Color blocking is an easy design trend for do-it-yourselfers

By Leslie Massey Published: July 16, 2013 | 3:30 pm 0

Interior decorating often pulls its cues from the fashion world and we see various design trends - both fashion and home decorating - repeated throughout time.

Color blocking is one of the latest movements to return to the runway in a big way. Perhaps, not surprisingly, it's jumping right over the catwalk to interior design as well.

"Color blocking is a super-modern, very contemporary type of decorating," said Katherine Speas, with Speas Interior Design. "It's fun to do and can create some very fashionable interiors."

Simply put, color blocking is pairing two or more colors to make a bold statement. Because the emphasis is on simple shapes, color blocking offers a straightforward way to create dazzling style without reinventing the entire room.

Speas suggests choosing tones that are complementary - such as blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple - to get the best results. "It's also good to stay in the same color family, such as all neons or all pastels."

Part of the fun of color blocking is its versatility.

You can use color blocking to create a statement wall, as artwork or to emphasize specific elements or features in a room.

"Color blocking is a way of designing that works with certain personality types," said Christie Cassidy, with Cassidy Interior Design. "Just like the person who is always wearing the newest fashions, it's perfect for someone who wants a really big punch."

This bold design is about arranging solid-colored shapes in a way that the overall image takes on a geometrical design. That doesn't necessarily mean the color blocks have to be uniform or symmetrical - because part of the fun is arranging them in whatever way you like.

"It's a great trend for do-it-yourselfers," Cassidy said. "You can have a lot of fun choosing your favorite colors and creating patterns that you love."

Paint a horizontal stripe near the floor to produce the look of wide, painted baseboards, or near the ceiling to suggest crown molding

Adding color to a recessed wall can make it recede. Incorporating a color block can also help make your fireplace pop. For instance, painting the area surrounding the fireplace (up to the ceiling) with a different color than the rest of the wall.

For most folks, straight lines make sense for square rooms and sharp edges give a more serious, structured feel to a room. So, block shapes tend to be the most commonly used. However, creating circles and curved lines can give your space a lighter and more original touch.

"Color blocking can be very effective for kids' rooms or basements," said Cassidy. "Paint is an economical and easy way to decorate - and also easy to replace down the road."

Making inexpensive and playful headboards or frames around mirrors or artwork with color blocking is an easy and powerful way to dress things up.

"Some people suggest only using only a couple colors," said Speas, "but you can use as many as you like."

Some basic color blocking ideas might be creating stripes on a wall, or using curtains and rugs to add color.

With a few cushions and-or throw blankets and adding some accessories, you can color block your living room quite easily. Try it out on sofas by using slip covers and pillows to create contrast.

Also, painting the edges of bookcases a different color than the interior or refacing the drawers of a dresser with a different color can be eyecatching.

If you choose to implement color blocking with paint, most design experts suggest practicing your ideas on paper before beginning your technique on the walls.

Plan the shape on the wall according to the size of the space and make sure you consider the placement of furniture in the room.

Creating a template to work with will help apply the shapes in a professional and structured manner. Measure your shape or pattern on the wall, drawing very lightly with a pencil, then apply painters tape to the lines if they're straight. If using curved lines, it's best to use a stencil.

Color makes life creative and fun, so why not bring some of this whimsical character to your home? Whether you prefer bold colors or softer tones make your favorite room the best place to slow down and relax.

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