Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Daring to Dine with Color

I am the type of person that doesn’t need to be talked into color. I need to be talked out of it. If I had my way, it would look like Rainbow Brite painted my house.
In our last home, I experimented with color (to the chagrin of Secret Agent Man) a lot. I had a “Vigorous Violet” master bathroom and a “Chinese Red” wall in the kitchen, and a “Victorian Rose” front door.
Currently at the House of Payne, I’ve dialed back the experimentation quite a bit. “Accessible Beige” has dominated nearly every square inch for six years. It’s a great neutral color, but I decided it’s time to spice things up in my dining room.
This time I enlisted the help of recent Interior Design graduate, Erica Burgon. I needed someone with an education in color theory and good taste to bounce my ideas off.

I appreciate her design philosophy that “if you love it, it works!”
One thing she noticed right off the bat was that the off-white walls of our dining room didn’t lend anything to the feel or look of the room.

Burgon said, "Design should reflect who you are.”

She noted we are a fun family with a busy life, who enjoy being together. She also knew of my desire to give the Payne’s a beautiful and formal place to congregate, in a house that is usually littered with jackets, shoes, backpacks, and more soda cans than this columnist would like to admit.

“I want to help you discover your flair for design,” she said. And with that she pulled out her color sample fan deck and we set to the task of choosing a wall color that would set a mood and make a statement that would enhance the room and not be a distraction.

She first introduced me to some recent color trends:
· Bold brights that make a traditional home and pieces look more unique and add an eclectic element, like: tomato red, berry magenta, deep apricot, exotic coral and peacock blue.
· Complex neutrals that you can’t pin down with a single word, like: bluish, greenish, or pinkish beige. These colors are inspired by natural woods and hand-dye fabric. The new neutrals tend to be more refined than raw.
· Turquoise and clear, light blue continue to be popular colors in home design. Paired with white for a clean combination or set off with red for contrast, the blue family won’t be going anywhere soon.

I considered all the color trends Burgon presented when picking a paint color. I even took into consideration that my feng shui practitioner told me that my dining room was located in the wealth quadrant of my home and according to Asian tradition, purple was the color of wealth.

Erika steered me away from using purple on the walls, but knowing my need for “good chi,” she promised to bring in the purple through a floral arrangement for the table.

We finally decided to use one of the “complex neutrals.” We chose a color in the same family as “Accessible Beige,” just a few shades darker, a greenish taupe called “Virtually Taupe,” from Sherwin Williams.

After a cumulative eight hours of labor, including shopping for paint and accessories and an overall cost of $150, I am in love with my spicier, more sophisticated, formal dining room.
With Erica Burgon’s help, I took my dining room from drab to fab. Now, if Rainbow Brite shows up for dinner, she’s going to have to ditch the multi-colored leg warmers for something a little more formal.

To find out more about Eric Burgon’s designs, visit her website at EricaBurgonDesign.com.


  1. So apparently, my house clearly does NOT reflect who I am, but does reflect Splenda Daddy.

    I want ONE red wall. Just one. My Yankee room was enough for him. I guess I will just have to be satisfied......

  2. It looks warm, inviting and very beautiful. It is amazing what some paint and a few well arranged items will do for a room.

  3. We have been waiting on me to paint for months. I just cannot committ on a color. There are too many to choose from! I really need help!


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