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Loving a color, living with it are quite different

“Color speaks all lan-guages.” Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English dramatist, “The Spectator” (1711)

I love red, white and blue. When they’re on our awesome flag or some other patriotic USA emblem, that is.

Now, when we’re talking about decorating our homes, that’s an entirely different story.

Color is essential in my life. I’m not sure how that penchant developed, but it is essential to my very well-being. So, today I want to address three colors everybody deals with.

Red is one of my favorite colors. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. It has a certain vibrancy and a “look at me” characteristic. Red accent walls are a decorating staple for me and I have installed them in many homes of friends and clients.

Red goes beautifully with any design style and can wake up a room like nothing else. It’s a warm color and brings to mind all manner of emotions; it also symbolizes power, love, hate, anger or danger. Now if you’re painting a red wall in your bedroom, I hope all of these emotions don’t move in as well.

In China, red denotes purity, joy, celebration, happiness and prosperity. And a lot of Asian brides wear red. So, let these qualities into your bedroom, or any room for that matter. You won’t regret it.

People are sometimes afraid of red, but if you give it a chance I think you will agree that it rocks.

White is a mixed bag for me. The purity of white and the clean esthetic associated with it are two attractions. The cold, blank, stark, empty traits are the ones I have trouble with. For instance, white walls do have their place, possibly in an art gallery.

A lot of people wouldn’t dream of painting their walls anything but white; I believe there’s just a little fear of color there. A soft beige or cream color works just as well as a neutral and, quite frankly, most colors in upholstery or case goods look much richer against a little bit of color than they do against a white wall.

White bed linens, bath towels and upholstery are great uses of the color white, but they need another color palette to make them look their best.

Blue is one of the most difficult colors for me. It’s a hard color to relate to other colors. It can be cold and it diminishes your appetite. Oh well.

A little blue here and there is OK, but something as all-consuming as blue carpet is a definite no-no in my world. One of my design tips that I publish every year is “never buy blue carpet.” One of my friends told me some time ago that she wishes I had written those tips before she bought the blue carpet. It’s just a hard color to match and accessorize.

Now speaking of accessories, I do like Asian blue and white ceramics or a blue serving dish or towel, maybe. But if you are considering a major purchase such as carpet or upholstery, please think it through. Its appeal doesn’t last. If you look through furniture and carpet stores, you will see that manufacturers agree. There’s not much out there.

Color is an amazing thing. It affects your mood, your spirit and general well-being. Many emotions have long been associated with the three that we featured today: white as a sheet, feeling blue, red faced. There are a million of those clichés and, if you translate those emotions into design, I think you will see how it relates to your personal space.

Color, of course, is also very personal. If you like white walls and blue carpet, and fear red, by all means, go with your heart. You are the artist and creator of your space. Just remember, loving a color and living with a color are two different things.

Carolyn Muse Grant is a design consultant, expert home stager and creator of beautiful spaces. Questions can be sent to her at creativemuse@cox.net.

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