemons can go in the kitchen, dining room, or living area in a vase or bowl. If you have an entry, you can place a clear vase with them inside on your entry table. Tulips look good anywhere. And don’t forget to cut a few lemons and let them infuse your home with zesty goodness. You need not invest in a gallon of paint or a new duvet to bring this color into your home – lemons and some tulips will do just fine for now. :)

(images from domino)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips on April 13, 2007

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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