I recently had a personal revelation about color palettes…and age…and embracing what makes you happy even if it’s predictable and basic. Sometimes I’m embarrassed at how predictable I am especially because my work and the design of our own homes have been so public – so out there. If you have eyeballs and are reading this right now you likely know my “palette” – Different shades of blues, whites, wood, brass hits of black, gray, and the occasional accent of blush and/or green. But as I looked around on the internet, I realized that I’m not alone, most designers have a go-to palette, at least for our own homes. And maybe most of you do, too.
When I did Secrets from a Stylist, I had to do a different color palette for each episode which was SO FUN (Lavender walls, yellow hand chair, orange! I used orange! With purple! In the same room!). But in our own home, anytime I’ve strayed too far away from that formula I’ve ended up changing it. As I’m designing the farmhouse, I once again am finding myself putting all these blues/whites together on mood boards and even I’m like, “Really? Again? You don’t say” and I’m ashamed I’m not trying something new. But then I realized that those colors not only make me really happy to look at but even more important I feel very comfortable surrounded by them. And these days isn’t that what we need most out of our homes? Comfort?? YES.
Even as the mountain house is more neutral, where I include color, it’s different shades of blue/green and blush. So today I’m owning my color palette and while the shades of blue have and will always change and shift, I’m just really grateful that I have a go-to color palette that does bring me any comfort. So let’s dissect WHY this color palette brings me comfort. Blues and greens are colors found everywhere in nature (green trees, blue sky). They feel calming and grounding and yet happy and youthful. They are cool-toned colors, which is why I’ve always gravitated towards accenting in brass, wood, and leather – to add warmth and balance. And bright whites and blushes add a lightness that keep it feeling airy, soft, and sunny.
So I’m here to tell you that having a go-to color palette in your home is not only OK, but actually GREAT. Listen…while we are at it, I like soup, like far more than is normal. I also like historical romance novels, like the ones with naked embraces on the cover. Oh and coming of age teen movies or series that involve a lot of gentle face touching and almost-kissing. I also like wearing athleisure and uggs and you know what???? I love walking on wall-to-wall carpet. I love Alamos Malbec even though I know that Malbec is a wine full of different grape varietals that wine connoisseurs joke about. I’m 41 and ready to own and really appreciate what makes me happy, and if putting a lot of different shades of blue in my home makes me and my family happy then gosh darn it that’s what I’ll do!!
So to prove that I’m not alone in having a go-to comfort palette we asked a few friends of EHD to weigh in on what their comfort color palette is and why it brings them comfort. Here you go.
“I’ve always been one that has gravitated towards a neutral palette vs anything that is too bold or colorful. Don’t get me wrong I’ve dabbled in a few different colored palettes over the years and if you remember my DIY headboard then you’ll know that I do love a good olive green. But as my style has evolved I’ve leaned more into layered textures in neutral tones than a colorful space. Having a space that feels neutral, bright, layered, and textural will always be something that I’d like to call home.”
“My ideal color combo for the spaces I live in and my wardrobe has been: black, white, beige, olive green, and rust (sometimes a rusty-brown in a form of warm wood). I think it’s a pretty trendy combo right now but it’s actually been my go-to for most of my adult life. In the way that Emily Henderson is into blue, I have always been drawn to greens, and I prefer a beige to a grey. I think it’s the earthy nature of the colors, l feel very grounded in my space which is very important to me. Some people prefer to feel “light and airy” (blues and greys) for example or “bright and happy” (pops of color) or “chill and tranquil” (whites) and I definitely like to feel like my feet are planted firmly in the earth and that always seems to bring me back to some version of that color combo.”
“I think the reason the color palette (pink, ivory, beige, and other light neutrals) keeps coming to me is that it feels simultaneously vibrant and neutral. Pink is an exciting, lively color but it can be light and airy which means you can keep a space bright. And I love what happens tonally when you start mixing different hues of ivory and beige – it’s almost tone on tone but really shows subtle contrast without feeling busy or too graphic.”
“I grew up in the woods in New England so my comfort color palette is a combo of natural wood tones mixed with pops of Americana colors like red, white, blue (and sometimes green). I’m most comfortable wearing jeans and chambray shirts every day so it’s no surprise I use navy and denim-toned fabrics on upholstery and window treatments around my house. I love using red as an accent color either in artwork or textiles like a throw pillow or old quilt- just a hit of red is enough. Red reminds me of old barns and I’m always on the hunt for the perfect red paint color to freshen up a vintage find like a dresser or table. Bringing the outdoors in with the color green is a trick I’ve been doing since I lived in a downtown loft and needed a lil connection to nature.”
“I love color palettes that inspire comfort. I’m a big fan of neutrals and hues, and my go-to’s are brown, tan, taupe, white, black, and gray. Brown, tan, and taupe are grounding neutrals that evoke feelings of warmth. Black makes spaces feel more intimate. White is simple and calming, and grey is tranquil. The perfect color combo for relaxation if you ask me. Because I work in an industry where I’m always having to enter other people’s world and home, it can feel a bit complex at times. So I like to come home to a color palette that inspires warmth, relaxation, and simplicity – this palette does just that for me.”
“I am someone who is comforted by warm tones. Being surrounded by them feels like the daily hug I need. Growing up, my home was filled with browns, rusts, reds, terra cottas, tans, you get it. It doesn’t require a therapist to draw the very obvious conclusion here. But like any “rebellious young adult,” claiming their individuality, I filled my first couple of apartments with cool tones because I wanted to be my own person dammit. HA. Well, while I of course love a heavy blue color palette, when I was designing my first MOTO and really imagined how I wanted it to feel in my home, I knew I needed a good dose of warm colors…and just a dash of blue. Again, there’s just a sense of coziness and calm and “at-homeness” I feel when in the presence of them. Now, I know my last MOTO wasn’t the poster child for a “warm-toned” color palette. That’s because, despite my childhood color pallete leanings, I have taken a quieter approach. See! I am kinda my own person. I love a more soft, neutral space and then I like to add those pops of glorious sunshine colors. I really don’t think that will ever change. Rust = Refuge… to me at least:)”
Ok, I’m back. See?! Having a color palette that can nearly guarantee a sense of comfort, safety and connection is pretty awesome. I think it’s important to check in with ourselves to see if how we are designing (or living for that matter) is truly in line with what we want and not a fear of being deemed “not bold enough” or “creative enough” or “cool enough”. So let’s hear it. What is your comfort color palette? And why do you think that is?? xx