Stepping into the new year with new colors and accessories

by Patricia Cove
Posted 1/14/21

Happy New Year! 2021 has arrived, and I think I think I must have read more than 20 articles on how things are going to be different going forward.

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Stepping into the new year with new colors and accessories


Happy New Year! 2021 has arrived, and I think I think I must have read more than 20 articles on how things are going to be different going forward. Thinking about that, and realizing that our homes will remain the places that we live, eat, entertain -- and now even work -- maybe we can allow ourselves to think about how we could change those surroundings and maybe even create the rooms and spaces we have been dreaming about.

Having had the time to really examine the spaces in which we live -- our furnishings, our walls, our floors, our windows -- we may have also begun to envision what a new space could look like. What will be the primary changes we start to see in interiors in this new decade?

Starting with paint color, I am very disappointed to report that Pantone has once again, selected “Ultimate Gray” as one of the colors of the year. Wait...What?? I thought I had convinced everyone that gray is the color of ambiguity and irresolution, neither black nor white, not pointing to an ending, just the continuation of an indefinite period. Don’t we want this period to be over? Aren’t your gray walls looking a bit dated?

But there is some good news. Pantone actually selected a SECOND color of the year. (No doubt knowing there would be considerable push back, with their other choice) And that color is “Illuminating Lemon” Now there is a color that is sure to brighten a room!

So, if you could change one of your spaces, what should you do? Well, along with gray, (and I ‘ve been saying this for quite a while), the Restoration Hardware look is finally over too. Now is the time to put your plan in place, so when we can all go out again, you will have all your elements ready, and your new space can begin to take shape.

Many people have a hard time deciding what should come first. Well, there is no hard and fast rule. In design, it is the things you want to keep that should come first. It may be an inherited carpet that determines the color scheme, or a wallpaper that you still enjoy, or a big comfortable chair that you just can’t part with.

Choose a color from the existing upholstery or wallcovering, or carpet that can serve as an accent to new pieces being considered. Keep in mind, though, that painting the walls the same color as your upholstery does not complement your furnishings, but makes them fade away. The right wall color should be a contrast rather than a match.

Find a good antique or re-sale store. The look of the future is one that combines modern upholstery pieces with antique case goods. This combination gives a room character, adds interest to the space, and most of all allows you to express your own individuality. The hunt for just the right tables with a little bit of patina, can become a fun experience, especially when done with a partner!

A statement carpet can also become like a piece of art, standing alone as an object of beauty within the space. Since it becomes such a large piece in the room, it can serve as a backdrop, like the wall color, or as a major focal point within the space.

Accessorize your room with things you love. Keep in mind some design concepts like balance and proportion will enable your accessories to complement the larger furnishings, not detract from them. Buy some new lamps in more modern designs that will add ambient light and provide a warm welcoming glow.

So, with just a few tweaks, you can bring your rooms into 2021, having them reflect your individuality and adding some much-needed comfort in our unsettled world.  

Patricia Cove is Principal of Architectural Interiors and Design in Chestnut Hill and can be reached through the web site:

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