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There’s no fear of using color in New Orleans homes! This is a city where multiple cultures, intense climate and fiery food aren’t just a daily way of life; they inspire unique, unforgettable paint colors.

But there’s something subdued about even the boldest colors used in New Orleans interiors. They seem elegantly aged by time, slightly romantic and even moody… as if seen under low light. This exuberant, but elegant palette reveals a touch of Paris, a smattering of the south of Spain, a whiff of  island style and a bit of bravado from Victorian London.

Some New Orleans colors are known by their French names… Paris green, Gros Rouge or Brun d’Espagnol. (It’s believed these pretty hues were intended to complement skin tones… trust the ever-glamorous French to think about that!)

Check out our New Orleans paint color palette in our special New Orleans magazine issue. (Click on the magazine cover to open the magazine

Dining Room with white wainscot, make small dining room look biggerIf you like the drama and coziness of dark interior paint colors, but also want to make your small dining room look bigger, here’s how to do both. Paint the lower portion of the wall white (or off-white) and reserve the darker paint color for the top portion. The dining room will look bigger than it would have if whole wall would have been painted dark.

When dividing a wall into two portions, experts usually recommend putting the light area on top – partly because dirt and scuffs occur on the lower portion and are easier to hide with dark colors, partly because  it mimics the natural world (the ground is darker and the air above it lighter).

BUT in the case of a small room, the reverse can be effective. Notice how the areas that add light to the room (the ceiling because it reflects light down and the upper wall because it’s most visible) are kept dark and enclosing. But the areas that create the room’s perceived size (the lower wall because it connects to the floor space, the window because it opens views to the outdoors), are kept light and spacious.

The horizontal wainscotting and horizontal ceiling molding add to the spacious look. By moving the eye right and left, rather than up and down, the room looks wider and longer.

Another side benefit of a light-colored lower wall? The intricate details of dining chairs are easier to see against a light,  rather than dark wall.

For more home decor ideas, or to download our free magazine, visit www.roomplanners.com.

 What’s good about the color green isn’t just its connection to healthy vegetables and the planet. Turns out green is good for a balanced state of mind and poise, among other things! It even treats nausea, claustrophobia and over-active kids.

And who would know more about the color green than some very famous green folks… Kermit, Shrek, Green M&M, Green Giant, the Incredible Hulk, Gumby and Oscar the Grouch.

Find out more about green color psychogy and green color symbolism from the folks who know it best… in our April issue of RoomPlanners magazine.

 http://roomplanners.com/pdfs/04-2010.pdf

To subscribe to our monthly magazine (free), please visit www.roomplanners.com

M & M “Green” is a trademark of Mars Incorporated.

Kermit, the Frog, wasn’t sure about being green, though he did conclude in his famous Being Green song that “it’ll do fine”. But green lovers everywhere know that  nature’s favorite hue won’t just do; it can do wonders!

Green colors can’t be beat for their restful, quiet and balancing  effects. Green is a favorite for hospitals, schools and TV studios because it heals, restores and calms us.

But the exact green paint color we choosee use can make as much of a difference in how our rooms feel as our choice of green, blue or red.

In fact, today, color can  determine a room’s style almost as much as furniture. So it’s more important than ever to understand what different colors, even varieties of a single color like green, do and say inside a room.

 Check out our 12 favorite green paint colors for interiors inside our April issue of RoomPlanners magazine. (Click on the magazine cover (left) or on this link: http://roomplanners.com/pdfs/04-2010.pdf)

(To subscribe to our free monthy magazine, visit www.roomplanners.com).

Long Cove, by Lexington Furniture

There’s something easy and breezy about beach house decor. This white, light-infused style makes us want to turn off our cell phone, curl up with a good book and disappear for awhile.

If you haven’t quite secured that waterfront beach house property yet, not to worry; Beach decor today is as much about an attitude today as a location. In other words, you don’t need to have coastal property to feel like you do!

In a word, beach house decor is about simplicity, as perfectly translated in the beach house dining room shown here (Long Cove, by Lexington Furniture). Nothing says beach house style quite like white-washed furniture.

But what’s so intriguing about this room is that it’s elegant rather than rustic or cottage-y. Notice the elegant oval-back chairs and and that hefty table base. In a darker wood they’d have looked traditional, formal and all serious-looking, but in a washed tone, they invite us to relax and unwind. (Remember the house in the movie Something’s Gotta Give? The furniture was classic and elegant; but all those light colors made it so-ooo relaxing

Light-colored fabric on the dining chairs make them disappear, like we want to do at the beach. A round table feels more relaxed and intimate than one that’s long and formal, and a simple sideboard rather than a full-fledged china cabinet feels informal and casual. Notice its long legs – they add to the airy quality we love about the beach. Hanging a whitewashed mirror above the sideboard creates an elegant, shabby chic quality. But even more impressive; placed on a wall adjacent to a window, it reflects the window; (… a very crafty designer’s trick that doubles your light)!

Simple topiaries flank the mirror over the sideboard, and there’s nothing fancy about that shaded bulb chandelier – it’s casually elegant with the wrought iron frame. A woven jute rug simulates beach sand; windows are kept uncovered. This is a beautiful thing if your view is the ocean; not so much if it’s your neighbor’s window. If you need a little privacy, choose simple white or light-colored cotton or linen curtains that diffuse rather than block light; make sure they can be pulled completely off the glass during the daytime to maximize your natural light.

Speaking of light, a white ceiling is pure beach house style, reflecting all the light back into the room. Even the charming ceiling beams are painted white so they add texture but don’t deduct any light. The  simple slate color wall color (Behr 750E-3, Skyline Steel) is cool and slightly gray… so it feels refreshing and relaxing at the same time! You could go slightly brighter for an even more refreshing look, such as seaglass color (Behr 520C-1 or 2), an azure color (Behr 560A-1) or even nostalgic wedgewood color (Behr 570E-1 or 2).

Lexington Furniture is known for their fine quality furniture and also their Tommy Bahama collections …so they really understandbeach, tropical and nautical style. Check them out at www.lexington.com.

Want more information on decorating in beach house style? Find out which paint colors, furniture, accessories and designer tips ideas will create a professionally designed beach house look in our 24-pg Beach House RoomCue.  Just $12.95 at www.roomplanners.com.

 

 Country-style  rooms are typically painted vegetable hues… tomato, straw, denim and other paint colors the Waltons would have loved.  But one of the quickest ways to give simple, worn-down furniture (or worn-down people who need for a simple change) is with a can of white paint.

White paint was birthed by early 20th century modernists. Tired of Victorian clutter and drama, they wanted to lighten up a little (a lot, actually)… and white paint did the trick. One hundred years later, it’s working again, this time to lighten up rustic rooms.

The beautiful thing about white paint is that it brings furniture into really sharp focus so we can appreciate its shape and texture more. Notice in this dining room how good the ladderback chairs, table and sideboard look against the pristine walls. The  room feels fresh, light and even slightly contemporary. Even the old-looking rug looks fresh and stands out.

As a side note, the furniture shown here (Attic Heirlooms) is one of my personal faves. It  mixes painted and natural wood finshes so it’s a little less matchy-matchy. Those casual straw-seat chairs are casual and that bench is pure fun. This collection has been around for a while and is still pretty popular, so it shouldn’t be hard to find if you’re in the market for new furniture.

For more info on the dining room, visit www.broyhillfurniture.com.

If you’ve thought about choosing an interior paint color that’s dark or deep, but are worried it might be just a litte too bright or memorable, painting just one wall can seem like the perfect solution.

The challenge with painting just one wall in a room, though, is that the room usually ends up looking choppy, with paint color changes between walls too abrupt. But in the case of this dining room, the amber-colored accent wall  worked perfectly. Here’s why!

The paint color chosen for the accent wall color has something in common with the paint color used on the other walls. The amber paint color (right) and old gold paint color (left) are both warm… in fact, they sit right next to each other on the color wheel. They’re also similar in value – meaning the amber color is darker than the old gold color, which is only right for an accent wall…  but only slightly  making the transition less shocking.

An important piece of furniture was placed in front of the painted accent wall. It always works best to make the brightest or darkest wall the feature wall – it reinforces why the accent color is there.  In this case, since the sideboard placed against the amber-painted wall wasn’t tall or big, so artwork and accessories were added above to build up its size and importance. The other reason to place large furniture in front of a strongly colored accent wall is to conceal some of the strong hue so it’s not to overpowering.

The accent color is repeated around the room. The amber color is picked up on the curtains on the adjacent wall. It has sort of a balancing effect. It’s also seen in the artwork and accents on the table.

The color of the furniture looks good with the accent color. One of the things to love about all the dark brown furniture in vogue right now is that it holds its own against bright colors. In this room’s design,the furniture isn’t swallowed up by the wall color. It’s one step darker and the accent wall simply creates a backdrop for it.

There’s plenty of daylight to offset the darkening effects of a strong accent color. A lot of light isn’t necessary if a dining room is used just for dining. But for most of us, the dining room can be a multi-purpose room; the large window helps balance a dark color.

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