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Get Your Home Mojo Working: Tips & Inspiration to Use Bold Color

Posted By Cheryl Terrace On February 24, 2009 @ 4:36 pm In Eco Decorating, Green Living | No Comments

istock_000005214774smallMardi Gras is this week — and its colorful mix of cultures brimming with delicious spices is fantastic inspiration for home design. Bold use of COLOR is the new trend in all the design magazines; I think it reflects the times — a bold new world and mold-breaking new administration.

Let the colors of paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, chili pepper, coriander, cocoa and chicory [1] inspire you to spice up your space!

Don’t be afraid — you CAN use lots of bold color without going overboard. My client Hal Hinkle (a big-time greenie) [2] now calls this “the happiest room in his penthouse” on the upper west side — but I had to nudge him into it.


Hal Hinkle's happy room

“You want to paint my living room racecar red?!” he’d asked. But when I answered, “Yup,” he said, “Lets try it — it’s paint … we can always paint it over it.” But then he loved it!

Try these tips to help you use rich, vibrant color fearlessly in your home décor:

1. Use neutrals to ground the color


Hal's place again

Incorporate lots of natural elements such as natural linen drapery or natural home furniture [3] and fixtures.

Think jambalaya, gumbo, crayfish étouffée. The spices add flavor and color, but are not the main ingredient.

I used neutral window coverings to ground the vibrant red in Hal’s penthouse. You can use anything from a neutral-hued sofa or pillows to a neutral area rug [4] or simply a wood floor.

2. Go for high-impact color, low eco-impact

french-quarter-recycled-soda-bottle-rug-in-cranberry1 [5]

"French Quarter" Recycled Soda Bottle Rug in cranberry

Many dyes are harmful to the health of workers and the environment. Opt for organic towels [6], organic bedding [7], furnishings, carpeting and paint. The “race-car” red I used in Hal Hinkle’s penthouse is from Farrow & Ball [8] — check out their great selection of environmentally friendly paints.

Anchor an indoor/outdoor space with a shot of rich eco-color by adding a recycled-soda-bottle rug [9] — check out this French Quarter design [9].

3. Honor the amount of natural light where you live

… and tweak your color scheme to make it fit without being out of place (or, God forbid, garish). I’d never design a Santa Fe motif in New York City. You can see how one wall of Hal’s space looks like a brighter red than the other wall in these photos — just because of the difference in the angle of the natural light.

4. Add culture and color with handmade artisan finds

Handpainted Decorative Plates from Gaiam's One World Marketplace [10]
Handpainted Decorative Plates from Gaiam’s One World Marketplace

Accent your spaces with hand-painted vases, handmade floor pillows or meditation cushions, decorative plates and wall art, hand-carved treasures, and shawls or throws to drape over chairs.

Just a few accents, in the deep colors used in many traditional designs, can really “pop” and add drama and energy to a room. And in the process you can help preserve craftsmanship techniques handed down through generations [11] of indigenous cultures.

Get ideas in Etsy’s Bayou section [12] and Gaiam’s Fair Trade products [13].

5. Before you get creative, get inspired

I adore almost everything about the city of New Orleans: its music, food, architecture, people, even the hot weather! I go often to visit my family (my sister lives there) and I’ve enjoyed many (many) Mardi Gras and Jazz Festivals. The vibrance inspires me! So I want to share with you some of my favorite New Orleans sources to inspire you to spice up your home and life:

  • I find some fantastic antiques for my clients on Magazine Street [14].
  • The art scene is on fire right now in this town. I recently went down to experience the largest biennial [15].
  • There’s plenty of green-home inspiration in post-Katrina New Orleans, including Brad Pitt’s Make It Right project [16].
  • Music is the best muse! WWOZ in New Orleans is one of the all-around best radio stations featuring truly indigenous American music — including some of the best happy dance music, Zydeco! You can listen online [17] from anywhere to inspire those spicy decorating ideas!

There’s no place like (down) home. IKO IKO all day!

Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com

URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/home-mojo-tips-inspiration-to-use-bold-color/

URLs in this post:

[1] chicory: http://www.cafedumonde.com/coffee.html

[2] Hal Hinkle (a big-time greenie): http://www.thehcf.org/globalwarmingintro.html

[3] natural home furniture: http://www.gaiam.com/category/eco-home-outdoor/living-space/furniture.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[4] neutral area rug: http://www.gaiam.com/category/eco-home-outdoor/living-space/rugs.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[5] Image: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=ikoB54HG8Ag&offerid=140003.10005614&type=3&subid=0

[6] organic towels: http://www.gaiam.com/product/thick+-+thirsty+organic+towels.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[7] organic bedding: http://www.gaiam.com/category/eco-home-outdoor/bedroom.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[8] Farrow & Ball: http://www.farrow-ball.com

[9] recycled-soda-bottle rug: http://www.gaiam.com/product/french+quarter+pattern+reversible+all-weather+floor+mat.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[10] Image: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=ikoB54HG8Ag&offerid=127265.10002972&type=3&subid=0

[11] craftsmanship techniques handed down through generations: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/How-Does-Fair-Trade-Makes-a-Difference-One-World-by-Gaiam-in-Action.html

[12] Etsy’s Bayou section: http://www.etsy.com/storque/spotlight/etsy-finds-journey-down-to-the-bayou-3486/

[13] Fair Trade products: http://www.gaiam.com/category/fair-trade.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[14] Magazine Street: http://www.magazinestreet.com/

[15] biennial: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/artworld/2008/11/24/081124craw_artworld_schjeldahl

[16] Brad Pitt’s Make It Right project: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/09/brad-pitts-new-orleans-under-construction.php

[17] listen online: http://www.wwoz.org/programs/streams

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