“Express yourself in all the colors of your imagination!” shouts an illustration by artist Tim Coffey.
Ten years ago when I was considering paint colors for our home’s interior, I was stuck on what I wanted for the kitchen until I remembered how inspired I had been by interior designer/author Alexandria Stoddard. Her 1989 “Book of Color–Discovering the Joy of Color in Your Everyday Life” is a timeless reference and beautifully illustrated book. Really, it’s calming just to look at the full page photos of flowers, fabrics, nature, fruits and vegetables, ribbons, quilts, and other everyday items. Sometimes we get so busy we forget how lovely ordinary things are.
Ms. Stoddard suggests creating your own color palette box. There are amazing boxes at craft stores or you can create your own. Then as you come across items in colors that speak to your heart, add them to your box. These can be anything. For instance, in my box some of the items I’ve collected over the years are: paint chip samples, a note card, magazine pages, a piece of wrapping paper, a fall photograph of myself at the age of 19, some seashells, and several calendar pages.
We’re told not to imagine how or where we’ll eventually use our colors—that defeats the purpose. All we’re doing initially is collecting representations of colors that bring us joy.
These should be your personal selections. Don’t ask a friend for advice. (“Do YOU like this shade of blue?”) Don’t consider what’s popular or trending now. (“Orange is the new black.”) Just as a child may keep a box of special treasures that have no meaning to anyone else, this color palette box belongs just to you. The items may be ones that carry special memories for you. Eventually, when it’s time to make some purchase or decision that involves color, you’ll purposefully have specific colors in mind.
So which of my color box items influenced my ten-years-ago choice for my home’s kitchen? As it turns out, it was one item that was impractical to actually place in the box. When my mother Bertie died in 1996, I ended up with an old bowl that she used primarily with a hand mixer to make the batter for her homemade chocolate chip cookies. The bowl is buttercream yellow with accents of deep red and forest green. So my walls are painted in “Merlot” and that dark color is offset with cabinets in buttercream yellow. The kitchen border has forest green leaves.
And the bowl itself? Why, it sits atop a buttercream cabinet over the sink. So the colors of my kitchen are centered around the memory of my mom baking chocolate chip cookies. How’s that for a personal color choice?!
To my readers – Please share with us something you’re going to add to your color palette box and tell us why you chose it. Thanks!