Limit paint colors and add contrast
Oversize your wall art
Artwork that’s big, colorful and splashy provides an immediate drawer. And while we may hanker for a David Hockney, or Damien Hirst, the truth is that art doesn’t have to be pricey or have a stellar provenance to capture attention. Today, we have lots of affordable options.
If you have an artist friend — or want to channel your inner Picasso, take a cue from Ricky Gonzalez, creative director for Value City Furniture. He created vibrant backgrounds by painting big flowers on wood boards in one room and on shiplap panels in another.
If you have existing photos or artwork that you want to work with, numerous online companies let you upload to their site, and get enlargements printed onto canvas for framing or as panels to hang like wallpaper. Two sources that we like are MegaPrint and CanvasPop. If you are looking for a really bold, large scale addition to your space, Flavor Paper whose website declares “This is not your grandmother’s wallpaper” produces some of the hippest wallpaper around.
Everyone knows that paint remains one of the easiest, least expensive ways to change a room. And it can introduce a “wow” as well when colors contrast boldly, and their placement is a bit out of the ordinary. Chicago designer Summer Thornton of Summer Thornton Design used Farrow & Ball’s intense St Giles Blue in a flat finish on walls, a color not usually selected in such a big dose, for an elegant vintage apartment. Thornton made the blue pop more by giving the ceiling multiple coats of a contrasting oilbased white from Fine Paints of Europe. Though our rule is to limit wows, exceptions abound. Case in point: Thornton added a big 1940s Murano glass chandelier that reflects the vibrant blue.
Another riff on the paint idea is to go black on a ceiling, where it’s least expected, continue down part of the walls and paint the rest in contrasting white. The effect is a visual surprise that modernizes a traditional dining room, says Nivara Xaykao, color marketing and development specialist at paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore. For best coverage, use a tinted primer and two coats of the colors.
Creative director Ricky Gonzalez painted oversize flowers on wood boards to create a vibrant background.
Swap out a dainty pendant light for something bigger and bolder, says Los Angeles designer Lori Gilder.
For a dramatic effect, try a dark color on a ceiling, where it’s least expected.
The Shaker stove from Wittus works in a traditional or contemporary interior.