finding color inspiration
by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3
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4 Walk around the 'hood Color looks different in different places. I never appreciated that fact until I moved to Tucson. In the New England town where I grew up, houses mostly came in tasteful grays and whites and tans, and colorful meant the occasional brick red or spruce green. These were muted, calm, conservative colors, and in Massachusetts, they looked just right. So when I first moved to the southwest, my bland New England-bred tastes were shocked by the crazy clash of hues represented in any given block of stucco houses. There were tangerine orange houses with cornflower blue trim, and Grimace purple houses with lime green trim; there were houses in which each wall was painted in a different blaring day-glo hue. And frankly, that barrage of loud colors scared me. It took awhile, but eventually, the colors started to grow on me. By the time I moved into my current teal-trimmed flamingo pink house, I realized that the loud colors were the only ones that didn't looked washed-out and drab under the brutal Tucson sun. So when it came time to choose a color for my gate, I didn't choose a safe white or even the logical teal that would have matched the existing trim; I went with a caution-sign orangey-yellow. And it's now one of my favorite colors.
So stroll around your neighborhood. Look at the colors of the houses, the doors, the shutters; stop in a favorite coffee shop, restaurant or store. See what other folks in your neck of the woods are doing to color their spaces beautiful.
5 Around the world Of course, sometimes you have to get away from what you know to find inspiration. Different cultures have incredibly different ways of incorporating color into their daily lives. Years back, I remember looking through some friends' travel snaps from India, and promptly obsessing over all the beautiful sari colors I'd see in each picture. At a time when the Gap-color-palette of the season was all about the steely blues and maroons and tame khaki neutrals, it was kind of amazing to find that hot pink and turquoise and orange actually go together beautifully.
If you're a seasoned globetrotter, you no doubt have piles and piles of photographs chock full of potential color inspiration. Flip through your old photo albums and take a look at all those photos you've snapped on vacations past. Haven't traveled much? Check out other people's travel picks by browsing through travel magazines and books.
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Color offers such an infinity of possibilities that it's easy to take the easy way out and stick with what's safe. The problem with safe is that it's just a tad boring too. Take the time to look carefully at all that color has to offer. Then fill your home with the hues that really make your little heart sing.