A recent news headline has us thinking about color: “How the world’s ‘ugliest color’ is saving lives.”

An agency commissioned by the Australian government researched the putrid tone and put it on cigarette packages to see if it would act as a deterrent to smoking. Guess what? It worked. Tobacco sales have fallen ‘down under’ and in the UK, France and Ireland. The brown-green blend was credited with reminding people of death or tar. It’s officially known as ‘opaque couche’ 448C by The Pantone Color Institute — the world’s foremost experts on color. This simply confirms what interior designers have known for a long time: that color can have a profound effect on your disposition, even your energy levels. So how you use color in your home is VERY important.

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Some of our feelings about color may be emotional while others come from conditioning. Take white, for example. White reflects light and is considered a color of summer – when we’re active and enjoying long days. It’s neutral and goes with just about anything. White can also mean innocence or purity because of its association with brides, or bring feelings of sterility or cleanliness –think hospitals. So your feelings about color can be very personal depending on your life story.

“If you’re intimidated about adding or changing colors in your home, it’s a good idea to just take a look at your wardrobe,” says Ennis Fine Furniture interior designer Donna Larson. People tend to wear the colors that make them feel their best so take a cue from your closet.

Starting small is also safe way to jump in the color game. Choose accessories and artwork integrating your favorite color. “If you have a neutral palette, say gray or linen upholstered pieces – then you can bring in a lot of personality by changing your textiles like curtains, throw pillows and area rugs,” adds Larson. The Thomasville dining set below is a great example. The owner chose the soft gray fabric for the chairs which are sitting pretty above a sea-blue area rug. A pop of colorful artwork, a buffet tray and flowers echo the sentiment.

If you go big on color with your walls, accessories and textiles you can balance that with neutral furniture pieces. Conversely: If you go big with richly colored leather or fabric furniture — like the terra cotta covered sofa by Jessica Charles (below) you can use more natural, toned-down surroundings like the wood, metals and white-washed surfaces which are all quite neutral.

Once you feel more confident you can consider painting an accent wall or using a bold, brightly colored wallpaper to make a statement.

ennis-funurniture-blog-post2-1“Even here you can start small by painting the color you want on a sample board.” This allows you to see the paint color(s) at different times of the day with natural and artificial light.

And if you’re really brave, go ahead and get several colors to test side-by-side on the wall. Your wall likely has a bit of texture which can be played-up or minimized based on the finish of the paint (flat, eggshell, satin, etc.) And some colors have nuanced depth to them that is not noticeable until you see them side by side. Think about the many shades of gray which is so popular in homes today. Some grays can have a pink tone, some have a warm tone. Sometimes there’s just no way to tell until you get them on the wall next to each other.

Always remember: a designer from Ennis Fine Furniture can lend expertise for any room you may be changing. If you have an idea, our designers are a great sounding bound. They can channel your vision into reality and prevent you from making costly mistakes. It’s all part of the experience of shopping at Ennis.