5 steps to choosing colour

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5 steps to choosing colour

Choosing colour for your home can be daunting. Whether it's paint for the walls or fabric for the sofa, most people get confused and are scared to make the "wrong" decision. Stop putting it off -- we've enlisted Marci Lipman, co-owner (with her sister, Louise Lipman) of Lipman Contemporary Art, a Toronto art gallery/ design store, to share her colour secrets.

1 Make it personal
Don't be afraid of your own taste. Remember that your home is a reflection of you. If you travel and see colourful things you love, don't worry about whether or not they'll match your decor, bring them home! Don't be afraid to show off your objects - they not only hold memories for you, but will show others what you love, and can become conversation pieces. I have shelves filled with various things I've collected from around the globe. I have African art, Inuit crafts, glass and ceramic pieces, and folk art from Mexico and Nova Scotia.

2 Be inspired
To choose colour, you first have to know what you like and what you don't like. Look to art for inspiration. Visit galleries and shops, and go to museums. Viewing a lot of art can help define what appeals to you. Once you've seen enough, you'll be able to recognize the colours you like, and the textures, styles and shapes you prefer. Buying art is a great way to choose colour.

3 Take small steps
If you're not quite ready to choose colour for the walls, start small with accessories. Dress up a room with throws, pillows, lamps, art and so on. We sell lamps that feature original watercolour paintings as lampshades. When the lamp is on it radiates with colour -- a large effect for little commitment. If you're not 100 per cent sure about acolour palette, replace colourful accessories seasonally. It will help you confirm the colours you like best in your space. If you're ready to take a bigger step, add colour to your floor. I have plain wood floors at home with bright, colourful woven rugs from Turkey and Nepal on top. I have rugs all over the place, even over beige carpet.

4 Be brave
The most important thing to remember is that nothing is permanent. It's only paint; if you don't like it, paint over it! Colour is eye candy, so don't be scared or intimidated by it. You can stick with neutral furniture and neutral walls if you want, but be brave enough to add colour throughout the house in other ways. I started my career by selling poster art; I could always sell Matisse prints because of the bright colours. Years later I designed and sold clothing, and, again, the bright T-shirts were extremely popular. Colour is joyful and playful: it makes you happy to look at it.

5 Look at what you wear
Most people choose clothing to go with their skin colour, hair colour, eye colour and so on. Sticking to what suits you makes sense: the colours you wear often probably best represent the colours you're comfortable with. So when choosing colours for an interior space, surround yourself with ones you're already used to seeing. I wear a lot of neutral colours and my decor tends to feature creams and browns, but I have very vibrant art and accessories. Why not accessorize a room the way you'd dress up an outfit? You can put bright colour on one wall in a room, the same way I'd wear head-to-toe neutral colours and add a great red scarf.

Image courtesy of Pottery Barn



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5 steps to choosing colour