Archive for May, 2010

Decorating with Brown

Brown covers the entire spectrum of the rainbow. Add in tints and shades and you get hundreds of browns to choose from.  So how do you know which one will work in your space?  The same colour principles apply to the brown colour wheel as do to the primary colour wheel.  

The Brown Colour Spectrum. Red, orange, yellow, green, black and purple undertones.

The Brown Colour Spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, black and purple undertones.

 Selecting a brown starts with deciding what undertone would work best for your space. If there is an undesirable colour element in the space, using a brown with the same undertones as the undesired colour will create a neutralizing effect on the unfavourable element.  For example if there is honey oak in your home, a brown with yellow or orange undertones will harmonize with the oak and make it less noticeable in the space.

 If your decor (i.e. furnishings, paintings and accessories) is mostly green it would be best to avoid a brown with red undertones since these brown will create an unpleasing amount of contrast because red and green are complimentary colours.  This is especially true for lighter tints, as the green decor would make a red-based beige look pink.

 Brown is a versatile colour to decorate with because it comes in so many different tones. One popular combination is using a grey blue with black-based browns; for example Mount Saint Anne CC-710 with Bittersweet Chocolate 2114-10.

 Earthy greens are easily paired with brown (inspired by the natural colour pallet of a trees leafs with the bark).  Try Herbes De Provence CC-634 with yellow browns like Norwester Tan CC-332 or green browns like Otter Brown 2137-10.

 For a trendy look pair lavender with a purple-based brown; for example African Violet 2116-50 with Mississippi Mud 2114-20.

Brown can also be effectively used for a monochromatic pallet, just choose different tints with the same undertones; for example use Sandy Brown CC-150 together with Norwester Tan CC-332 or Bluffs CC-338 with Maryville Brown HC-175.

Colour Pulse 2011

Every spring Benjamin Moore forecasts the colour trends we’ll see in the coming year and the report for 2011 is in! Benjamin Moore’s design team travels the world to see how colour is being used in everything from fashion to home accessories. They also look for texture, materials, fabrics, shapes and manufacturing methods.  All theses influences give rise to their predictions for colour directions.

colour blocked dining room

Create a statement in the dining room with a back to basics colour blocking design using Neon Red 2087-10, Sunburst Yellow 2023-40 and Twilight Blue 2067-30 with Black Tar 2126-10 trim.


When it comes to the primary colours, think back to basics. A re-emergence of clean bright hues is happening to red, blue and yellow!  Colours like Neon Red 2087-10, Sunburst Yellow 2023-40 and Twilight Blue 2067-30 bring life to black, white and grey pallets.  These colours are best used for colour blocking such as in cubic, circular and geometric patterns.

yellow-orange living room

Create a warm living room with warm food inspired colours; Sunvalley 350 walls with Butterscotch 2157-30 accents.


Colour is also being inspired by produce and food. The entire rainbow can be found in your grocery aisle, everything from fresh greens like Grassy Fields 2034-30 to purples like Dark Burgundy 2075-10. Warm colours like Butterscotch 2157-30 and Sunvalley 350 can be found inside of spice jars. These colours are enriched with red reflecting earthy tones and are paired with this season’s cornerstone metal: Bronze.

layered brown bedroom

Layer neutrals to create a calm earthy atmosphere in the bedroom. Pensive Bedding AF-140 is layered over dark furniture (Sierra Spruce 2108-20) and paired with Hush AF-90 walls.

 Neutrals are also earthy and grounded inspired by the earth’s strata.  Monochromatic pallets are created by layering browns like Paper Mache AF-25, Hush AF-95, Pensive AF-140, and Sierra Spruce 2108-20. Neutral is moving from khaki to camel (i.e. less green and more red).

makeup pallet living room

This airy living room uses makeup inspired hues to create a welcoming feeling. The Batik AF-610 walls are grounded by the fireplace (Galaxy 2117-20).

Makeup inspired colours like blued pinks and flesh tones are also being used to create airy monochromatic pallets. Colours such as Chameuse AF-265, and Batik AF-610 can be used like neutrals, while Bunny Nose Pink 2074-60, Spring Violet 2117-50 and Galaxy 2117-20 can be used to accent and ground the palette.

-by Stacey Severs

Trendy Grey Kitchens

Ashley Grey used on Kitchen Cabinets

Ashley Grey used on Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re looking for cabinet options for your kitchen there’s more out there than wood and white!  The hottest trend for cabinets is grey. Homeowners are choosing stainless steel appliances more often, and it follows that grey cabinets are used to harmonize with the stainless steel creating a unified look in the kitchen. Try a deep grey like Ashley Grey HC-87, this colour has warm undertones that will add a welcoming layer to your space. A medium gray like Stone Hearth CC-490 will add colour to the cabinets without darkening the room.  If you have a small space a light grey such as Collingwood OC-28 will keep your space feeling bright and open while creating this trendy look.

grey kitchen 1

To take this trend one step further, consider painting your base cabinets dark grey and the upper cabinets light grey.  This look can also be achieved by painting your kitchen island a different grey than your wall cabinets.

-By Stacey Severs