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Chip’s Tips: Color My World


Choosing colors for your home is an intensely personal experience.

By Chip Wde


You hear the voices in your head, ‘don’t paint with bold colors…use only agreeable gray…be neutral for resale!’ Just remember, these might be the same voices that told you the Falcons’ were a lock to win the Superbowl – at halftime.

Color is a powerful tool when designing your space. The concept of ‘color psychology’ is a hot topic in the design world. In many Western countries, the color white represents purity and innocence. Oddly, in many Eastern countries, it is a symbol of mourning. (source: recently cited a study that found that when presented with a series of colors, adults least-liked a greenish-brown color because they associated it with bad or dirty things. In the same study, however, babies curiously liked that par-ticular hue best. (source:

And no, I do NOT recommend painting your baby’s room that color!

Experts (and perhaps this is where the voices in your head came from!) claim you should go with a neutral palette, in your own designs or when selling your home. A Better Homes & Gardens survey found that orange is hardly the new black – homeowners were least likely to decorate with it. (source: My apologies if you’re a big Tennessee fan. My friends at Valspar paints have some great ideas on how to pick colors that suit you – read more about it at

One approach I really like is to make a statement in only one room. I talked about it in a video for Wayfair recently. Check it out at Wayfair’s YouTube page ( And while I’m not a psychologist, I think we all agree that color is a critical design element.

I love to design with white paint. It’s an unmarked canvas, a liberating absence that allows creativity to roam free. When you layer in textures and detail in complementary shades, you get a rich, subtly complex space.

I also love a smoky palette: golden caramels, cherry mochas and dark chocolates. Yes, a bit of a sweet tooth, but these smoky shades call to mind worn leather, polished wood and amber pools of light. A smoky palette has undeniable sex appeal.

If gentle were a color, it would be a pale neutral. I love this trend for its soft approachability. Far from bland, pale neutrals have a versatility designers love to explore – a wispy, transparent tulle, or a shimmering washed metallic – that push their beauty in a new direction.

At the end of the day, choosing colors for your home is an intensely personal experience. Sometimes it’s best to go with your gut, and ignore that voice in your head. Designing a layout and choosing furniture that’s functional makes a big difference in how you, your family and guests, use a space.

For right now, color me finished! I’d love it if you shared your color vision with me. Visit my website and send me your thoughts and ideas at