This is one of a
continuing series of articles on discovering, buying, commissioning, and
art. If you would like to see more articles
click on this link:
Room Color and Art
Several years ago, we invited some new acquaintances to the house for
dinner. I think that they were very
interested in seeing what artists lived like. You know how that goes;
artists are out of the norm so naturally their
home would reflect their weirdness. Well the dinner was a success but the
comments during dinner were a little
telling of our new acquaintances. Minerva (all names have been changed to
protect the guilty), was of the opinion
that all art had to be displayed on stark white walls with white ceilings to
top it off.
This, according to her emphasis, was akin to the 11th
Commandant given to Moses. Not just any white though – bright white.
Minerva took great umbrage at our living room walls being a semi-gloss red.
We do have a mostly white ceiling but there is also a
mural on the ceiling – with (shudder naked) people in it. Worse we also
had artwork hanging on the red walls. Needless to say, there was no
reciprocal dinner invitation, nor have we seen them since. Obviously, our
tastes in home décor are, to be polite, dissimilar.
This is not a polemic on décor, but a reminder that there is more than one
“right” way to use wall color to display
art. Plain white is perfectly okay for some homes and temperaments. It
gives a neutral backdrop so that the art
can show through. Plain white does make your home look like an art gallery
and a bit sterile (my opinion). On the other hand, lots of different deep
rich color tones in one room can be a problem also. It is all a matter of
taste, your personality, and how well you pull off the total effect.
There are some better slightly more adventurous solutions – without being
totally daring - to make a room more inviting and comfortable. These
neutral shades also show off more of you as an individual and can give a
differentfeel to the art you purchased for the room.
When choosing a white wall color; mix in a bit of a warm shade like red
(very very little or you end up with pink) or a little yellow to warm the
space up with. This will produce a subconscious feeling of energy,
liveliness, or movement.
Another neutral shade to think about is a very light beige. Not coffee with
cream – far lighter. Beige is a neutral color but not lifeless like stark
white. This is also a color that promotes calm.
Think about picking a neutral shade such as a very pale gray – definitely
not battleship gray. Make sure that the
gray that you pick has some red in it. Grays can feel warm and enticing
because of the warm red tints used in the paint. Grays can be cold (blue in
the paint mixture) and less inviting. The bluer tones are good if you want
promote a feeling of quiet, calmness, thoughtfulness, etc. If the gray tint
is to dark it will make your room(s) look dingy.
The ceilings are considerably easier though. White is usually called
for but not just any white. To steal from a great
source – Oprah – mix a slight tint of the wall color in the white for your
ceiling. The slight tint used in the ceiling white will bring the room
The hardest part is selecting a color for the walls. For that, input from
your spouse/significant other is called for; but only if they live with
you. If it is just you - do what feels right. After all this is just paint
not brain surgery on your
Mother. If you are not enamored with the color change it.