Color makes a comeback in dcor

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A revolution is sweeping the country.

It isnt the red states versus the blue ones or the other way around, but red and blue and green and orange and yellow and purple all rising up together against the tyranny of the taupe tones … and all those other beige and vanilla neutrals that ruled home dcor for so long.

The effect is light and bright, said Mary Mitchell  at Mitchell Designs in Alexandria. She added that the best and brightest shades  include pumpkin orange, celery green, lime green, hot pink and pastels, sometimes cooled by a creamy background. In place of the traditional beiges and whites, light blue and grey often appear as the new neutrals.

We have seen a resurgence of color for walls and ceilings, said Sara Shragal, national spokeswoman for Direct Buy, which has a members showroom at its Chantilly location.

People should not be afraid of color, she added. Jute yellow and eggplant purple are among their most popular choices right now.

That combination is brilliantly illustrated in rooms designed by Judith Busch at Great Falls Distinctive Interiors.

If those trendy tones sound like the colors women are wearing this summer, theres a good reason for that.

When you see the color in the fashions, you know it is also in the furniture, said Rosemary Bell at Model Homes Interiors. The model homes are always ahead of the other home designers, and we have been doing aqua and chocolate for years.

More recently she has been using orange in a way that won a Major Achievements in Marketing award for the Cambridge model at Fair Oaks Landing, a new Stanley Martin community. Her decoration took the prize for attached housing priced between $550,000 and $750,000.

Due to its open, flowing floor plan, with the main rooms adjoining each other, the model virtually demanded a unified color scheme. Bell combined the vivid orange accessories with the warm, traditional beige background, thus providing the best of both decorating worlds.

Rather than using different colors on the walls, you can keep them warm and neutral, then add the popular colors in accessories like the draperies, art, cushions, bedspreads and flowers, she explained.

Her orange accessories are even more exciting, thanks to their contrasting textures. From the plush sofa in the recreation room, to the flowers and draperies in the dining area, to the accent wall and satin cushions in the master suite, the accent colors keep providing welcome surprises throughout the house.

At Lita Dirks & Co., Dirks  used orange and copper accents against a traditional beige and cocoa background. The result was a MAME award for homes in the $1 million to $1.3 million range. It went to the Grand Cezanne model at Poplar Parc in Chantilly, by WCI Communities.

She explained the concept by saying, If you had the warm, bright colors everywhere, it would keep you  in one room, rather than giving you a taste for them and then leading you on to another area, in search of more.

Like all model homes, these two prize-winners stayed with the same basic rule: keep it clean, clear and uncluttered. Homeowners should follow the same formula, Mitchell added,  to achieve that light and bright effect, especially if they are trying to sell their houses.

Get rid of the big pieces and the crowded ones, she said. Do away with the oversized furnishings. Most people no longer need a big cabinet, because they have flat-screen TV.

They certainly dont need books, knick-knacks and collectibles lying around, she insisted. Take them off the tables and put them in a nice display cabinet, she advised.

To further enhance that light and bright atmosphere, she said, many people are choosing furnishings in lighter woods, rather than the traditional dark cherry and mahogany.

If color is making a comeback, that could be the silver lining in the home sales cloud (and the gold, bronze and copper lining, too). Rather than keeping their dwellings ready for the market by decorating them in safely neutral shades, the homeowners are choosing the colors they enjoy.

As Shragal put it, Across the nation, there has been a sales slowdown, so people are staying put and making their homes more comfortable for themselves.

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