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December 23, 2011 > Are you a "color-phobe?" Overcome your fear today!

Are you a "color-phobe?" Overcome your fear today!

Submitted By Anna Jacoby

A large part of my design business involves selecting wall colors for my clients. Most of the time, my clients are attracted to color, but are very afraid of making a mistake. It is rare when I get a client who wholly embraces the idea of bold, rich colors in his or her home. I absolutely love it when I suggest a medium-toned color and they say, "How about this darker one?" I always smile and say, "Yes-great! Let's go darker!" In this article, I will touch on the most common fears people have about color in their homes and offer some encouraging words for overcoming those fears.

Fear # 1: This color will make my room too dark.

Well, guess what? Whatever size your room is now, it will still be that size after we paint it. Dark colors by themselves don't make a room look smaller; in fact, dark cool colors like charcoal gray, midnight blue, emerald green and eggplant purple actually have the opposite effect-those rich hues tend to recede into the distance, giving the effect of walls that move away from you. What makes a room feel smaller is the amount of contrast in the room (such as very light floors or furniture with very dark walls) or bulky, over-scaled furniture, or too much clutter. I encourage you to try a shade or two darker than what you would normally select and see how much you like the results. Your room will feel rich and cozy, not too small.

Fear #2: I can't choose colors I like because I have to think of resale value.

Stop this thinking right now! Are you selling in less than one year? If not, pick colors you love! Not to mention that plenty of people love color on the walls, so just because you choose red or green or lavender doesn't mean future buyers won't like them. Do model homes have white walls? No! The designers know that people actually love the way color makes them feel. The trick is to choose colors that really complement your furnishings, flooring, woodwork, granite, etc. If you give the house some "design flair" and choose colors carefully and with intention, you'll get years of enjoyment out of your house-and future buyers will, too.

Fear #3: I want to be able to change my dˇcor frequently, so I have to keep the walls neutral.

Hmmm, whenever I hear this, I become a little bit skeptical. It seems that so many times when people tell me this, I see sofas from the 80's and pillows and bedding that have definitely seen better days. So, I ask you to really be honest with yourself: do you really change your dˇcor often? If you really do, then that's great-painting the walls a rich, luscious caramel color, or sleek modern silvery gray will keep the background neutral so you can change the dˇcor to your heart's content. If you are the type of person who keeps her furnishings for many years, then that's definitely okay, too. That same caramel or silver wall colors will still work for you, but you can also consider being bolder. Consider colors like Paprika, Dijon, Burgundy, or Ocean Blue.

Color adds so much life and personality to your home. Go for it! What are you afraid of?

Anna Jacoby of Anna Jacoby Interiors is a local interior designer. Send your design questions to her at Call or fax her at 510-490-0379 or visit

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