Haddad Hakansson: Breaking out of your Color Comfort Zone

The clever use of color, whether bold or subtle, is one of the best ways to create a striking and memorable interior.

Yet many homeowners stick to neutral palettes for fear of making a mistake or getting tired of a bold choice. If you find yourself bored but afraid to add color to your home, here are some tips that have helped our clients get comfortable with a new hue (or two).

Look in your closet. What colors do you wear on a regular basis? They probably make you feel good, and are a great place to start when building an interior palette.

Start with subtlety. The “closet test” didn’t work with one client, who wore only blacks, whites and beiges. We found that with gentle encouragement and soft colors and furnishings, she could love soothing hues. We even painted the bedroom ceiling!

bedroom haddad hakansson

Design by Haddad Hakansson, photo by Joseph St. Pierre

Find inspiration around you. Consider existing materials in your home. A stone wall or granite countertop may seem neutral, but you can still build a palette with one or two interesting muted colors found in the stone.

A favorite piece of art is another place to start, as with this modern South End living room.

south end loft

Design by Haddad Hakansson, photo by Joseph St. Pierre

They’re called “complements” for a reason. Take a look at a color wheel. The colors on opposite sides of the wheel blue/orange, yellow/purple, red/green – look great together. 

Look for the undertone of color in an otherwise “neutral” material, and consider a soft wall color that complements it.  An oak floor with subtle orange undertones can look incredibly sharp with the right blue wall color.

Or just go bold! This powder room pairs a purple custom paint treatment with gold and brass tones, a classic yellow/purple combination.

purple powder room

Design by Haddad Hakansson, photo by Jared Kuzia

Add color with things that are easy to change. Paint colors, lighting, window treatments and pillows are less permanent ways to try something new or bright.

The color in this basement media room is found in the paint, art, pillows and ottomans – all fairly simple to swap out.

basement media room

Design by Haddad Hakansson. Photo by Jared Kuzia.

Take away the lighting, chairs and fabric from this fascinating space, and believe it or not, you’re left with a somewhat typical high end New England white kitchen.

kitchen katie rosenfeld

Interior Design by Katie Rosenfeld

How do you want the room to feel?  Color can affect mood. Certain hues can be soothing, energizing, cheerful or warm. This bedroom is rich with color yet still feels relaxing.

bedroom rachel reider

Interior Design by Rachel Reider

Stuck in neutral? It can still be memorable, as with this black and white powder room. The graphic wallpaper, sparkly mini chandelier and (gasp!) black ceiling add the right amount of glamor and drama to what could have been a boring space. Take a chance – it’s just paint!

black and white bathroom

Design by Haddad Hakansson, photo by Joseph St. Pierre

Belmont, Massachusetts based Haddad Hakansson is an award-winning full-service interior design firm specializing in kitchens, baths, and whole house remodels. Principals Mark Haddad and Kurt Hakansson design with a clients own aesthetic in mind, whether it be classic or modern or something in between.

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