Color is the first ingredient of pizazz

December 20, 1992|By Rita St. Clair

Many readers tell me they lack confidence in choosing colors. And often this confession is made in regard to otherwise good-looking rooms that need a bit of pizazz.

People in these situations actually have a promising sense of design, even if they don't realize it. At least they know that one of the surest ways of giving a room a lift is by adding some vivid colors and interesting patterns. Not everyone understands how these elements can make the difference between a life less furniture display and a lively, personalized setting.

Frequently, I've found, the rooms most in need of sparkle are those with a warm palette, typically consisting of rust, beige and brown. These colors are very popular, but it's seldom understood that they can easily produce mud when combined with one another.

My standard advice in these instances is to introduce a few sharp color contrasts. The walls are the most obvious and easiest place to begin -- perhaps with a deep bottle-green or an earthy brick. Even that old standby -- bright white -- will make a room like this wake up.

The floor is another logical place to add a bit of bounce. Don't worry -- radical action isn't required. There's no need to install a pink carpet or an orange rug, when a simple, black-and-white contrast will create the desired effect. With experience in the use of colors comes the knowledge that gradations in value and intensity are sufficient to make a powerful -- and winning -- design statement.

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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