Interior Color Schemes

Home designers today have the best of all possible worlds. Manufacturers are at long last making their products in a wide variety of colors. Sheets and bedspreads come in more colors and patterns than we could use in a lifetime. Ceramic tile and bathroom fixtures are produced in bright primary colors, as well as the more familiar range of pastels. Window coverings, like Venetian blinds or plain shades, are made in a rainbow of different and exciting colors too. Even kitchen appliances are available in fresh and offbeat colors.

With this entire new palette to choose from, we have begun to liberate our homes from the white, beige and gray previously imposed by colorless products. And this liberation can take many forms.

Color can enrich, by using one single hue. A master bedroom, for example, can be liberated by using a sheet pattern with a dark background color, such as forest green. Walls painted the same green, glossy white woodwork; hinged panels at the windows covered in the sheeting, and in off-white wall to wall carpet can easily give the room a custom-made look — without taking a big bite out of your budget.

Color can unify a collection of furniture, too. New and exciting colors in the less expensive carpets — the mauves, roses and pale greens — can be used as the background of a subtle and unifying color scheme for a living room or an elegant and soft surrounding for a fine collection of antique furniture. Yet, it’s just as appropriate for modern furniture upholstered in off-white cotton or canvas.

And color can be used to divide. In a “second” bedroom in the typical builder house, two boys shared a room. They were 9 and 11, ages when desks and privacy are essential. To give each a feeling of independence within an overall color scheme, I used a white background and one major color to identify each boy. The boy on the right got a blue scheme, the boy on the left a yellow scheme. The colors were determined, somewhat, by the availability of the products I wanted to use, but even, more importantly, because they worked well together and because each boy liked “his” color.

I started off with the sheets, because I wanted to use a flat top sheet as a bedspread; with all the many patterns available, solid color sheets are hard to come by. But after a bit of digging, I discovered a good, bright yellow solid an equally super marine blue. Together they look as smashing as the Swedish national flag, one of my all-time favorite color combinations.

Mini-slat Venetian blinds are now available in bright colors, as well as silver, mirrored chrome and black; the yellow and blue matched the sheets perfectly. The deep window reveals made a natural alcove to display the color. Under the windows, I built a white plastic laminate sill from wall to wall across the room, to provide a headboard for each child. It also provides a shelf to store treasures, cut from its depth over each bed, a surface for attaching bed-work lights, and a handy place for mother to grow her geraniums.

From there on, it was easy. I found cotton fabrics that combined the yellow and blue stripes and geometrics, and we made occasional pillow covers and bed-pillowcases for each boy, blending the two major colors on both sides of the room.

The desks, actually white plastic laminate tops resting on a series of blue and yellow cubes, (available in most furniture shops), carry the color divider scheme still further. They face each other at the window and provide a blue and yellow barrier for each child, an easy way to divide the color.