Colors

Add Some Color to your Interior for Spring: Pink!

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Let me get started on this post with a personal anecdote: the first apartment where I lived on my own was in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and was a railroad apartment covering an entire floor. I had defined color palettes for each room based on how I was using it: the kitchen/dining room was green and pink to gently wake me up in the morning, the living room was grey and green as a soothing, relaxing place and my bedroom was grey and dark blue to help me sleep.

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When I was hosting parties at home, I was somewhat always setting up the living room as the main reception area as it was the largest room - until I realized... Everyone was hanging out in the dining room. Not that the furniture layout was more convenient or the lighting better than in the living space - people were simply drawn to that area. I thought about it a lot and looked around whether at home or at other people's place and came to the conclusion that colors were the answer - and in this particular case, the color pink was key. 

In Feng Shui, colors have a very specific role based on the area of the space they are being used and how they reinforce a certain element. Pink is the color of the relationship area - that includes marriage, friendships, partnerships etc. It is also related to the fire element that plays a role in fame, reputation and recognition. In other words, pink is a powerful color that encourages social interactions in all shapes and forms. So no wonder why people were gravitating towards the dining area of my apartment!

Now in our culture, pink also has strong connotations: it is perceived as a feminine or childish color and we cannot help but think about bubble gum and popsicles when being told the word PINK

So how can you insert pink in your interior without transforming it into a candy store or the home of Barbara Cartland? Well, this is rather simple and here are a few tips: 

  • There are MANY shades of pinks you can choose from: the basic idea to get to pink is associating a vibrant hue of red with a hint of white. But then, it also includes most of the orange and purple variations - as long as they have a strong red component and some white. In other words, there are as many shades of pinks as shades of greys - below are just a few variations as an example.
MaisonKoduZen-shades-of-pink
  • You do not need to paint your entire room in pink to get its warm feel: a few accessories here and there, with the right hue (see comment above) can do the trick rather easily: accent pillows, a touch of pink in an artwork, your tea towels in the kitchen, a nice coffee table book cover... Possibilities are endless. The ombre trend going on right now also offers you interesting options to add pink in your interior. 
  • Pink works with most colors and while associated with yellow, you would definitely get a rather juvenile feel, it can also add sophistication if combined to a warm grey, a lilac shade or a deep brown.
  • If you are unsure about going pink, test it out with flowers! As Spring is upon us and flowers are starting to bloom, bring some nice cherry blossoms, pretty tulips or roses to your interior. Flowers come in many shades of pinks as well so try out different ones and see how it feels. 

In conclusion, pink is a great color to play with, it will make people feel at ease and willing to socialize so give it a try, be... playful and enjoy Spring!

For more ideas on pink, go to our Pink board on Pinterest!

2017 Color(s) of the Year

Color of the year 2017

At the end of each year, a few firms, specialized in the color business reveal what will be the 'Color of the year' for the year ahead. Most of those big reveals took place in the last few weeks and I wanted to give you a quick recap of what came out and what to expect in 2017.

But first, a little recap over the process: the general procedure is gathering a team of color experts to look into the colors trends of the year coming to a close, assess the colors that appear repetitively alongside the current trendy one and predict which will be hot next. So the result is more of a continuity than a ground-breaking new color reveal. Each firm comes up with a different color than its competitors as observation is not an exact science and each team is very different from place to place.

Then the impact: we carefully follow each year the grand reveal and let's be honest, the impact is not that significant, for two main reasons:

  • Each artistic or design discipline that could potentially make use of the color of the year has its own life cycle, rhythm and little world it evolves in: painting, photography, fashion, web design, interior design, industrial design and so on. Besides, while some colors such as bright pink can easily make it to a fashion show, it is more difficult to let it in an interior (or not).
  • By December, large brands have already locked their campaigns and design strategies for the New Year and might not change it all just because Pantone decided green was the new hot color.
Colors of the year 2017

Speaking of Pantone, their grand reveal remains, from what I have observed along the years, THE big event in term of color of the year, and probably the most commented on. Interestingly enough, looking into their previous colors of the year, none of those colors really tinted the actual 365 days it was supposed to. That is perhaps why this year, Pantone's team's choice seems to be more of a political coup than an actual trend observed in 2016 with Greenery. This color is supposed to help us to take a 'take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate', according to the brand's website. While those healthy values seems to be catching the health trend a little late, I think we can all appreciate the freshness of the message after a rather rocky 2016. On a very personal note, green remains my favorite color of all times and its versatility is proven every day, in every interior: we all have plants at home, most of them green and it always plays nicely with all color schemes. 

A little note on the other colors suggested for 2017 - although less commented on: Benjamin Moore's bold and rich Shadow sparks our interest again after last year's disappointing choice of Simple White. As an accent wall or in accessories, we can clearly see Shadow find its place at home. Sherwin Williams remains in the neutral tones with Poised Taupe (last year was Alabaster so nothing too funky again) - and AkzoNobel in Europe bets on Denim Drift and its blue variations, a rather interesting pick after last year's gold tones that we can all appreciate for its versatile nature.

In conclusion: like any other trends' announcement, following the Color of the Year's reveal is an interesting adventure in between holiday parties. Even if it may not transform the design world for the upcoming year, it surely is an inspiration for us all and puts on our radar, colors we may have forgotten about. It also reminds us of the power of colors and the role they play in our lives. After a few years during which the 'all white' concept was trendy, we are very happy at Maison KoduZen to see that colors are getting again the attention they deserve. Beyond trends, color schemes should reflect your tastes, your identity and they can help you, room by room, to create a unique atmosphere. 

If you want some help with a color scheme and define your own color of the year for 2017, get in touch

Color of the Month: Yellow

yellow-roses

During the fall season, the obvious colors that come to mind are the reds, oranges and gold tones you can observe in nature. Orange obviously gets a lot of credit as it is one of the colors of Halloween and of the many pumpkins, squashes and alike that will invade our plates for Thanksgiving.

But how about a change and go with yellow for once? How about brightening up your interior for Thanksgiving festivities as we are heading towards the shortest days of the year? Especially as with yellow, you can set the tone for the gold and glitters that December will bring along. Yellow is also a very earthy color that tends to make people smile so whether you spend Thanksgiving with your family or with friends, this cannot do any harm! 

As per orange, yellow has MANY variations - and given it is one of the most versatile colors of all (add a little bit of ANY other color and you will compromise its tint, shade or tone), possibilities are endless. If your interior is mostly black and white, you can easily go for a neutral/buttery shade, if you have a cool palette, go for a lemony yellow, or if you like warm colors in general, go for the dandelion, butterscotch options so it blends well with your interior. 

yellow variations

For those avert to big changes or not big yellow lovers, you can also think of something small, or not too permanent - which is the great thing about decorating for festivities!

Flowers, napkins, vases, candles, bowls filled with lemons (more on making centerpieces with fruits coming soon), or cute little bowls for nibbles: below is a selection of our favorites for the upcoming festivities as well as their vendors.

Have fun! 

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Vendors' list:

Napkins by Birthday Direct: great choice of stripes of all shapes and forms.

Bowls by Vintage American Pottery

Flowers by Rosehip in Brooklyn, NY

Hyde Pierced Vase by Donny Osmond for All Modern

Candles by Wasila (currently out of stock), otherwise, a good option for simple candles: Flying Tiger.

For more ideas, you can also check out our Pinterest board on Yellow here!

One small note: from a Feng Shui prospective, dried or fake flowers are stagnant energy so better opt for fresh, real flowers. More tips on Feng shui coming soon!

Colors of the Month: Orange and Black

As promised in our last newsletter: a new post about colors! How to assemble orange and black for a year-long style that does not look too much like it is Halloween every day. 

First of all, orange has an incredible amount of variations: depending on the amount of yellow or red utilized to create it - but also whether some grey, white or black is used to alter the tint, shade or tone (see this post on the subject): the possibilities are endless if you want to add this poppy color to your interior!

By the same token, if you want to pair it up with black, you can also use a subtle nuance in your shade of black for a stylish effect: blue being orange's complimentary color, we recommend going with a slightly blue undertone to deepen the orange nuance you will pick and you can never go wrong!

If you are unsure of what nuances you should to go for, think of the natural places or time when both colors are associated: a beautiful sunset, the Grand Canyon colors (or Bryce Canyon as per the picture above), the fall season, or some flowers! Nature is a very reliable source of inspiration when it comes to color association.

orange-inspiration

Lastly, when associating pieces with those two colors, also think about textures or mat vs. brilliant to give some oomph to your design (and keep the Halloween feeling at bay!). 

For more on orange, please take a look at our Pinterest Orange board, and do follow us to get more ideas (for now boards are organized by style and color - we should have it by room very soon). 

Have fun with orange and Happy Halloween!

About Colors

color-wheel

Much has been said about colors for interior design, web design and such so we will not give you another lecture on how colors work together (we think the color wheel speak for itself actually). 

But, we thought we would give you some ideas and techniques to insert colors in your space with confidence. 

Regardless of what you are picking colors for (your website, your interior, your outfit), you have to consider first how busy with colors your design will naturally become, before you even touch it. If you have (like us!) a website full of pictures, or an interior with a lot of family pictures, a colorful art piece, a statement wall or a flashy handbag you need to take that day. Based on those 'natural' colors, you can define how many colors you need in your color scheme. If you do not have any colorful element already, you can go for four colors without taking too much risks. If you already have a few, then stick to three or two, to support the colors already present. It may sound restrictive but remember: we are talking about main colors here and you do not have to stick to those at all costs. For instance, one of your main colors might be yellow and you have used it here and there but nothing prevents you from having a green cushion if you like it! As everything in interior design, what matters if the balance so feel free to play with it. 

When asking Aurélie Desmas, Maison KoduZen's lead designer, she told us her personal trick for establishing good color scheme: one dark (a brown, dark grey or black), one light (variation of white or light grey), one or two 'pop' colors. She often picks her clients' favorite color (often a 'pop' color) as a starting point then defines the rest of the color scheme, ensuring to balance warm and cold colors, mainly by using undertones in the dark and light shades.  

Have fun with colors and let us know your personal tricks!