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Earlier this week I mentioned that we are painting our home next weekend. We would prefer to just hire the job out, but that kind of cash isn’t handy now and I’m really sick of the “neutral” variations of taupe that currently cover the main room and bedroom, plus the bathroom was completely neglected and is still white (with lots of marks).

Taupe Condo Before Purchase

Taupe condo as it looked at the open house when we first saw it.

I can say this for neutrals, while I never have liked the color in our place I was very happy to find a condo that wasn’t stark white. I suppose the reason a lot of people like them, especially for staging a home is summed up well in The Complete Color Directory by Alice Westgate:

There is something incredibly restful and uncomplicated about neutral colors…because they are all borrowed from the natural world around us.

Plus they match everything, fair enough. However, that’s not entirely true. The point of no return came for me when I finished the backsplash in the kitchen. My husband thinks the taupe is fine, I disagree.

Aluminum Backsplash

I tiled footlong strips of aluminum which look great with the new stainless steel appliances.

The changes we’ve made in the kitchen are very modern, not at all subtle next to the taupe walls.

Knowing we won’t be in this home forever we can’t make changes that are too taste specific, but I won’t let that ruin our fun. The thing that the quote above doesn’t explain is that nature is full of color! It’s not all brown. If it is then you should probably give it some water.

My plan is to brighten up the space, make it feel larger, and use colors from nature that have a sense of neutrality, but aren’t brown. My husband’s plan is to use colors found on cars. Lucky for me I found a balance! The project can go on. The main color we will use is blue.

Blue is a magical color…reminiscent of endless summer skies, brings with it a sense of infinite space and peace…

I once had an apartment on the 20th floor with floor to ceiling windows. It was painted a blue that was so light and airy it almost looked white. If you looked out of the windows from a low vantage point on a clear day, so all you could see is sky, the wall would blend right in and if it weren’t for the window frame it would be hard to tell where the walls end and the sky begins. That’s the blue we will use in the living room.

Sky blue paint in the living room

Mock up of sky blue paint in the living room with a touch of green. It already looks brighter than the original picture above.

This color still goes with everything. It’s fresh and light, so the stainless steel in the kitchen will just act like mirrors that bounce the light around the room. To me this is more like nature. Our furniture is mostly wood, all browns, like the ground. In this room the ground rises as the fireplace and above that I have a similar painting of a rose. That part of the wall is inset, perfect for the grass green that the rose in nature would grow from, and it is all surrounded by a bright blue sky.

Since we are in a soft loft the walls to the bedroom are not full. Pouring out of that space will be a sunny yellow. There are two little half walls in the kitchen. To help separate that space those walls will be dark as a stormy night. I wanted to be extra careful in the bathroom because any color will affect how we look in the mirror. It and the laundry room will be the light gray of a foggy morning.

Those are my colors from nature that aren’t brown. As a bonus for my husband I found cars that match as well.

Paint color swatches from nature and cars

From Left to Right: Sunshine Yellow for the bedroom (1966 Corvette Sunfire Yellow), Grass Green for above the fireplace (Lotus British Racing Green), Sky Blue for the living room (2006 Porsche Iceland Silver Metallic), Stormy Grey for the kitchen (2009 Lamborghini Grigio Lynx), Fog Grey for the bathroom (2010 Lotus Arctic Silver)

As the project progresses you’ll see color is nothing to be afraid of. A soft palate brightens and enlarges a space and heavy colors serve as great accents.


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NOTE: Quotes from The Complete Color Directory: A Practical Guide to Using Color in Your Home by Alice Westgate.

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