by Leslie Patterson
Playing with color is a simple, inexpensive way to spruce up a room's decor.
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However, many homeowners inexperienced with design find the expansive palette of colors quite intimidating – especially when applying them to smaller spaces such as bathrooms. Thankfully, with a brief introduction to the color wheel and a little creativity, color will no longer be an excuse to avoid decorating your dream bath.
To avoid becoming overwhelmed by all the options, the best place to start is with the color basics. "Bold" colors are those that are contrasts (opposites) on the color wheel, for example, purple and orange. "Soothing" colors are monochromatic (single color, multiple intensities). A good example of monochromatic would be removing the orange and replacing it with a shade of lavender. For other suggestions/information on understanding color, see Choosing Color and The Basics on Paints.
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Now that you have a better grasp on the color wheel, it's time to determine where and how you will place those colors. Once upon a time, accessories (rugs, towels, and curtains) were the only splashes of color found in the bathroom. Today's fixtures are now available in colors ranging from serene pastels to energizing bolds. Elaborate faucets are available in copper and brass, moving away from the traditional polished chrome and offering a new twist to color schematics. Additionally, popular bathroom themes are "global," infusing warm, rich hues of Indian and Mexican influences. The rubber ducky no longer rules the room! In the end, remember that the colors chosen should be based on personal preference. No matter how often a salesperson pushes Mint Green as a "relaxing hue," if you hate it, do not invest! There are no rules, merely suggestions, when it comes to color.
If the idea of working with color is still overwhelming, start with a smaller half bath. Incorporating color into the powder room frequented by houseguests is a great way to make a statement and showcase your personal style on a less intimidating space. Soon you will be ready to move from the bathroom to the bedroom, creatively adding color wherever needed!
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