• Helga Brauer


Updated: Oct 14, 2018

In recent years, white and neutral tones have been getting more and more popular. With contemporary styles becoming more clean, with straight lines and sleek materials, light and airy colors have been the natural choice. At first, the trend consisted of all neutral palettes with whites and cream colors completely covering the space. I’ve never been a fan of the “all white” design craze… maybe that’s why it’s on it’s way out. I love a classic look, and let’s be real here; white is classic and will never completely go out of style. My favorite designs of former all-white designs usually feature accent walls but some of you (ahem college students and roommates) have no choice and can’t really do much in the way of painting walls or putting up wallpaper. Most recently, bright and vivid colors have been the new fad. Being a huge fan of bright colors myself, I love this new mania, but I’m not about to re-design my entire apartment because as all trends do, it will eventually die and I will be stuck with an out-dated apartment that will begin to feel like Crayola barfed all over it. What’s the solution? If you own your own home (or have permission from your landlord) and are looking to add architectural details with splashes of color, you could add a tile backsplash and colored dishes in your kitchen with some accent plants and colorful blankets, pillows, flowers, artwork and lighting in bedrooms, and living rooms. With colors being the new “thing”, now is the best time to find any of the items you need in your favorite color!

What Colors Should I Use?

Did you know that colors can alter your mood? Fortune 500 companies have marketing teams who work hard studying colors and the effect they have on us as consumers. One company not only uses a certain combination of colors to evoke our appetite, but also gives us the sense of wanting to “eat and go”. We can now use these same principles to create serenity, peace, or even to portray a certain image onto visitors and guests.

Here's a little guide if you're having a difficult time trying to make a selection:

White - projects purity and cleanliness.

Green - projects harmony as it is found in nature, it's persuasive and is associated with healing. Darker greens are associated with tranquility, peace and renewal.

Blue - A very popular color, blue symbolizes trustworthiness, dependability and integrity, while the deeper shades are more spiritual in nature, and project wisdom, sincerity and tranquility.

Grey - The color of intellect and wisdom. It represents compromise, maturity and neutrality.

Brown - embodies feelings of trustworthiness and reliability. It is often found in nature providing stability and dependability to all creatures.

Red - While red can evoke passion, stimulation and excitement, it can have a negative effect if used in certain areas. The color is common in the use of restaurant logos and decor as it promotes hunger, and can also create a sense of aggression or stress.

Purple - Encompasses the balance between the stimulation from the color red and the relation from the color blue.

Yellow - Projects a sense of optimism, happiness and positive energy as it mimics the sun, as well as fostering creativity. Be careful, though! Yellow is full of energy and should be used with caution in your bedroom! Orange, which is yellow with a little red in it, has many of the same effects as yellow, but adds a little more of red's stimulation and drama.

Pink - The color of different moods, different shades have different effects. While darker magentas and fuchsias are a little more dramatic, lighter pinks are associated with romance, sensitivity and compassion.

Using Nature

Plants are a great way to add a little pop of color to any room while creating a peaceful and harmonious ambiance. If you live in a big city like I do, fresh and pure air are very important! Did you know that certain plans even have air purifying capabilities?

Here are a few examples:

Viper’s Bowstring Hemp (Sansevieria Trifasciata)

This beatifully dramatic plant grows tall and has lovely foliage with contrasting colors that can really add to any empty space. Not only does it produce an ample amount of oxygen, it also removed more than 100 known air pollutants including chloroform, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and many more. Viper’s Bowstring Hemp is one the the top purifying plants identified by NASA. This resilient plant doesn’t need much water and loves sunlight, but also does well in shady areas.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)

With modern living, our bodies tend to consume a lot of harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Most of these VOCs are found in our homes via textiles in our furniture, drapes and clothing, flooring, and even the paint on our walls. The Golden Pothos is most known for its ability to grow uncontrollably, but you can simply clip the excess and re-plant for more clean air! Place this beauty in a partly shaded space for best results!

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The peace lily has a beautiful white flower and removes all indoor pollutants caused by electronics, furniture, and household cleaning products. A favorite among house plant enthusiasts, it’s been rated among the top indoor plants for air purifying. Leave this plant in indirect sunlight for best results and water every 4-7 days.

Golden Cane Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens)

Another great option for purifying formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene, this beautiful spraying plant also doubles as a natural humidifier, transpiring 1 liter of water every 24 hours into the air. Place this plant by areas with filtered light and keep this plant in a smaller pot to prevent it from growing too large.

Colorful Textures

Textiles are so much fun to play around with. There are so many colors, patterns and textures to choose from where does one start?

When I am working on a project, I usually like to look around for one piece that really speaks to me; a pattern or color(s) that feel like the essence of the project I'm doing. When I find that piece, it's easier to select the rest of the fabrics.

Let's take this green wool striae from Maharam as an example. it has the obvious: green, but upon closer inspection, you can also see hints of yellow, and even a little brown. So I will look for accent fabrics in those colors. If I want to choose a pattern, I can pretty much choose any pattern since the pattern here is stripe and since this fabric has a few colors on it, I would choose accent fabrics with either yellow or brown in them. If your selection is a solid fabric, you can choose accents that are complementary, analogous or triadic.

So for this instance, I could choose the following combinations:

  1. Green and red-violet

  2. Green, yellow-green and yellow

  3. Blue-violet and red-orange

There are so many things you can do with colors, but the most important rule you must always follow is to have fun with it!


Helga Brauer

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | New York Properties

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Licensed in New York State

590 Madison Avenue, 40th Floor, New York, NY 10022

(646) 677-1056

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