December 14, 2011

Three ways to ‘cool’ off the warmth of the past decade

Infuse some cool tones

When you’ve been doing this as long as we have, you have a lot of past clients (thank you, we love them).  So, we’ve spec’d a lot of homes in the trend colours of the  last decade with camels, tans, golds,… for their walls.  Guess what? It’s time to re-paint and they’re starting to call wondering if they can incorporate some of the cooler neutral tones that are so popular now  a.k.a. greys without having to redo everything.   No worries.  If you really want grey walls, we can work them in with a few minor modifications.

HOWEVER, I always point out that unless you really love it, don’t do it in a big way.  I personally don’t mind injecting a little of what’s hip and happening (my kids would probably call me very ‘uncool’ using this vocabulary) but I could never live in a very grey  house.  However, if you want a change, we can figure that out for you.

Here’s a few ideas that don’t require gutting everything and starting from square one: Mixing greys with warm tones is actually quite complementary.

1.  Choose the right shade of grey to go with the existing warm shades. I recently had a client call me in to do her bedroom and choose a paint colour for her family room.  The family room we had done about 7 or 8 years ago at the height of the “Under the Tuscan Sun” type of colours.  Her sofas were a darkish camel colour and varying shades of it were on walls and drapery.  The case goods being a dark walnut provided a nice contrast as well as her lighter sisal-like rug.  So, rather than going with a light, clean grey which would definitely not work with her existing sofas and drapery we went to a muddier grey with a green undertone.  Well it looks fabulous and customer gets a new look without changing anything else.    The colour on the wall actually complements all the camels and shows the room off wonderfully and brings out different colours in her existing artwork.  So all’s good there.   Examples of muddier greys are  Benjamin Moore’s HC-105 Rockport Gray or try Para’s Sarah Richardson colour Elephant SR58.  For a lighter grey try Sarah’s Shoreline #SR43.

Warm and cool – very complimentary

Then, on to her master bedroom.  This was a clean slate as it was the only room that had not been done (living rooms  and kids rooms always seem to take priority)  The only thing we had to work with here was some warm creamy-beige wood furniture that she was not willing to replace right now.  So we started by replacing the headboard and mirror over the dresser to ‘freshen’ up the feel of the room.  Then we incorporated warmer, light grey tones, with some deeper ones and added an ‘Hermes” orange for an accent.  The bedding and upholstered headboard was done in varying tones of the warm greys (to go with the warm wood furniture) and the drapery was more of a light beige raw silk with both cool and warm slubs going through it.  The orange was used on a chair and a couple of cushions on the bed.  Combining the warm greys and creamy-beige woods worked really well.  Oh and the paint colour is one of my current favourites:  Edgecomb Grey from Benjamin Moore also recommended by Scottsdale interior designer Amy Wolff.

Taupey/grey textures mixed with warmer tones and ‘Hermes’ orange

2.  Find a fabric or wallpaper that has both warm and cool tones in it.  (a.k.a. beige and grey) This will give you something to draw from and pull the room together with.  You can use it on some large toss cushions, an ottoman or recover a chair with it.  These are usually less expensive to replace than large pieces of upholstery.  Then you can pull the grey in it and paint a feature wall or the whole room if you like.

You can draw both the greys and golds from the wallpaper

Draw your warm and cool tones from your fabrics

3.  Remember to tie in your accessories. Mix your metals: pewters and golds.  (Yes, gold is back); repeat your new colour in a art work or a lamp;  or add a throw.

Art work can have warm and cool colours to draw from

A wonderful combo of cool and warm….


If you need help injecting some new cooler tones into your ‘warm’ decor call us at Lumar Interiors….or check us out at   Let us help you pull it together.

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