Color has impact. The minute you enter a room, your senses process the many colors present and you either like it or you don't; you find it tranquil and relaxing or energetic and exciting.
You can work productively in the room or you find it a great place to relax after work.
When choosing colors for your home, it is important to decide how each room is used and what mood you want to convey. Then, choose wall and furniture colors that will make you happy to spend time there for at least the next several years so that you don't have to spend time and money redecorating.
If possible, it is best to start with wall color because that is the backdrop for the room.
Adventurous homeowners who plan to stay in their homes are gravitating toward somewhat neutral paint on most of their walls with accent walls around the front door, behind the couch or television or behind the headboard in their bedroom, according to Kaitlynn Kovalick-Bell, Sherwin-Williams store manager in Hoffman Estates (695 W. Golf Road; (847) 884-2582).
The most popular combination she continued, is the gray/dark cranberry combination or the gray/fired brick red combination. The gray is the neutral color used on the majority of the walls, while the cranberry or fired brick is used on the accent wall.
The second most popular choice is the pale blue room with a navy blue accent wall and the third-ranking option is charcoal gray as the primary color with a parakeet green accent wall, Kovalick-Bell said.
"Ceilings are usually a clean white because they brighten up the space and work in both contemporary and traditional homes," she explained. "But some bold people will go with a very light version of the primary color used in the room like a pale gray or pale blue for the ceiling."
Those who are expecting to sell the home soon will generally stick with beige as the primary color, adding a darker beige tone as the accent wall, she added.
Against these various backdrops, homeowners are assembling the furniture to complete their rooms.
"We are seeing people choosing neutral, but warm, grays and taupes for their chairs, couches and sectionals and getting away from brown," said Anne Hildreth, a designer in the Vernon Hills Steinhafels furniture store. "Then they are choosing accent pillows and rugs for pops of color and they seem to be choosing primarily purple, royal blue, emerald green and bright red."
"Living rooms and family rooms reflect who the owner is as a person. That is primarily where one's personality shines through. So, just as colors in a wardrobe change, colors in a home change -- even season to season. That is why we suggest a neutral backdrop for their large furniture items so that they can easily transition into that next style or the next season. It is easy to change the look of a room from winter to spring, for instance, or from year to year, just by switching out a few pillows, area rugs, vases and stems. Many people enjoy that flexibility."
In dining rooms, on the other hand, Hildreth suggests a very neutral pallet on the walls and furniture because this is where people use seasonal dinnerware and linens and the room needs to be able to adapt.
When it comes to rugs and pillows, geometric lines are "in," particularly the repeated, inverted "V" chevron or zigzag pattern. The other very popular design is the "quatrefoil" representation of a four-leafed clover without a stem. You see it in mirrors, pillows, area rugs and even tile for kitchens and bathrooms, Hildreth said.
"It is a very cool shape and I have seen a proliferation of it -- even in bedding -- over the last six months," she stated.
"Our customers say that they want their homes to be a sanctuary from the chaos of the rest of their lives, especially now that fewer of them are able to take vacations," Hildreth explained. "They want to be able to live their everyday lives and feel comfortable there. So I tell them the trends and then we are able to help them with choosing lighting, window treatments and even wall colors."
Steinhafel's designers will even help homeowners make sure that their various rooms flow together for a cohesive look.
"You can still choose totally different styles for different rooms and we love to mix old and rustic with sleek and modern, antiques with contemporary. For instance, in living rooms and dining rooms we often help people mix their grandparents' silver with modern tables and transitional mirrors," Hildreth said.
Steinhafel's boasts seven furniture stores in Wisconsin and one in Vernon Hills, at 569 N. Milwaukee Ave. For more information, call (847) 281-0050 or visit www.steinhafels.com.