Lake Stevens designer: Skip trends when choosing paint

Color is an easy and inexpensive way to change the way you feel about your home, says Kelly DuByne of Distinctive Interior Designs.

DuByne is a color expert and an important part of her Lake Stevens-based interior design business is helping clients incorporate it effectively.

“People like color and are open to it, but they are overwhelmed,” she said. “They don’t make a decision and end up going with neutral or white on their own.”

Color is personal, and it affects mood and behavior, DuByne said. There’s a reason high-end restaurants might choose deep burgundy in the dining room. The color makes people want to stay, chat and eat— and perhaps order another bottle of wine.

If you want to lose weight, paint your kitchen blue. There are few foods that are blue and the color tends to curb appetite.

Experts come out with an annual selection of colors that drive what consumer products will look like. That selection is based on a number of factors, including the economy.

One company that generally sets the tone for others is Pantone. Next spring’s color is dazzling blue. This year’s was emerald.

Trends are just that — trends, DuByne said. Instead of what’s going with what’s hot, she urges people to choose colors that make them content.

She also challenges her clients to stretch what colors they might consider. Even colors that make some of her clients initially nervous they inevitably end up liking when they see the results, she said.

Here are a few of her suggestions.

Start with wall color. DuByne asks her clients how they’d like to feel in their homes. Comfortable? Calm? Active? Greens tends to elicit calm. Reds, oranges and yellows with a warm undertone can create a comfortable, welcoming feeling.

Vibrant colors in other parts of the house make you want to get to work. She’s done clients’ laundry rooms in hot pink and lime green.

The hallway leading from her front door to her kitchen and living room is orange, a warm color meant to draw visitors to the back of the house.

She chose yellow for a north-facing front living room. The color provides some light in a room that gets little natural light.

Color is personal and if you don’t like a color, avoid it. At the same time, you might choose a color that you have a warm memory of, for instance, a yellow kitchen.

Don’t be afraid to go dark. Many people have heard the advice not to paint a small room a dark color because it will make the room appear smaller. Or they’re afraid to go dark because the Northwest is dark already.

It’s OK to use dark colors, she said. Her own powder room is an espresso shade. There’s no fooling anybody that the room is small and the color feels warm. She’s made the room feel welcoming by adding framed photos of her kids’ artwork.

Dark colors are OK in the Northwest, too, as long as they have warm undertones. She likes a line at Ace Hardware called Clark &Kensington. Color choices are limited — which is a good thing for those overwhelmed by the huge color decks — and the color palettes use warm gray undertones.

Choose a neutral couch. Sometimes people opt to get that pop of color in the living room through furniture. DuByne suggests instead choosing a neutral sofa and letting the color come through in wall color, accessories and other, less expensive pieces of furniture.

A couch is an expensive purchase, one most people have to live with a number of years. Neutral colors for the couch include creams, whites, grays, yellows, greens and black (which is technically not a color).

She likes adding a pop of color with an upholstered arm chair in a fun, colorful fabric. It’s fine to not have everything match. Pick a fun pattern.

Think about accessories. Add that pop of color with items that are more easily changed out. It’s far easier to swap throw pillows than buy big pieces of furniture.

She likes to fill hurricane vases with personal items for an extra bit of color. Keep the items similar: all beach glass or wine corks or rocks.

She’s also a fan of re-using found items. In her own home, she’s taken old stained glass windows and hung them on curtain rods. Many people might hang them in the window, but instead she’s chosen to use it an unusual way by hanging it on the wall.

That gives some extra pop of color and provides a nice contrast to the wall color.

Add art. Try an arrangement of personal, framed items on the wall. Art doesn’t need to be expensive. She frames her kids’ art or she makes her own.

Consider painting a piece of furniture. A bright red metal cabinet lights up her personal office. Add a touch of color in any room by painting a second-hand find or something tired you already own.

Add a contrasting color to make things pop. Providing a sharp contrast to a painted wall makes that color stand out. That extra color could be painted trim. It could be something more fixed in the room such as cabinets, tile or countertops.

Get psyched

Color expert Kelly DuByne teaches classes periodically on color and interior design. Her next, “Get Psyched about Color: What Color to Paint Your Rooms and Why,” is set for Nov. 14 at the Van Valey House, 2130 Colby Ave., Everett. Register with Everett Parks and Recreation by calling 425-257-8300, ext. 2.

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