For homeowners, color seems to be one of the most challenging aspects of interior design. Their frustrations are understandable—walking into a paint store and trying to choose a shade of off-white is overwhelming! At Hoskins Interior Design, we are fairly loose about color choices, allowing the personality of our clients to drive the scheme. In general, our philosophy on using color in interior design is built upon four ideas:
Color is a very personal preference. If orange is the “hot” color right now, and you abhor the color, then do not use it! All the colors that exist are available for your use in your space—why limit yourself to a passing trend? Color in your home is not the same as color in your clothing. The investment in painting your wall, purchasing a sofa, or installing window coverings is very different than buying a sweater. These interior design investments are more difficult to change, so we advise approaching your decisions with that fact in mind. There will always be new ideas in color. Unless you are sure you are going to love a trend for a long time, it is best to incorporate it in smaller items like toss pillows, bench seats, hand towels or even flowers. We feel it is best to participate in trends in a fleeting way since they are by their nature fleeting. Fads we completely ignore!
Color establishes the atmosphere of a space. In general the warm color families like reds and yellows stimulate and uplift. Cooler hues like blues and greens soothe and calm. Understanding the look you are trying to achieve will drive the direction of your color scheme. You receive the biggest impact for your design investment with vertical surfaces—the walls. Therefore, wall colors and coverings, draperies and artwork must be well chosen to set the correct tone for a space. “Noisy walls” in a spacious room where you spend a lot of time will lead you to tire of the look quickly. Color on large pieces of furniture can have the same overwhelming impact. Due to the investment furniture requires, we tend to choose timeless pieces that complement a space rather than take it over.
Neutral wall colors set a classic backdrop for a space, allowing you to easily change the other elements in the room as your tastes evolve. Classic does not mean traditional however, unless you want it to. Modern, transitional, eclectic—all styles are supported with this easy-going color scheme.
You cannot make color choices from a picture on the internet, paint fan decks or chips in the store. For example, there are thousands of colors of off-white and cream—they can be pinkish, greenish, yellowish, etc., and you will not be able to see that undertone until you bring it into your space. Light has a tremendous effect on color, particularly wall paint. We suggest you test colors by painting them on a large piece of poster board and placing it around your space at varying times of day. This experimentation is the only way you will know how the color will act in your space. And, it is a lot less expensive to buy 2-3 quarts of test colors than many gallons of the wrong color.
It is the details of color that are the most challenging. For example, when creating a neutral space (leaning to whites and creams) including visual interest can be difficult. When color is not the feature, quality becomes the basis of the design, so execution is very important. Elements like furniture with rich tone-on-tone fabric patterns and lovely silhouettes, accessories with unique shapes and textures, and window treatments and floor coverings with interesting patterns will determine the success of the design.
On the other hand, using rich color can disguise other elements, allowing the bold hue to be featured. When your budget requires a slow investment in quality furniture and accessories, color can take up the slack.
If your home does not have lovely architectural details like intricate woodwork and moldings, you can paint the base moldings and window trim the same color as the walls to allow them to recede. Those elements are not important to the space, so let something else like the furniture or accessories pop instead!
When using deep colors, we find that you will most likely end up with a less intense tone than you originally expected. These rich tones are especially wonderful in small rooms that you are in and out of, like laundry rooms, powder baths and children’s rooms. These spaces offer the opportunity to delight without overwhelming, and they are easy to change when you tire of the color.
There really aren’t too many rules with using color in interior design. We encourage you to be open minded enough to give yourself a taste of something new when it is appropriate. If you are struggling with your color choices, reach out to us! We’d love to help.
Typically, when we think of texture, our mind goes to nubby fabrics that we love to run our hands over. However, all surfaces in an interior design scheme relate to texture. Flooring, furniture, wall coverings, windows, ceilings – texture is applied in these places as well. Sleek tiles, rough sea grass wallpaper, bubbly glass inserts, and smooth leather bring textural elements to a space. This three-dimensional look lends visual interest to your home and can even add an art-like quality to your surfaces.
How to Use Texture in Interior Design
1) Balance – Too much of a good thing leads to a confusing and unwelcoming space. It is important to remember that every surface of your room adds texture, whether smooth or raised. Just like color and pattern, mixing textures within your design scheme will keep things balanced. For example, a highly textured fabric on your couch can be offset by a low-pile rug, a shiny coffee table surface and smooth walls.
2) Pattern vs Texture – Particularly with fabrics, texture is mixed with pattern to create a three-dimensional look. We also see pattern used on its own to build the same effect. However, combining many patterns with many textures will overwhelm the eye. If you are planning to use a lot of patterns in your design scheme, you may want to limit the amount of texture you bring in.
3) Texture in Surprising Places – Move beyond fabric and floor coverings to bring texture to your space. In the kitchen pictured above we added a unique look to the walls by using a three-dimensional tile. Paired with the smooth surfaces of the cabinetry, countertops and flooring, this spectacular wall covering offers a richness that pulls your eye deeper into the space.
Texture is meant to draw you into a design scheme, making you want to touch and interact with it. While pattern and color can add a three-dimensional element through optical illusions, texture is the real thing, allowing you to physically experience the depth of a space. There are some places where it is not recommended, such as textured ceilings, which are created for the ease of the builder and spiders rather than for beauty. Otherwise, we encourage playing with the many surfaces of your room to create an alluring yet cohesive look.
One benefit of working with an interior designer is the access they have to design sources closed to the public. There are many more options for design elements out there beyond what you find in stores or online! Hoskins Interior Design can help you combine all of your wishes for your design to create the home you dream of. To discuss your design project, send us an email or give us a call at 317.253.8986.
Light plays a dramatic role in interior design, going beyond look and functionality to how a space affects our mood. The amount and location of natural light sources, how you plan to use the space, and the overall feel you want to create should all be considered when examining the role of light in interior design schemes for your home.
Light Sets the Mood:
Serene, vibrant, gloomy – the amount of light in a space will determine which of these adjectives you use to describe it. While mixing light and color is the best way to create the mood you are looking for, it is imperative that the symbiotic relationship between the two be considered when choosing a color scheme. Paint, which covers the vertical plane of a space, is particularly affected by light. The same color on four walls can take on four different looks depending upon how the light at that part of the day interacts with it. When we choose paint for our clients, we insist that they test the colors by painting a large piece of cement board or poster board and place it all throughout the room at different times of the day. Many times that grey-toned tan during the day becomes greenish at night, bringing a totally different look and feel.
It is also important to consider how the mood you want to create in a space may change depending upon the time of day. Perhaps you are a person who likes to wake up slowly in the morning by sitting in a softly-lit kitchen enjoying your coffee and paper. However, during the busy evening time, you need enough light in that kitchen to cook, entice the kids to do homework, and have family discussions. Into the later hours of day, dimming the lights down helps evoke a relaxing atmosphere. Light is at the heart of all of these moods and people use it this way without even thinking about it. Your design scheme must give you the ability to control the light in your space, allowing the mood you want to create to come alive. Dimmers are central to this control. If your lighting fixture can take it, put a dimmer on it!!
Light Is Functionality:
A central determining factor in your ability to use a space effectively is the amount of appropriate light. The size of the room does not matter—inadequate or improper light affects the quality of your living! A poorly-lit kitchen makes preparing meals challenging, while a southern-facing bedroom with lots of uncovered windows makes the all-important toddler nap impossible! The effect of natural light should even be considered when placing a new home on a piece of land. The western sun beating down on a wall of windows will make that space unbearable to use in the late afternoons and evenings.
How you plan to use a space throughout the day must be considered when creating a lighting plan. What kind of light do you need: ambient? task? accent? layered? Each room will have a different lighting need. Most rooms in today’s homes have canned lights for overall lighting. However, placing too many of these lights can make your ceiling look like Swiss cheese (not attractive), provide more light than necessary, and give the space too much of the same kind of light. Canned lights are direct illumination sources that come from the ceiling. Indirect light from other heights creates a more pleasing and functional design. At Hoskins Interior Design, we try to light most rooms with a combination of lighting to create the desired look. We love lamps because they allow better control of the functionality of the light since you can place them where you need them. In a kitchen, under cabinet lighting, appropriately sized-pendants over an island, and cabinet lights for mullioned doors are a must. Again, don’t forget the dimmers!
Window treatments and glass-tinting film are your friends when you are trying to control how natural light will affect the functionality of your space. Sunlight fades fabrics and flooring, so place tinting film on windows to protect your design investment. Natural light also adds glare to computers and TVs – window treatments can help alleviate this issue. And, for that napping toddler, room-darkening shades are a lifesaver.
Finally, the style of your lighting will affect its functionality too. For example, sconces with opaque shades will provide directed light with no ambient illumination coming off it. Lighting has become quite technical these days as technology continues to advance. Many lighting options require special bulbs that have the same wattage you are used to but give off fewer lumens and therefore less light. If you are planning a large remodeling project or new home build, we suggest bringing in a lighting specialist to help guide you through your options.
As you can see, to create a beautiful and functional home, light cannot be an afterthought. For more information on choosing the right lighting for your space, read our blog: Creating a Beautiful and Functional Whole House Lighting Design. Or, feel free to send us an email or give us a call at 317.253.8986.