Use color to create space, calm

The office needs to be a place away from distractions—but folks who multi-task may still need a window on their world. This home office meets both needs, with a view of family activity but an uncluttered, unfussy treatment with taupe and white. It’s visually calm, making it that much easier to concentrate on the task at hand. (National Association of Remodelers)
The office needs to be a place away from distractions—but folks who multi-task may still need a window on their world. This home office meets both needs, with a view of family activity but an uncluttered, unfussy treatment with taupe and white. It’s visually calm, making it that much easier to concentrate on the task at hand. (National Association of Remodelers)
This guest room—or kids’ room—starts with the basics: a calm, neutral color palette built on warm grays and medium taupes. Guest room on the lake? Perfect for some colorful touches with a throw, accent pillow or wall art that can be switched out at will. (Lennar Builders/Parade of Homes)
This guest room—or kids’ room—starts with the basics: a calm, neutral color palette built on warm grays and medium taupes. Guest room on the lake? Perfect for some colorful touches with a throw, accent pillow or wall art that can be switched out at will. (Lennar Builders/Parade of Homes)

It’s no surprise homeowners are turning to soothing grays, beiges and other “retreating colors” for bedrooms.

Rather than bombastic blues, in-your-face yellows and throbbing reds—which are certainly at play in living and dining spaces—retreats such as bedrooms and work spaces such as offices need a quieter atmosphere.

Know your palette

What should you ask for or look for, confronted with thousands of color options?

“Warmer” and “cooler” refer to the amount of red and yellow—colors that wake you up and energize you—vs. blues.

A warm red, gold or coral can brighten up a breakfast nook, keep everyone moving in a kitchen or make a dining room an elegant but cozy space.

Cooler hues: blues, lavenders and grays, create more of a calming, reflective effect.

“Neutrals” are the hues we’re talking about here—the beiges, grays, tans and taupes that tend to recede from the eye.

Anyone who’s changed a primary-hued room to a neutral can attest—it feels like you have another square foot of space in every direction. That’s because the color visually recedes and isn’t the first thing you sense when you walk in.

Check out paint lines for do-it-yourselfers and you’ll find premade palettes with basics, trim choices and accent colors to match.

That’s because it isn’t as easy to match a light gray with a dark gray as you might think—some are cooler, some are warmer and sometimes the matchy-matchy feels contrived.

With a designer-chosen range that satisfies your taste for plum, gray and a soothing navy, or beige, olive and a spark of rust, you can “enlarge” your space while making it all yours.


Tear off that paper, not the walls

The lilac print wallpaper in your bedroom may not be your style. But removing it sounds like such a big task you just keep your eyes closed as much as possible.

Removing wallpaper is easier than you may think and has a big impact on a home’s appearance. In fact, removing aging, sagging wallpaper is one of the least expensive ways to improve a home’s resale value and shorten its time on the market, according to a survey of real estate appraisers.

Follow this advice for “painless” wallpaper removal in three easy steps:

Most wallpaper has a waterproof surface, so it’s necessary to score it so the wallpaper stripper can penetrate and loosen the glue underneath. Use a wallpaper scoring tool like Zinsser PaperTiger, a palm-held tool that perforates the wallpaper without damaging the wall.

Next, apply an environmentally friendly wallpaper stripper that removes wallpaper glue, spraying it on the scored paper from the top to the bottom. Still having trouble? Some manufacturers offer more concentrated liquids and gels that hold on until the job is done.

Gently use a scraper to remove the loose wallpaper without surface damage. If any glue remains after the paper has been removed, spray the area with more stripping solution, wait a few minutes and remove the glue with the scraping tool or a sponge and rinse with clean water.

 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here