Tip # 187: Know your colors.
Lots of people come into my space, or catch glimpses of it online, and what they see is not color, but its absence. It’s true, there’s no riot of primary hues in my house. There isn’t a pop of anything to speak of. There aren’t any jewel tones, unless plums are in season, as they are now, and there’s a bowl full of them on the table. Folks see my white walls and bare wood and smatterings of grays and creams and other shades that get called neutral. Of course, I see the inside of a sea shell, or the sky at sunrise. I see driftwood and sand and the color of a shadow.
My friend Rebecca Atwood just published her second book, Living With Color. It’s full of inspiration and peeks into the color that hides behind other people’s walls, and it offers practical advice for finding your own colors. For making your space—whatever the size—feel like yours by exploring the way that color works inside it.
So much discussion of color and small spaces feels formulaic. We see click-bait-y articles from shelter sites about what colors to avoid or what to embrace; what’s allowed and what’s not. Becca’s approach is more personal than that. Instead, she coaxes us to find our own color palette. She goes even further, asking us remake the color wheel itself.
My white walls and soft neutrals aren’t for everyone, but I think what Becca captures so well is the idea that we all have visceral, gut reactions to color. Her book encourages readers to explore those reactions and dig deep into what she calls color connections—the memories, places, food, and stories that make us feel they way we do about certain shades and tones and textures.
Becca and I both grew up with New England beaches as the backdrops to our childhoods. And while she tends to be more bold with color than I am, for both of us, the foundation of our color memories come from this time spent at the beach—the particular magical purplish blue of a mussel shell, the warm shades of sand across a wind-swept beach, the shimmer of light on water, the way that water melts into the sky.
If you’re feeling unsure about your space, consider color. Not adding color necessarily, but understanding it.
To read more, you can find Living with Color: Inspiration and How-Tos to Brighten Up Your Home, wherever books are sold or loaned!