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    Tired of grey everything? Here’s how to get a more vibrant home

    Lindsey M Roberts

    THE WASHINGTON POST – Like many of us in the past decade, Senior Home Editor at Real Simple magazine Leslie Corona has generally avoided using colour in her home. White walls, after all, can look better on Instagram. “But then I bought a condo,” she said, “and I thought, ‘I don’t want to have a boring white box’.” So she painted her bedroom walls and ceiling blue.

    She chose spruce-green chairs for the dining area, and she hung navy grass-cloth wallpaper in the office.

    Corona is right on trend, according to owner of Sharp and Grey Interiors in Philadelphia Libby Rawes, who is seeing less white and grey and more olive, rust, ocher, mustard, beige and other “nice, warm colours” in furniture and accessories.

    If you’re also ready to add more colour, warmth and life to your home, here are some tips on how to do it.

    CREATE A VISION
    Pick a palette
    Think about what colours you like to wear, because these tend to reflect your preferences.

    From there, look at complementary shades. Rawes said red and blue work together, as do orange and green. Corona likes blue-green and peach; pink and sea foam; yellow, purple-grey and plum; or mossy green and pink.

    Pink fridge, the same colour as the door. PHOTO: SOPHIA FERRARI-WILLS

    Test paint colours
    When putting colours on your walls, the general advice is to test them with 12-by-12-inch pieces of paper or even larger pieces of painted poster board. Move the square around to see how different lighting affects it. “Hold it near the floors, as well as other permanent fixtures to see how it looks,” Rawes said.

    Visualise your space
    Online design tools can help you sample a colour scheme. Pinterest allows you to combine paint colours, furniture and accessories on a virtual mood board.

    HOW TO ADD COLOUR
    Start small
    Test-drive your palette with accessories, which are easy to change. Try a colourful pot on the stove, a vibrant scarf draped over the edge of a frame or on a piano top, hand towels in the bathroom or a fun doormat. Fresh flowers are another great option with minimal commitment. Rawes also suggests picking up a bouquet at a local florist. For a quick and easy arrangement, she likes hydrangeas, tulips or eucalyptus.

    Try wallpaper
    Bold, patterned wallpaper is a tried-and-true way to add colour and interest to any space.

    Newer options have made it easier to hang – and remove. But even temporary wallpaper can be costly. Corona suggests using it in small doses, such as inside a closet, in a powder room or on a laundry room wall. Looking for another less expensive way to inject colour and interest? Many DIY bloggers are painting patterns that look like wallpaper, such as herringbone or ones with abstract shapes.

    Branch out with furniture
    “Rich, coloured furniture looks great in a neutral space,” Rawes said. But don’t go overboard; it’s important to balance it with lighter or neutral colours and textures. And try to limit yourself to two or three bold colours in a space, including furniture, textiles and accessories.

    Think “a bold blue sofa with a floral blue-and-blush chair with a hint of green, paired with a more neutral rug or wallpaper”, Rawes said. She also likes leathers and velvets in warm hues.

    Most clients are open to colourful furniture as long as the pieces themselves feel classic, she said. But for those who are hesitant, she suggests experimenting with slipcovers, available from a variety of sources.

    Get creative with paint
    Painting porch ceilings (or the ceiling of a room) is a fun option. Rawes also recommends painting trim. Choose a colour that contrasts with the colour on your walls, especially a darker colour. Or go the opposite direction and paint an entire room – walls, trim, ceiling – with the same colour. Rawes said you can create contrast with sheens: flat on the ceiling, eggshell on the walls and a satin or semi-gloss on the trim.

    Paint your appliances
    Kitchen appliances don’t have to be white, black or grey. More companies are offering appliances in bold colours, but if you don’t want to replace what you have, you can paint them. “It achieves that unique and prettier look without the price tag of an expensive, colourful brand,” said Ferrari-Wills, who painted her fridge pink. It’s also something you can easily change if you decide you don’t like it in the future.

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