One of the best things about this time of year is all the spring catalogs that start to arrive in the mailbox, and inevitably the doses of color being featured inside the pages include something in the alluring shade of aqua blue. Color trends come and go but one hue that continues to be popular year after year is aquamarine or “aqua” as we’ve shortened it to over the years.
Aqua is a watery shade of blue, not as vivid as it’s popular sister turquoise – and perhaps a bit more calming and refreshing. It’s guaranteed to bring cheerful color to any space and a perfect color choice for bathrooms, bedrooms, offices and kitchens.
As an accent, aqua pairs perfectly with so many bright colors, yellow, bright pink, lime green are all easy partners.
With its cool tones, decorating with aqua blue also brings a welcome contrast to spaces filled with warmer colors and wood trim or accents.
A shapely piece of aqua pottery is a perfect vessel for brightening any tabletop with seasonal fresh flowers.
Here’s a roundup of a few of my favorite decorative accents in this alluring shade:
Thibaut Marathon Wallpaper, available through dealers; Jamaican Aqua paint, Benjamin Moore; Aqua Glass Pendant, Shades of Light, $159; Rest Giclee, Ballard Designs, $179; Sunburst Clock, Target, $30; Kitchen Aid Mixer in Aqua Sky, Chef’s Catalog, $349; Stripe fabric, Spoonflower, $18/yard; Trina Turk Sunburst Pillow, Amazon, $102; Aqua Leaves Pillow, Overstock, $75; Feather Dinnerware, Macys, $40; Cambria Platter, Pottery Barn, $32; Balloon Jug, Viva Terra, $79; Geo Blanket, Zinc Door, $150; Aqua End Chair, Wisteria, $389; Stray Dog Accent Stool, Belle & June, $425; Table Lamp, Lamps Plus, $253; Jaspar Rug, Crate + Barrel, price varies.
Don’t forget to check out BH&G Shop for even more aqua accents for the home!
I know a lot of readers are color shy and tend to gravitate towards neutrals when decorating their homes. I’m guilty of it too, often falling back on a sophisticated gray or a clean white as a soothing backdrop, but next year I’m challenging myself to bring a lot more color into my home.
In search of inspiration, I rounded up some great examples of ways bring bolder and brighter color into your spaces in low doses and without a huge commitment.
Painted Furniture Accents. I painted a small chest peacock blue similar to this end table and coffee table last year and I’ve loved it ever since. If you tell yourself “I can always paint it another color later” then it’s easier to commit to bolder color the first time around, but chances are you’ll love it so much that day will never come!
Colorful Accessories. With a neutral backdrop, you’re free to get creative with color and in fresh medleys like this aqua and deep pink combination. Take your cue from a fun fabric, then work within that palette, layering accessories in those same hues.
On the Wall. A colorful work of art is another way to inject a dose of color into your home and when placed in the spotlight in a main space, it will be enjoyed more often.
Fabulous Fabrics. Textiles are an interior designers go to source when client’s request more color, so follow their lead and choose a fabric in pattern and palette you love. To get started, here is an article that shares 40 online sources for fabric.
Smaller Space Painted Walls. Paint is the easiest and most affordable way to bring color to your home. If you are hesitant to commit to bold color on the walls in your larger community or common spaces, try it out in a smaller room like a bathroom, laundry room, or even a guest bedroom.
A Little Trim. Introduce just a dose of color with trim like this yellow detail on a neutral chair. Hunt for colorful trim at a local fabric store or online and use it to embellish furniture, lampshades, or your window panels.
Upgrade Your Bedding. Keep the basic linens a crisp white, pale gray, or soft cream, then refresh the look by purchasing a duvet and shams for a color splash in the bedroom.
Area Rugs. Color in area rugs is more subtle because it’s layered underfoot, so it’s a great place to start bringing color in your space, plus a rug gives you a jumping off point for colorful accessories in the future.
Fresh Flowers. The latest seasonal blooms purchased at your local grocery store or florist are an instant way to brighten your home – add another layer of cheerful color by displaying them in a vessel in a favorite hue.
As you look around your home and contemplate ways to start the new year by freshening your spaces, consider these ideas for starting the process by introducing color in low doses.
I’ve been an avid user of spray paint for many years, and consider it a quick fix in a can. Spray paint has the power to change the color of so many decorative objects or small pieces of furniture to suit your style or inject your home with a fresh dose of fun color.
For those new to spray painting I recommend you start with a small project first. Turn an inexpensive yet ordinary metal lantern into a stylish accent with a few coats of aqua blue spray paint for a colorful addition to your rear yard or alfresco table setting.
Follow these basic tips whenever you use spray paint:
1) Always spray paint in a well ventilated area. Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions which include making sure your piece is free of debris and painting at ideal temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees.
2) Use a drop cloth and a respirator to protect yourself from inhaling any chemicals from overspray or airborne particles that occur when spray painting. Tape off any parts you don’t want covered with paint with painter’s tape and plastic wrap or newspaper.
3) Prime your surface if necessary. Metals often don’t require priming but with wood or laminate, it’s a must. Look for a good adhesion or bonding primer that sticks to all surfaces (I prefer Zinsser’s ‘Cover Stain’ in the brown and white can and use it for everything from glass to metal to wood).
4) Invest a few extra dollars in a handy spray paint nozzle (seen here) often referred to as a “spray paint gun”. It’s a little plastic tool found in the spray paint department designed to help you spray paint with greater accuracy, it helps avoid finger cramping, and assists in universal coverage.
5) Always spray very light coats to avoid unwanted drips. Keep your spray can moving back and forth about 8” to 10” away from your subject. Don’t expect full coverage in one coat. It’s better to have two to three light coats than to risk drips from overspray on your first coat of spray paint.
6) Helpful trick! If spray painting small pieces of furniture, turn them upside down and do the underside first. After it’s dry you can spend more time concentrating on even application on the visible areas on the piece of furniture.
7) Second helpful trick! For hard to reach places, spray a small amount of paint in liquid form into the plastic cap and use a disposable small artist’s brush to dip it into the paint and then fill in those tricky spots.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, move on to larger pieces or even furniture:
Bring feisty red into your home by spray painting a Chippendale style chair with a glossy red paint for a dash of panache in your dining room.
It’s easy to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary with a little know how and a colorful can of spray paint!
More helpful articles:
I remember asking my little boy (who was five at the time) what colors he wanted for his big boy room and wasn’t surprised when he said “blue and green”. Boys are often drawn to greens and blues, oranges and reds, for their bedroom spaces, and gray or black as they get older.
Boy’s rooms should be spaces that encourage a child’s imagination and transition over time as boys grow from adolescents to teenagers. Here are a few fun color palettes to inspire your boy’s room design.
Wood + Blue. Blue is a popular choice among the lads and thankfully so much kid decor comes in shades of navy or mid tone blue. Mix these shades with honey wood for a classic boy’s room combination you’ll both be fond of year after year.
Red + Blue. This palette is a great one for boys since its reminiscent of superheroes and also a classic combination inspired by the American flag. Mix linens in stripes and plaids and add furniture painted in either a bold shade of red or blue.
Orange + Green. Against a pale blue backdrop, orange furnishings and green accents come together in a playful combination for a growing imaginative boy.
Green + Blue. The cooler tones of green and blue are a no fail combination when decorating a boy’s space. Pull in masculine accents in shades of black or gray for contrast.
Blue + Orange. Blue and orange are complements on the color wheel and a favorite among boys. How about a bright orange accent wall with navy blue furniture or bold blue stripes on the wall with an orange headboard or bedding?
A touch of brown is a third color to consider when combining blue and orange – the striped duvet covers establish the tiered palette in this shared boy’s bedroom space.
Blue + White. Stripes are a favorite in both kid and grown up spaces. For a ‘collected over time’ look, mix several patterns in a combination of blue and white for timeless appeal.
Gray + Red. Gray continues to be a popular neutral and works for both younger boys and teenagers. Add pops of red in the form of toys, colorful bins, or sports themed bedding for a fresh dose of color.
Blue + Black. Adding a chalkboard wall is a clever way to encourage creativity in a boy’s room. Avoid the dark overload of a four black walls by establishing a two tone paint combination with contrasting shades of blue or gray above and below.
Muted + Multicolored. Kid spaces are a great opportunity to add multiple layers of color to a room, but resist the urge to go overboard with too many saturated tones. Take color cues from a quilt or cheerful striped rug which layer several muted shades together but do not overwhelm with too many competing colors of the rainbow.
So many of these color combinations work well for girl’s rooms or shared rooms as well, and next week so we’ll take a peek at other color palettes for girl’s rooms and playrooms.
What color palettes have you used to decorate boy’s spaces in your home?
As much as I love light and bright spaces, I’m always drawn to intensely deep hues on walls. When balanced with plenty of white, dark walls add sophistication and elegance. Here are five favorite shades to inspire you if you’re feeling the need for drama to your home by darkening the walls of any of your spaces.
Mocha. Chocolate brown is warm and enveloping in bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, or offices. It can lean masculine when mixed with dark wood, but is also kept contemporary when balanced with plenty of white or paired with pops of citrus like lime green and lemon zest.
Slate. Mid tone gray is chic choice for bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms too. Mix in muted or shiny metallics, mirrored finishes, or glamorous accents to heighten the sophistication.
With all the leaves beginning to turn on the trees and the pumpkins popping up around town, the color orange is very much in the spotlight right now. Orange is a vibrant and happy color that can be used in large doses, or in smaller ways as an accent or accessory. Orange is one hue that will always bring warmth and vitality into your home. Here are a variety of ways to decorate with this fun color!
Paint with Orange. Orange is guaranteed to brings a punch of color to any dining, living, or bedroom space, and is especially fun when used as an accent wall.
Upholster With Orange. An sofa will take the spotlight when it is upholstered in this vivid hue. Toned down shades of burnt orange complement earth toned walls, furnishings, and warm gold finishes, or pair it with its neighbor yellow for big impact.