Swing into spring with color

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

It can send shivers through the bravest of us: using color in our decor.

Whether it’s trying out a new wall color or buying a rug, infusing color into our home isn’t for the meek or faint of heart. It takes courage and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone.

But it’s worth it. A little color goes a long way. And as spring finally finds its footing around here – though it felt more like summer this week – I’m sure I’m not the only one eager to spruce up my decor at home with a little color.

Two shades that fit well this spring are Pantone’s Colors of the Year – Serenity and Rose Quartz. Serenity is a steel gray blue hue, while Rose Quartz is a light, dusty pink. This year marked the first time Pantone picked not one, but two, Colors of the Year, which was done to counteract our busy lives.

“As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s executive director. “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”

Rebecca Driggs of Driggs Designs says blue is her “go to” color. The Commerce Township native who now works in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently decorated a bedroom for a client that paired blue with off-white as the two prominent colors.

“I love to work with most blues from light blue to blue/green to navy because I find that blues are easy to coordinate other colors with,” says Driggs in an email.

But Pantone’s two Colors of the Year shades aren’t for everyone. Interior designer Paul Feiten of Paul Feiten Design in Bloomfield Hills says using color in your decor is personal. He says he, and many other designers, don’t really pay attention to Pantone’s Color of the Year because it’s “too calculated.”

“You can’t take a universal approach to color,” says Feiten.

Amy Weinstein of AMW Design Studio in Birmingham agrees. Buying into Pantone’s marketing strategy, “I guarantee your home will look dated within five years, and you will wish you chose a different path. My advice is to stick with what resonates for you, and get guidance from a professional as to how to incorporate your color preference into your overall interior design scheme.”

Feiten says so much about using color in your decor depends on personality. He’s decorating a home for a client right now who is confident and outspoken. So as he designed her house, color was a must. In the living room, his inspiration was a significant upholstered ottoman in fuchsia, chartreuse and eggplant.

“She was ready for some bright happy colors,” he says.

One way to infuse color in your decor – and to go beyond new throw pillows or colorful accents – is window treatments, Feiten says.

“You can have a really simple room and then you can kick it up with the drapery,” he says.

Linda Shears of Linda Shears Designs in Troy is a big fan of strong colors, but says she’s now more attuned to the power of pastels – such as Rose Quartz and Serenity – “if they are used properly.”

Pastels “can be attractive if used with tables or chests that are in rich wood tones or against darker wood floors,” says Shears. “They can also be mixed with colors of stronger depths for greater contrast.”

Rose Quartz and Serenity, for example, are tints, Shears says.

“Combine them with the hues and tones of those colors (the red ‘pie’ and blue ‘pie’ on the color wheel) and a dynamic room emerges,” says Shears.

Weinstein says some rooms are safer when it comes to using color, such as powder rooms, kids’ bedrooms, laundry rooms and lower levels.

“Those spaces are greatly enhanced by color and lend themselves to try something out of your comfort zone. Pattern is also a great way to bring in some pizzazz,” says Weinstein.

So whether you embrace color in your decor or it makes you nervous, consider your options. A little color could put a spring in your step.


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A splash of spring

We asked some interior designers about their favorite spring colors, how to use them and favorite color combos:

Paul Feiten of Paul Feiten Design: “I call it spring lettuce green. For a lot of people, it’s a staple in a lot of houses now. Everybody loves that color. It gives it a sense of freshness and growth.”

Linda Shears of Linda Shears Designs: “Every color on the color wheel has its tint. That tint can become the ‘neutral’ for a room. So the walls and sofa do not have to be ivory – they can be a pastel color. This adds a softness or a glow to the room, which is nice.”

Rebecca Driggs of Driggs Designs: “My favorite color combination for spring is navy and coral. The coral gives it a touch of whimsy!”

Amy Weinstein of AMW Design Studio: “I am forever comfortable with the gray/beige palette of colors, but am lately loving blues and lavenders as a soft, neutral background.”