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photo by sara ligorria-tramp for ehd | arlyn’s moody dining room reveal

Hey guys, I’m back with the very beginning stages of my MOTO (aka “Makeover Takeover”). I mentioned in my last post that my boyfriend and I are moving into a new apartment on August 1 and I am feeling the pressure to start thinking about my ever-approaching design process because we’re not bringing much with us. I don’t think I need to reiterate to you all that I have not done this before (this being designing an apartment for the INTERNET to see and judge), so it is all very exciting and absolutely terrifying.

So to get things rolling, what else could I do besides go on pinning frenzies aided by a glass of wine, in a desperate search for inspiration? My apartment is small but mighty and does not have a ton of architectural charm really, so my inspirations are that of small spaces, with DIY moments and storage solutions. In my very important research, I found out quickly that with an icebox style apartment such as mine (i.e. the visual interest of the inside of a freezer), all the charm and intrigue is going to come from styling and color. So, I got to really thinking about color as it applies to my design plan. Specifically, I began contemplating what color to paint the bedroom and/or kitchen, and how I could incorporate bold hues throughout our place in a way that would be cohesive and feel like us.

I did not want to embark on this color journey alone, and though I am extremely blessed to have team EHD guiding me in so many ways, the psychology of color was something I was very interested in learning about and implementing into this project I will soon call my home. I am a visual person, and I notice how color affects me in my daily life constantly. Red makes me feel powerful. Black makes me feel confident and sophisticated. Yellow and orange (in moderation) give my brain a happy energy boost. None of this is scientific but is certainly a very real thing I have observed in my own life. It makes sense to me that colors affect how we feel—it’s one of the first things we connect with as children. As a kid (and probably as an adult, too) you have a favorite color. You love that color and would do anything to see that color as much as possible. Why? Because that color makes you happy, or is associated with good feelings. THIS IS FASCINATING TO ME and I sincerely hope it is for some of you, too, because if not, you’re about to fall straight to sleep. So, yes, I had a lot of questions and since we have a few connects in the industry (job perk!) I was able to send over my burning color questions to some very insightful color experts. 

Some of these questions are specific to me (though I know a lot of you will relate) but I snuck in a few for you parents out there because I think children have a special relationship with color and also because I am at my core, a giver. Let’s get to it, shall we?

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1. design by Loft Kolasinski Studio image via home world design | 2. image via apartment therapy

I love red but have a bit of anxiety. Does red TRULY cause intense feelings/anxiety? If so, how much does it affect anxiety and can you recommend a way to maybe bring it into your home in a way that won’t be overwhelming?

“Shades of red have been said to raise blood pressure, so I recommend being mindful of the rooms you want to use it in. It’s best used in common areas like living and dining rooms. Red is an exciting color that is energizing and fun, perfect for rooms that you want to stimulate conversation. Show Stopper from our “Color Pizzazz” collection is a perfect red that is bold and playful when combined with the other colors from the palette.” — Ashley Banbury, Sr. Color Designer, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

“Not all reds are created equal. It is absolutely possible to create a shade of red that feels warm and inviting, but it can be tricky. Dialing back the saturation is a good place to start. Try a red with an earthy undertone. This will feel more organic and less intense.” — Jamie Davis, Co-Founder of Portola

One of our team members mentioned she heard yellow is said to cause anxiety in babies. Is this true, and if so, what other colors could be good for gender-neutral rooms or nurseries? 

“I have heard the rumor that yellow can cause anxiety for babies, or even bring anger out in some, but the key to picking a color for a baby’s nursery is to select a soft shade. If you want to use yellow in your child’s room, use something muted. Butter Up is a happy optimistic shade that makes a room feel open and airy.” — Ashley Banbury, Sr. Color Designer, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

I don’t have kids, but I have a dog and I’m curious. Since our pups are color blind, how does color affect their behavior or mood (or does it not)?

“Dogs can see shades of color, just not the way we can. Dogs cannot see reds and greens, but can typically see other shades in a more muted lens. Just like humans, dogs have their own personality and can react differently to colors.  If you’re worried the colors of your home are affecting your dogs’ mood, play around with different dog toys and see what shades your dog gravitates towards and responds positively too. But at the end of the day, if you’re concerned your red room that you love might be causing your dog anxiety, rest assured they are probably seeing dark gray.” — Ashley Banbury, Sr. Color Designer, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

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design by elizabeth roberts and john erik karkula | image source

I have a lot of trouble sleeping. Are there colors that help sleep hygiene? Or, what colors are best for creating a calm relaxing space in the bedroom?

“I prefer light colors in general, but there is definitely something to be said for a deep shade in a bedroom like a bold blue or muted green.” — Jamie Davis, Co-founder of Portola

“Colors that are soft, muted and not too stimulating are perfect for creating a calm relaxing environment in the bedroom to promote a healthy sleep cycle. Our Quiet Comfort Color Collection is great a resource when you’re looking for calming tones, HGSW3047 Sensitive Tint is a beautiful soft lavender hue that has the calming effects of a cool shade without compromising colorful style.” — Ashley Banbury, Sr. Color Designer, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

Are there colors that affect young children more than adults?

“From a very young age, children use color as a way of learning. They associate colors with objects and are drawn to bright, primary and secondary colors with a high contrast as a way of navigating the world. The way colors affect children’s moods are very similar to adults; warm hues can be comforting and cooler tones can be calming. Think about a room’s use and then pick your colors. A playroom can be fun and vibrant, while a nursery should be calm and muted so the child can be relaxed to have a peaceful nights’ rest.” — Ashley Banbury, Sr. Color Designer, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

Are some people more susceptible to the effect of color than others? 

“Yes, absolutely. Most people are affected by color as they are by different smells, tastes, etc. Feelings about colors are often deeply rooted in your own personal experiences; for example, an avocado green hue can often remind people of their parents/grandparents kitchen appliances that were bought in the ’70s.” — Rachel Skafidas, Senior Color Designer, Krylon

20170614 La Casa De Paloma Wool 10 1
design by paloma lanna | image source

Are there colors that can help cultivate healthy relationships or communication?

“The colors you surround yourself with can have a powerful impact on your overall attitude and experiences. It’s about using the colors to create a space that evokes a sense of positivity and openness for what’s to come. Surrounding yourself with calm watery tones of blues and sea-glass shades can create a space that is both calming and sophisticated (try HGSW2324 Reflecting Pool, which is is a beautiful color for creating serenity and elegance).” — Ashley Banbury, Sr. Color Designer, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams 

What about feelings of depression? Or any surprising colors that DO in fact affect mood in a way someone might not expect?

“I think the way colors affect people’s moods is totally unique to the individual. We all have our own stories and experiences that lead to who we are and what we like. I have conversations about color every day with homeowners and designers and one of the most interesting things that I’ve learned is to see how people react to colors and how they describe them, too. It’s deep.” — Jamie Davis, Co-Founder of Portola

“The healing powers of color are unique to each and every individual. Seek the colors that speak to you and your personal positivity. Green hues are some of the most well-known for having a positive impact on one’s everyday attitude; ideal for balance and harmony, decreasing the overwhelming feeling of everyday stress. For instance, Green Water 5003-4A is a comforting hue, evoking the calming balance of water. Use with a tone on tone approach to promote positive energy!” — Sue Kim, Color Marketing Manager, Valspar Paint


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photo by sara ligorria-tramp for ehd | portland reveal: a light & bright home office

What are the best colors for a creative space? (Or what colors promote creativity?)

“For creativity, I think light, crisp and clean. I feel it is important to have a blank canvas to allow yourself the freedom to think and create. I get very inspired when traveling by all the fun and bold uses of color, but when I’m in my creative space, I like things to be minimal and clean.” — Jamie Davis, Co-Founder of Portola

“Primary blue (Deep Space 4008-8C for example) is bold and vibrant and is an intellectual color that sparks creativity. When used thoughtfully, it can help increase your focus and efficiency. Favored by many artists, purple is often associated with imagination and creativity. The sociability of red combined with the focus of blue is ideal for a space when looking to spark creativity.” — Sue Kim, Color Marketing Manager, Valspar Paint

Are there colors that help entrepreneurial people?

“Sure, there are colors that are linked to happiness and energy, calmness and relaxing, and imagination.  Depending on what that key driver is for the entrepreneurial person, there is absolutely a color to help!  For instance, most freelance writers have a great sense of imagination so a shade of purple might help them.” — Rachel Skafidas, Senior Color Designer, Krylon

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photography by sara ligorria-tramp | reveal alert: the color trend we’re very into

How does light in a room affect a paint color?

“Lighting is the main element that can change the look and feel of a color in a room, the type and amount of light is something to consider when selecting the perfect color. Most homes have incandescent lights, which is an amber color, making warm tones more vibrant and cool shades more muted. Natural lighting is another lighting element to be mindful of, think of the room type and when it will be used. The direction and time of day the sun comes in could determine the type of sunlight the room gets throughout the day. East-facing rooms get warm sunlight in the morning, while west-facing rooms get the warmth of the sun during the evening.  North and south-facing rooms receive more light throughout the day that is cooler in tone.” — Sue Kim, Color Marketing Manager, Valspar Paint

If you combine a “happy” and “sad” color in a room, how would that affect mood? Do they counterbalance each other in that way?

“All colors have the power of positivity when used with that intention. Think about the emotions you want to evoke in a room and what colors come to mind. If green gives you the feeling of calm balance and that is your intent, pull various shades of green for the space. A room is what you make of it; you have the power to pick the colors that make you feel great!” — Sue Kim, Color Marketing Manager, Valspar Paint

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1. photo by petra bindel | image source 2. design by jenny komenda of juniper studio

Are there certain colors that promote health?

“Colors found in nature can be the most positively healing colors. Sky blues and watery greens are the colors we gravitate towards to bring calm physical and mental balance.” — Sue Kim, Color Marketing Manager, Valspar Paint

What colors cause irritability?

“This is often very subjective. If you have a distaste for a certain hue, no matter what the psychology is behind it, you may not like any shade of it. When selecting a color for your project, it is important to find a color that works well for it and most importantly, that it makes you happy.” — Rachel Skafidas, Senior Color Designer, Krylon

“I’m not a huge fan of orange or yellow. Which has actually been an interesting challenge when creating colors. I have spent a lot of time lately working on how to make yellows and oranges that I like. It’s all about saturation and undertone. I might not love those colors, but plenty of people do.” — Jamie Davis, Co-Founder of Portola

Are there colors that increase laziness?

“I wouldn’t necessarily paint my office dark blue or gray. These colors are beautiful and cozy, but probably won’t promote productivity and excitement. Keep those shades reserved for a den or bedroom.” — Jamie Davis, Co-FOunder of Portola

What is one of the biggest misconceptions about color you see frequently? Anything that someone might be surprised to know?

“That everybody sees colors differently. No two people are alike, so it doesn’t make sense to assume that all people see color the same way and that everybody’s reaction to being in a red room is going to be felt the same way. That is one of the most challenging parts about being a colorist. It is also the most rewarding! I love making colors that make people feel great.” — Jamie Davis, Co-Founder of Portola

Now the fun part. Taking the sound advice graciously provided above, I have a decent idea what color palettes I am willing to work with (which is very much subject to change mind you). So, for my first act in this MOTO journey, I am giving you my color palettes, room by room. You’ll notice most of these are “neutrals” as the key colors with a bunch of other colors as accents because that feels less intimidating to my neophyte decorating ways. I AM VERY CONFIDENT AND NOT AT ALL FRIGHTENED TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU. Here goes:

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My living room is where I spend the most time, and I am not afraid to admit it. It is where I watch TV, read, write, and yes sometimes eat, so it is both a relaxing and creative space for me. This color palette is very much inspired by the living room photo up there (4th photo down from the top). I just love the bright colors but how the room still feels simple and warm. I think for me, creativity and relaxation go hand in hand and in order for me to be my most creative and as calm and “at home” as possible, bright colors and beautiful things to look at are a must.

Emily Henderson Best Colors for Mood-3

If you can picture this, in my new place, you’ll walk straight into my living room from the front door and if you turn your head right, you’d see the sofa. Directly ahead is where our dining table will live. It is not a dining room, nor necessarily a nook, it is just a space. This is fine with me because honestly I don’t sit at the table very often. Since this area is directly adjacent to my living room, I want the colors to work together and flow naturally without repeating the same thing as the living room. I am imagining the living room having more visual interest and colors and the dining area to be a lot more subtle and minimalist. I picture a sleek black dining table, plants, a brass bar cart and some art or centerpiece that incorporates some or all of the accent colors.

Colorpallete Copy

The bane of my existence is that I have a very hard time sleeping. I am a light sleeper and very restless and though I really do not believe that color will make much of a difference for me in this area, I do want to create a relaxing and calming space. I love the idea of having natural colors in my bedroom, because I love love love being in nature. What I really mean by that is “I am outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios” which is a quote I got from a very funny meme I saw once and is also very accurate. Anywho, natural colors and materials that are muted and calming are what I am going for here to create a zen oasis.

Emily Henderson Best Colors for Mood-2

Welcome to my one and only dark and moody moment, where I hope to incorporate just a tiny bit of the Victorian style that I have (to my utter surprise) come to love. I like dark bathrooms, always have, and I really have no idea why so that is where the inspiration for these colors are coming from, I guess. I’d love a Victorian framed vintage painting here, or a really dramatic gold mirror. I also love limewash now, so my dream would be to have a limewash dark dramatic blue, maybe a bold purple painting, and brass hardware and call it a day.

Emily Henderson Best Colors for Mood-1

I really thought about a huge bright red color moment in here. Like, really thought about it. Our cabinets are currently white and you know part of me wants to paint them a bold red. But I think I will chicken out because despite how much I want it if I really think about it, I don’t think it will look good. The kitchen is very narrow and I believe it would feel like being trapped in the parted red sea. SO, I went the opposite route and am now envisioning crisp whites, plants (of course), with a pop of yellow and red with matte black hardware.

And there you have it. I guess doing this post means that I actually have to do my MOTO, and that you all and EHD will be expecting it. GULP. Be advised that all this might change by tomorrow and that I am not responsible for sticking to anything mentioned here today. Oh, and for anyone wondering where the photos of my place are, well, a full introduction to my new home is coming as soon as I get the keys to the place. Stay tuned.

Oh, and as always, throw any specific color recs into the comments, because who doesn’t spend their time wondering about the perfect paint color?

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