Bringing peace to your inner space

May 7, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Looking for ways to spiffy up your indoor décor for spring? It’s as close as the nearest paint shop.

“Color is so important,” said Alexa Milton, an interior designer based in Issaquah. “People should really look at living with more color because it does enhance your lifestyle.”

Spring, usually a rainy season in Issaquah, is the perfect opportunity to affordably spruce up your indoors when you don’t feel like heading outdoors yet. It can also keep you from feeling drab before summer begins.

“It is important to work with color within your home because of how much it can change a home in a very affordable way,” said Carrie Jayne, an Issaquah resident and owner of Carrie Jayne Designs. Color “can affect the look of your home by changing both the mood and the style of your home.”

Bringing outdoor colors inside is a great way to enhance indoor space, Milton said.

For instance, if you like the color of the tree outside your window as the light shines through it, re-create it as a color on an accent wall in your home.

For a recent larger remodel, Milton helped the owners of a contemporary Japanese-inspired house pull in the tones of water around them to create a Zen-like bathroom.

“The owners enjoyed the color of the water and all the different changes in the water color, like the grayer tones in the winter and in spring and summer, the more vibrant blue and greens,’” Milton said. “We started with what made them most happy and then brought those colors in and brought in natural round stones, and natural hard surfaces that gave it a lot more depth and created the space.”

Bringing in color is not as tricky as you’d imagine; it is really based on your personal preference for a color.

To inspire creativity, try neutral yellows, oranges, blues and grays. For louder colors that command attention, try bolder yellows and reds, Jayne said. If you want to create a moody atmosphere, try deep muted colors like blues, plums, grays and greens.

To play up the color, add a sheen finish to the paint. To play it down, use a matte finish. If you want to pull electricity and energy into a room, like a kitchen, Milton said, think about using a metallic finish.

Metallic is something Milton uses a lot in her commercial restaurant projects because of its energetic properties, she said. But she also used a metallic neutral tone to accent her own kitchen.

“You want to people to walk into a space where they feel the electricity and the energy in it,” she said. In my kitchen “it made the stainless steel appliances just glow and it was a nice accent against them.”

With color, moderation is key, though, she added.

“Typically you wouldn’t use color throughout the space, you would use them to accent something in a room or a wall with a piece of furniture you want to accent,” she said. “You can take that wall and make it feel like more than just a flat surface with color.”

If you have a wall you pass by all the time, like at the front entry or down a hallway you see all the time, try adding a splash of color and see how it effects your mood, she said.

When Jayne does a consultation for color, she said she also starts with the main living areas to make color statements in like the front entry, the kitchen and the dining room. After creating an even flow of color there, she’ll look for other areas to add unique colors to, like an architecturally unique wall with angles or curves, that can enhance it’s inherent interest to the eye.

Other easy improvements include making over your furniture or scaling it to the size of the room, Milton said.

“You can change the feel of your home with the layout of the furniture or the scale of it,” she said.

If you’re looking for a larger upgrade, you can do it yourself, Milton and Jayne said.

Just plan ahead. Think about what you’ll need, the colors you want and how it will tie into the room ahead of time.

Also, be sure to get a color sheet or a larger swatch on the wall before investing in the color. That way you get an idea of what it will look like, Jayne said.

“If you still can’t see it or have that feeling it needs to be done by someone else, consult a professional,” Milton said. “Otherwise you could turn up with some costly interiors that don’t make sense.

If you do decide to hire a professional, interview him or her to make sure they have a good feel for the space, can keep your vision in mind without making it their own and they should be able to tell you about their plans for the space.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at


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