|Think how much more ordinary this home would appear without the deep taupe color in the foyer. When you arrive you enter a compressed area — an area of calm and enclosure that marks a resting point in your trip from the street up the walk to the home. The white trim and artwork help animate the deep tone. But the foyer is only a pause in your journey, not its completion. You are drawn toward the lighter tones in the living room (and even lighter tones in the dining room in the background). The living room — a lighter grayed-taupe — is almost creamy against the deep tone. Contract — in color or tone — is an effective way to emphasize the purpose of spaces and the natural journey through a home. Using a deep, contrasting tone in the entry is a technique I often employ in selecting a home’s palette. In this home, my client wanted a feeling of serenity and calm and was partial to beige — and in fact had used it throughout the home previously. I chose more complex tones of taupe and greatly varied the tone from room to room adding a creamy yellow in areas with more sunlight. In this article, I’ll show you 6 different examples of how effectively this technique works in creating a sense of arrival and journey through your home.|
|In the example, above, the foyer was a quite large room complete with stone fireplace. I used a deep, grayed-green for the foyer itself with a much lighter grayed-green with a touch of yellow in the living room (foreground) and a still lighter gray-green with a touch of blue in the family room (background). I left the deepest tone (a deep wine color) for the small transition between the foyer and family room and again between the mud entrance and the kitchen (not shown). The deep wine transition to the family room creates a subtle message to visitors that the space beyond is private family space and visitors are instead drawn to the closer brighter area of the living room.|
For the entry of this next home, the client wanted more light and we couldn’t use a skylight. So I chose a light taupe for the walls to create a lighter space and instead I selected a single wall — the wall leading to the private bedroom level of this split-level — to create a striking deep-charcoal accent. In this quite modern remodel, we used large-format porcelain tile for the charcoal accent. The accent would be almost as effective using a deep paint tone. And, in fact, we first painted the wall a deep charcoal so that I could demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique to the homeowner prior to investing in the cost of the tile. Since the main entryway color is light, I used a reverse technique to welcome visitors into the living room; In the living room I used a darker tone of the hallway color (see below). Like in the second example, the dark charcoal is a gentle, unspoken message that the main way lies in a different direction. The living room presents a more even use of tones and therefore is more soothing than the stark color contrasts in the entryway.
|As in many modest older homes, the home, below, lacks a distinct entryway. Even in these cases, a deep, contrast can still make sense. In this case, I’m differentiating the passageways — up the stairs, toward the powder room and coat closet — as clearly subordinate to the much brighter living room. The living room’s plaster walls (not shown in this photo) are a soft mauve color that coordinates with the deep mauve of the secondary spaces. If woodwork in a house is going to be painted, I always paint it the same color — usually a cool or warm white depending upon the palette. As shown here, I also mix painted and stained wood in a home. As discussed in the previous article about this stairway (link), I also frequently paint the risers of a stairway as an inexpensive way to increase their architectural detail and interest.|
|When the palette is bright to begin with, I’ll use an even brighter or more intense tone in the entry. In this home, below, bright orange for the ceiling of the patio entry and a deep red column marks the entry in exactly the same way as the deep neutral tones do in the previous examples. (Read more about this color scheme)|
|When the main palette contains very deep tones, like this basement media room, below (see article), I will often use a contracting light tone in the entryway. In this case, I bring a slightly deeper tone of the yellow from the kitchen down the stairs into the basement. I also use a mixed slate palette with light reflective tones in the backsplash of the kitchenette. The yellow, tans and grey of the slate and entry wall contrast beautifully with the deep charcoal of the walls and grey ceiling. The reverse approach has the same effect of a transition in your journey and a welcome to a cozy, intimate space to relax.|
|All images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build|