New Year, New Color Story in Better Homes and Gardens

Ok, so this may be old news to those of you on facebook, but...

I'm featured in my third color story in the January 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens! I started working with BHG last summer on the concept of red-violets and it's finally here. I just adore these hues. 

BHG included a lot of great info from our interviews in the print edition, but if you want more be sure to check out the digital edition on your iPad. (Print subscribers now have free access.) There's a bathroom inspiration board I designed, as well as an audio clip and additional color tips. 

And in case that's not enough, here's a little more violet insight from the interview just for my blog readers. 

BHG} How can you make lilacs look less girly?

KB} We all have very complex psychological associations with colors -not just violets - that are based on our cultural upbringings, amongst other things. Although there is an inherent sweet and floral association with many of these red-violet hues simply because they are the color of familiar flowers, much of our perception of red-violets is taken from what we’ve learned over time. Violets weren’t always associated with girly-ness. Purple was, and still is, a color of royalty. Red-violets can be very powerful and just depends on the exact hue we are referring to. 

"Red-violets aren’t just for girls. The deepest of these hues can be mysterious and powerful."

With that said, color is never viewed in a vacuum. That means that we experience a color with everything else that surrounds it. When we use a paint color on the walls of a room there are always other design elements that come into play and affect how we perceive that hue. To keep a red-violet room from becoming “too girly” it’s important to consider the other colors and textures in the space. Adding lace, dolls, floral fabrics and more red-violets to an already “lilac” room is only going to emphasize the girliness. 

To create a less girly space, it’s important to bring in elements that are inherently less girly. Black and white photography, industrial inspired decor, streamlined furniture designs are just a few ideas on how to tame the romantic quality of red-violets. Also, pairing red-violets with colors that are not perceived as feminine, such as greys, blacks, browns, deep blues, etc, can help combat that girly feel.

BHG} What tricks are there for using lilacs/violets/purples? Does a little go a long way with the richer shades?

KB} The deeper shades of red-violet are actually less feminine and, in my opinion, easier to decorate with. The deeper the hue, the less sweet and romantic they are. The lightest tints of red-violets read as the most delicate and feminine, whereas the deepest shades read as more powerful and masculine. They also read more passionate. I would suggest to anyone painting their walls in these hues who is trying to steer clear of a romantic effect to go deeper in value. 

BHG} How can you make lilacs/violets/purples be more livable?

KB} I think the first thing to do is to eliminate that assumption that they aren’t livable. And the idea that violet/lilac/purple is one hue. There is a huge range of violets, and, like any other hue, different variations create entirely different moods and effects. Next thing, remember that colors do not live in a vacuum. These red-violets can look very different depending upon what colors and textures they are paired with. Think about the overall mood you are going for in a space and then select a violet that supports that mood. Sophisticated and mysterious can be achieved using red-violet just as well as sweet and romantic can. 

"The palest red-violets are like a sweet, fragrant whisper, while the deepest shades are a symphony for the senses."

BHG} What rooms are they best used for?

KB} They can be used in any room. Depends on what mood you are trying to create and what specific red-violet is being used. Also depends on your personal preference, color tolerances and psychological associations. I wouldn’t ban or promote violet for any particular space.

BHG} Is it a trendy color? Classic? Timeless? What tricks are there to giving it longevity?

KB} Any color can have longevity as long as it speaks to you. If you love violet, use it. If you don’t love it and you are using it simple because it’s trendy, it won’t have any longevity.