At the start of 2014, more Eastern Iowa homeowners are conquering their fear of paint colors and are painting their home’s interior walls to better reflect their personalities.
Julie Stumo, a decorative products specialist at Sherwin-Williams in northeast Cedar Rapids, recently worked with homeowners who selected 14 different paint colors to use throughout their home. “And they were not neutrals,” she says. “Right now, color is big, all kinds of colors.”
Each year, Sherwin-Williams picks a “color of the year.” For 2014, the honor goes to Exclusive Plum. “It’s a really gorgeous purple,” Stumo says. “It almost has a taupe in it.” She jokes that some homeowners can’t fathom the idea of using a purple paint, but it’s a very subdued, sophisticated color, nowhere near the Minnesota Vikings purple that might first come to mind.
CAN GRAY BE A WARM NEUTRAL?
Check out a home design magazine or website and you’ll see lots of buzz around gray being the new go-to neutral, pushing tan off its longtime throne. But gray can be a hard color to warm up to.
“A lot of people come in and say, ‘I want gray, but I want a warm gray,’” Stumo says. “Well, technically grays aren’t warm.”
To meet demand, Sherwin-Williams has developed a line of paint colors that blend the best of gray and tan. “If you compare them to what you would consider a regular tan, you can see the gray in them,” Stumo says. “They do have a warmer feel. It’s the best of both worlds, with a sophisticated, warmer tone.” She mentions one color in particular. “It’s called SeaSalt. It’s a really mild, spa-feeling gray that a lot of people are using.”
DO CABINET COLORS LIMIT YOUR PAINT CHOICES?
With the popularity of dark espresso cabinets, are there certain paint colors that you should move toward or avoid? Not necessarily. “The nice thing about those is pretty much everything goes,” Stumo says. People assume they can’t use a dark paint color if they have dark cabinets, but Stumo says homeowners shouldn’t limit themselves, “even in small rooms.” In particular, a room with dark cabinets but white woodwork can accommodate a full range of colors.
What if you have more traditional oak cabinets? “Oak is a funny wood,” Stumo says. “It’s been used forever, but it can go reddish or more orange or golden. People assume that tan goes with everything, but some of the tans just won’t. Some of the tans that have a red, orange or yellow cast can be hard to put with oak.” Her advice? Bring sample quarts home before committing to a specific color.
This article originally appeared in The Gazette’s Cedar Rapids Home Show special section on Feb. 16, 2014.