Debbie Travis: How to use bright colors in small spaces
Q Is it advisable to use a bright color mix in a small space? My studio apartment is tiny — it's basically one room — but I am drawn to yellow, orange and even lime greens.
A: Color is a major element in setting the mood for your home. If you love these bright colors, then that's what you should work with. One way to introduce these juicy tones is through accents such as fabrics, pottery and art. This gives you the option of adding and changing your color dose whenever the spirit moves you. But there is no reason to stop there. The one-room living space shown here is tiny too — just 487 square feet. But it didn't stop architect and designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace from going all out with this year's hottest color, Pantone's Tangerine Tango. Taylor says that the new orange is a cleaner Hermes orange that is different from the '70s. It's a classic, not a trend. Pair it with white and gray for an elegant yet punchy look.
Stripes are a great design tool. A wide stripe breaks up the surface and, in fact, makes a space appear larger; vertical stripes add height to a room. The juxtaposition of wide to narrow stripes creates visual conflict and interest. Mixing in varied colors adds even more contrast and complexity. In this space, the stripe pattern has been introduced in varying sizes, paneled off over the bed, running beside solid gray on the walls, inset on kitchen cabinetry. It's a bright but orderly design that wouldn't work for everyone, but then what does? Enjoy your color favorites!
Q: The wall beside the stairway on our main floor is not flat. There is a continuous bump or slight bulge at the drywall join. I have attempted to camouflage this by turning it into a photo wall, but I wonder how it could be fixed.
A: To fix it properly you need to find out what is causing the bump. Is it a poorly taped join, or is there something behind the drywall that is causing this?
You'll have to cut open the wall to check this out. If you are looking for other camouflage options, then think about stripes. They look great, especially in hallways, and you can devise your own pattern. Make sure the stripe that covers the bump is matte or a pattern.
Q: Our house is 19 years old, and, at that time, pink carpets and walls were the “in” thing. Now I want to completely redo and am thinking of going gray, different shades depending on the light. The kitchen and dining room are very bright with large windows. Would a very dark gray be OK there? Tiles and floor are white. I value your opinion.
A: I receive many letters asking about gray. It is the new neutral, and will develop many moods depending on the shade. This versatile color can read as both contemporary and traditional, and is a good choice when you decide to refresh your decor without having to replace or reinvent your furnishings. Dark gray for the dining room is fine, a plummy shade that looks rich and welcoming. You might go a few shades lighter for the kitchen, a work space that requires a brighter touch, even with all those windows. Or paint one dark accent wall or backsplash to link to the dining area.