Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Use Color to Help Sell Your Home

Did you know that the wrong color can be an obstacle in selling your house? The use of color causes emotional and psychological responses in buyers. And after all, your best buyer is one who feels emotionally or psychologically connected to your house.

When considering color for your house, it is important to have a color theme that resonates from room to room and creates a harmonious and visual "flow". This doesn't mean to paint all the rooms the same, but all the colors and values should relate to one another. If you were to put all the colors in all the rooms together the palette should look coordinated- not necessarily "matched".

While some may advocate off whites and beige for a neutral palette, these rooms will most likely look dull, boring and depressing unless you use lots of contrasting values and textures. For example, in a very neutral off-white room, create interest and drama with rough textured wood (such as a distressed reclaimed wood floor) mixed with chrome, glass, polished wood, steel, nubby fabrics, silk, driftwood, etc... you get the idea. Go the gamut from black to stark white for accents and accessories (lamps, trim, pillows, art, etc.).

When using yellow, be careful as it can often cause agitation. If yellow is creamy and light or neutralized into a pale gold, it mellows enough to emote sunshine. Bright shots of lemon yellow as accents can be great in otherwise boring spaces. Even a bowl of fresh lemons kept in a kitchen can give an energetic lift to the space.

Green is often considered relaxing, refreshing and healing, but can also be considered sickly and associated with hospitals. A bright bamboo green or granny smith apple green can be great as an accent wall with wood cabinetry or in an all white kitchen.

Blues are strong in fashion and design right now. Bluish lavenders that are very greyed out and neutralized are very sophisticated, but tricky to pull off without looking gloomy. My advice for using blue is to keep them very pale and greyish to look elegant and sophisticated and blend with creams, tans, browns, silver and white for a fresh, elegant palette.

Red is a color associated with blood, aggression and stimulation. It is a very strong color and is often used in dining rooms as it stimulates the appetite and is very dramatic and sets a romantic mood. However, if you love red, keep the wall colors neutral in tans and golds and use shots of red in fabrics and accessories. Red can also be very effective in a powder room as it creates drama and mood in a very small space.

Orange will make a statement. Period. Orange is powerful and can easily overpower a space. Use shots of orange in oversized pillows in a neutral room that includes tans, rich walnut brown, grey, black & white to create tension and energy.

When choosing neutral shades of tans or brown to paint, compare the paint chips of all the tans on the manufacturers color wheel to compare the shades. By comparing the shades together, tonal differences will show up. Do you want your tan color to have a greenish cast like khaki or a pink cast, or bluish cast? The nuance will be greatly enhanced when painted on the walls. My favorite neutral paint color for a "one size fits all-goes with everything" neutral is Sherwin Williams Latte, Nomadic Desert, Hopsack and Coconut Husk. All these colors are various strengths (values) of the same color.

When in doubt, call me and I'll help you figure it out.

5 Tips to Make a Small Room Feel Bigger

We all seem to want more, bigger, better, taller, faster, etc. these days. We want our homes to feel bigger, especially as people are starting to downsize and economize. There are several design tricks that you can do to make a small space feel taller, wider or larger.

1. Use window treatments to maximize the size of a room. This can also maximize or call attention to a view. By bringing attention to the outside, you are also visually expanding interior space. Hang full length, floor to ceiling drapery panels beyond both sides of a window and 2-3" below the crown molding (or 4-5" below ceiling if there is no crown molding). It is amazing how effective window treatments can transform a small space.

2. Use paint colors to create visual depth in a small room by painting the ceiling the same color or a shade or two lighter value than the color on the walls. You can also play with depth by painting a feature wall in a room 2-3 shades darker in value of the same color on the walls. Also use the dark color for insets and the back of bookshelves to increase visual depth.

3. In a small room, use larger furniture. Small furniture in a small room tends to emphazise how small the room is. But be careful to not over-scale the furniture so that it "eats the space".

4. Use vertical stripes or patterns in wallpaper or paint to make a room feel taller. For example, after painting a room in a matte finish, a subtle striping can be acheived by taping off vertical wide stripes (8-14" wide) with a semi-gloss clear coat polyeurathane or a pearlized glaze to visually expand the height of a room. It works the same way to stripe horizontally to make a room feel wider or bigger. You can even get the expanded feeling by just striping one large wall as an accent or feature wall. Another example is to use a textured wallcovering such as grass cloth. I love it and it's back! Hang the grass cloth horizontally for a more contemporary look. The natural horizontal pattern will make the room feel wider.

5. Tall bookshelves will make a room feel bigger. Don't skimp, but go big! You can even use base cabinetry topped with open bookshelves all the way to the ceiling to really make a room feel much larger and more interesting. Be careful though, as you want to keep the open bookshelves free of clutter. Resist the urge to use lots of little nic nacs and photos. This is where a good interior designer can really help you merchandise the shelves so they can display collections and interesting objects that mean something to you plus, they provide great storage which is often lacking in small rooms.