Welcome to part two in the “make over your office inexpensively” series. Today we are going to talk about color. Color is very personal and subjective. There is no “wrong color”. Only what appeals to you personally.
As an interior designer I often have to be part marriage counselor in helping couples select colors for their home that they both can live with. In my own home you might be surprised to learn that I am of the “White is alright!” camp while Mr. Décor is firmly entrenched in the “Bold is better!” category.
The most simple but important design tip that I could ever give to you is this: in your own home don’t surround yourself with a color (on walls, accessories, etc.) that you wouldn’t wear. Are you scratching your head?
I have received many calls from people who were very unhappy with their homes and they didn’t know why. Like the auburn haired beauty who had made a cocoon of tomato red and couldn’t figure out why she had begun hating her home. Right when I walked in the door I knew. I asked one simple question. “Do you have this color anywhere in your wardrobe?” “Her reply was “Oh goodness no! I would never wear red, I look horrible……” She didn’t even finish what she was saying. The light bulb had been lit.
It is human nature to be drawn to certain colors. We like what we like. Sometimes we get off track when someone tells us “sky blue is no longer fashionable”. Stay true to yourself.
Now neither Mr. Décor or myself is partial to mustard. Which happens to be the color of the settee I brought home. So what to do when faced with this dilemma? Pair it with colors that you do like that work well with the less desirable color.
Although there are no wrong colors, there are very definitely wrong pairings of color. Again this is tricky concept for some. From the time I was tiny I would emphatically state “those colors don’t go”. Once I had completed a semester long class on color I then understood why my inner voice said so. For those lacking the voice it’s ok. Today one only has to google “What color looks good with chartreuse” (or insert any other color) to find answers. But there are also several books on successfully pairing color and her sister, pattern.
For those who are afraid of color there are ways to introduce it slowly that won’t overwhelm. I myself love an all neutral background with just hints of color found in the accessories.
So here is what is happening in the office. I knew I wanted to soften the chest with a few pillows. Both Mr. Décor and I love and wear teal well. The long lumbar shape mimicked the shape of the trunk. In design repetition is always a good thing. In a twist the shiny satin is a textural contrast to the carved wood.
The square pillow marries the mustard of the settee with the teal and other chosen color. But I’ll give you a hint. It’s not gonna be gray.
I had been looking for a round magenta pillow. Could I find one in my price point? Of course not. I did find this gray pillow at Ross for an acceptable price. (Unless it is an antique, I never pay more than $10 for a pillow.) The first thing I checked was if it had a zipper cover. Check! Then I searched for the fabric content~ 100 % cotton. Perfect! A superb candidate for a dip in a magenta dye bath. Because if it fails, I am only out $5.99. This is a very important point to consider. Don’t dye anything (IE a family heirloom) if you would be devastated if it didn’t turn out.
I had purchased a second pillow that will go on the settee. I chose to dye one pillow at a time to make sure it turned out ok before I dipped another $5.99 into a pot of boiling dye. (I mixed equal amounts of Rit dye fuchsia and violet to achieve my desired shade of magenta.) You’ll see the results in an upcoming blog post.
In addition to the pillows I wanted to dye a vintage linen tablecloth, from my friend Jenny , a pretty shade of teal. There was also white vintage pompom trim that needed to be golden yellow so that I could create a very low cost window mistreatment of sorts.
Regarding the dye~ I prefer liquid dye. It is much easier to control the intensity of the color you want. Particularly if you are dyeing a small amount and don’t necessarily need to use an entire washing machine. For the white pom pom trim I had to settle for the powdered dye as I could not find the shade I needed in liquid form. (I sprinkled in 1/2 of the box sealing the rest in a zip lock bag for future use.)
Tip: If you do have to use powder dye I recommend using the hottest water you can so that it will dissolve completely. If you don’t, the color could streak or spot.
When using the stove top method make sure you use a stainless steel pot and utensil. Otherwise you might dye something you wish you hadn’t. After you have checked that the dye has dissolved completely add a small piece into the bath to check it is the color you want.
After a first dip I knew that the color needed to be a bit “muddier” so I added a tea bag. This is me just winging it. For those who need a more precise way of doing things Rit does have a complete color formula guide on their website to help you achieve the color you want.
Perfect poms! They were pinned onto the now teal tablecloth and given a zig zag stitch.
It’s looking less like a tablecloth and more like a drape.
I plan on adding a wide ribbon trim next to the poms and sewing a fabric tieback. But it’s looking pretty good for a $4.00 curtain.
So how am I inexpensively transforming this eye sore? First and foremost the excess fabric will be
torn off removed. Then a slipcover has to be made.
While in Pier 1 I spotted a chair slipcover that was originally $69.95 and marked down to an incredible $4.98. The fabric was good quality. It was also 100% cotton and therefore eligible for a dye bath dip. The damask print was an excellent paring to the French inspired settee.
On a side note I also receive a 20% designer discount on new and clearance items so that brought it down to a mere $3.98. I bought two.
Something to consider: Often the discounts a designer receives (and hopefully passes onto their client) can result in a savings substantial enough that it “pays” for their services.
I will have to remove the upper portion of the chair cover (I’ll create a pillow from the leftover fabric.) and tweak the rest of it to fit. But I think it is a fantastic low cost option for the ottoman. The total price? Ottoman $8, slipcover $3.98 plus $2.00 if I decide to dye the fabric. I’m waiting to see what color is needed in the room.
So what am I doing with the second seat cover? Covering a seat of course! It too needs a bit of pinning and sewing, but hopefully it will turn out beautifully.
I need a few days to work on some labor intensive projects but hopefully I’ll have some great examples when I talk about inexpensive accessorizing and the power of spray paint very soon.
What is your favorite color?