Bethesda interior designer Kelley Proxmire likes to intensify the effect of a color by making rooms monochromatic, which can be soothing to the eye. “I like to use one color with white so that the color pops but isn’t jarring,” she says.
She paired a rich, chocolate brown with white for a “his-and-hers sitting room” in a Chevy Chase home that was selected as the 2010 D.C. Design House, a leading fundraising event for the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., that’s open to local designers.
“Brown has a sophisticated feel, but is also welcoming and practical,” Proxmire says. “For this room, I wanted to use a color that wasn’t too feminine or too masculine. I wanted to create a calm, cohesive space that both a husband and wife could use.”
Seeing such a strong color can be a bit shocking at first. “Often clients feel panicked once they see a new color on the walls, especially if they’d been living in a neutral environment,” Madyson says.
Her advice: Live with it for a week before making a decision. Once the furniture and accessories have been arranged, she says, homeowners usually are happy with the color choice. “Many say, ‘That’s just the change I needed,’ ” she says.
And for those who don’t warm up to their new colors, the fix is simple: Repaint.
Many of us have bought a gallon (or two) of paint only to find that the robin’s egg blue we thought we’d selected was really aqua once it was on the wall. To avoid that:
Gabriele McCormick is a frequent contributor to Bethesda Magazine. To comment on this story, email email@example.com.