The Electric Effects Of Colour In Dark Spaces

The Electric Effects Of Colour In Dark Spaces

Dark spaces set a strong image with a heavy mood. They appear dramatic and serious, cool and confident. So, what happens when you inject a little colour… Or a lot? These two modern home designs explore the combination of colourful brights in dark spaces, showing how to hit the balance just right. Our first home tour takes place in a charcoal grey home interior that is uplifted with an array of punchy furniture pieces to achieve a 50/50 blend. In contrast, home design number two employs just a couple of electric blue interludes to shake off the shadows of a grey and black backdrop. Each offers a different ratio of colour to achieve exciting aesthetics.

Recommended Reading:  Bringing Dark Interiors Out Of The Shadows With Colourful Accents

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A Designer’s Adding Color to a 100-Year-Old Cottage While Honoring Its History

A Designer’s Adding Color to a 100-Year-Old Cottage While Honoring Its History

Name: Sophie Elinor
Location: Newcastle — NSW, Australia
Type of home: A 100-year-old miner’s cottage
Size: 1,150 square feet
Years lived in: 12 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My house used to belong to my Nan, Heather. She was a fiercely independent and dazzling woman who worked as a dressmaker, and she single-handedly raised my mum and aunty here. Her house was always a safe, welcoming space for cousins twice-removed and friends of friends.

I have so many happy childhood memories from here, too: climbing the huge frangipani tree out the back with my brothers, learning to bake Anzac biscuits in the kitchen, trying on all the brooches and clip-on earrings in Nan’s jewelry box…

When I was a teenager, Nan got dementia and had to move out of her beloved home, and a few years after that she passed away. My mum rented the house out, off and on, but when I finished university I decided to move to Newcastle. The house was empty at that point, so I moved in.

I rented and worked and saved and eventually pulled together enough for a deposit. In 2017 — on what would have been my Nan’s birthday — I bought the house on my own. That was only possible because I bought directly from my mum, the housing market is an absolute mess!

Even before my Nan lived there, the house had a long history. It’s over 100 years old, and it’s beautifully wonky and full of character.

Since buying it, I’ve been slowly peeling back the layers of dusty carpet and shining up the floorboards that were buried underneath, bringing in more light with bigger windows, fixing up the bathroom, and touching up the kitchen. It’s a perpetual work in progress, but it feels good to see it grow.

There was already so much love in the house, but I’ve worked really hard at pulling joy to the surface. Color has always been important to me, and more is more, so the collective aesthetic is pretty bold! I try to be really thoughtful with what I bring into my home, though, so a lot of the furnishings, decor, and artwork is handmade by family, friends, and artists I love.

Like a lot of anxious millennials, I’ve filled my house with far too many plants. I like to think they bring a sense of calm and tranquillity that offsets the cacophony of color!

I’m putting my own stamp on the place while trying to honor its history. It’s really special when family come to visit, and can enjoy the new chapter that builds on the original story.

You can see pieces of my dad all over the house — the bathroom vanity he built from rosewood that belonged to his dad who I never got to meet, the bench he made from pieces of my childhood cubby house, the stand-up mirror he created from an old timber bed frame that has the literal imprints of his grandparents in it.

Of course my mum is all over the house as well, having grown up in it. It’s a unique thrill to paint murals on the walls there with her, when once upon a time that kind of behavior would’ve got her in trouble! She is always encouraging me to make the place my own. It makes us both happy.

The typographer in me loves decorating with type, and the house is peppered with large-scale, papier-mâché lettering I’ve created for various design projects and exhibitions.

I’m also just a bit of a silly goose, and I like to let that shine though in places, too. For instance, my bathroom door is a cavity slider, so I turned it into a retractable, peek-a-boo mural featuring those wacky inflatable tube men you see in car yards. Why not?!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, sentimental, arty, jungle-y, and joyful.

What is your favorite room and why? My small sunroom home office at the front of the house was once a verandah, but decades ago it was bricked in to become part of the interior. The space gets the most beautiful morning light, and my plants grow wild in there. My desk sits underneath a big bank of louvre windows, looking out onto my cottage garden and the street below. It’s a little voyeuristic, but I love eavesdropping on passers-by, like gardeners admiring whatever is currently in bloom, or little kids excitedly pointing out my rainbow front steps to their parents.

The space has evolved with me over time, and is now full of bright, vibrant artwork — some my own, some that I have collected. The combination of light, greenery, and color always makes me feel grounded and creatively stimulated.

When my Nan lived here, this was the room where she did all of her dressmaking, so sometimes it feels like that generational creativity is baked into the walls.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My most recent decor addition is something I created myself. I decided I needed a giant pencil in my life, so I made one! It’s made from recycled cardboard, it’s taller than I am, and it has an “eraser” on the end covered in 1,500 pink rhinestones. It is a profoundly silly object but I love it so much.

On a tangentially silly note, I’ve also been making melty, shelf-y disco eggs (with bedazzled yolks), lately. I’ve been popping them all around the house and they add instant whimsy!

Any advice for creating a home you love? This has been an ongoing process, trying to pay attention to what makes me feel good. Design trends are always coming and going, but the things that bring me joy are fairly constant.

I love coming home through my bright yellow front door, greeted by a disco ball planter, under a canopy of rainbow streamers stretched across the ceiling. Sure it’s a bit like arriving at a kid’s party every day, but it’s hard not to feel happy in space like that.

Your home is for you, and if you’re into kitsch or kooky or kinda out-there aesthetics, embrace it. A home filled with personality is easy to love.

The Most Colorful Books of 2022 (So Far) to Add to Your Bookshelf

The Most Colorful Books of 2022 (So Far) to Add to Your Bookshelf

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Looking to add some vibrancy to your bookshelves? Here are some of the prettiest book covers in every color of the rainbow. This list features new fiction releases, both novels and short stories, from 2022, so you’ll most likely be able to find them if you wish to recreate this reading rainbow in your own home. 

Starting off is a little pink for the girlies. (Just kidding, pink is typically seen as a feminine color but really, gendered colors are a construct.) “Tell Me I’m An Artist” follows art student Joey over the course of a semester, who has enrolled in a film elective required by her San Fransico university. As Joey struggles to complete a self-portrait assignment (despite having never seen Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore,” she’s chosen to recreate it), themes of imposter syndrome, class, and privilege emerge in this coming-of-age novel. 

The eye-catching cover of “Anonymous Sex” oozes a feeling of want and desire with its vibrant red color and plump strawberry hinting at a behind. Between the sheets, you’ll find 27 erotic short stories from 27 authors with zero bylines attached. So pour a glass of wine, draw up a bath, and thank me later. 

“Nevada” technically debuted in 2013, but FSG rereleased the cult classic this year with a new afterword from Imogen Binnie. Its reddish-orange cover is a perfect transition book in your reading rainbow, and its insides are equally as alluring. While the synopsis sounds relatively simple — a fiery trans woman embarks on a cross-country road trip from New York City to Nevada — it’s an impactful read that stays with you long after the final page. Torrent Peters, author of “Detransition, Baby,” called “Nevada,” “a book that changed my life.” Going on to say, “it shaped both my worldview and my personhood, making me the writer I am. And it did so by the oldest of methods, by telling a wise, hilarious, and gripping story.”

You can’t tell me the deliciously decadent orange cover of Ling Ma’s short story collection doesn’t do something for you. The eye candy is even sweeter because it’s the much-awaited second release from the author of “Severance,” the post-apocalyptic horror meets satire and road adventure pushed in 2018, made even more popular after the start of the pandemic. Fittingly, Bliss Montage was written during the pandemic, and its short stories, which braid together the all too real with the fantastical, are a strange and wonderful follow-up. 

If you’re a fantasy lover, “This Woven Kingdom” makes for both a pretty and enthralling addition to your bookshelf. The first in a new trilogy, Tahereh Mafi’s YA novel has it all: forbidden romance, clashing empires, and an engaging, evenly paced plot. 

The saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to be captivated by the design of “Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century.” It’s whimsical, earthy, and is an excellent representation of the speculative and strange short stories that await inside. 

Crisp, bright, and relatively simple, the electric cover of “A Very Nice Girl” draws you in, while its story of sex, power, and love — which Meg Mason, the author of “Sorrow and Bliss” called “Sweetbitter” meets “Normal People” — keeps you saying “just one more chapter.”

What lies beneath the ordinary and mundane? Kate Folk explores this, the eerie and unknown, in her creepy, debut short story collection. If the cover is giving you sci-fi vibes, you’re not wrong…

Strap in for a strange and wondrous ride — Anna Dorn’s “Exalted” will take you down a rabbit hole of desire and self-worth, and make you look like a cool, hip astrology babe while reading it. 

A vampire novel but make it modern! In the realm of Ottessa Moshfegh’s “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” (which is another great cover), “Woman Eating” isn’t for those looking for something more plot-driven. Claire Kohda tells the story of Lydia, a mixed-race vampire struggling to feed her constant hunger while balancing a life living with humans. It’s character-driven and, like the cover, extremely vibey. 

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.

Jordan Snowden

Contributor

Jordan Snowden is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh whose work has been published in The Seattle Times, Pittsburgh City Paper and elsewhere. She also runs @jord_reads_books, a book-focused Instagram account where she connects with other bookworms. In her free time Jordan can be found with a book in her hand or DIYing something with her husband. 

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A Colorful Copenhagen Apartment Has Rainbow Curtains & Papier-Mâché Fruit

A Colorful Copenhagen Apartment Has Rainbow Curtains & Papier-Mâché Fruit

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Lærke Victoria Plougmann
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Size: 721 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 2 years, owned

Lærke, who runs a popular Instagram account and is a sales advisor for Danish fashion brand By Malene Birger, loves to express herself artistically and visually. “Creativity is the focus point of my everyday life,” she writes. And the small apartment in Copenhagen she owns is an expression of her passion for creativity.

“The building is more than 80 years old, which brings out a lot of quirks and beautiful details in the architecture, like rosettes on the ceiling and French glass doors,” she writes. “Since I moved in two years ago, the space has seen its fair share of DIYs and renovation projects. I love that I’m able to mix the 1940s with the 2020s. I’m a firm believer that ‘old meets new’ creates the most integral connection.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style is a mix of Danish design classics, kitsch, colors, patterns, and shapes. By now, I don’t think that anything is too crazy or “too much” for me. I love the odd and sometimes almost “ugly” pieces, which brings out personality and makes the space completely my own.

Inspiration: I find great inspiration in colors, art, patterns, and atmospheres. I cherish the feeling a certain place or situation can contribute, so it’s completely natural for me to think in these lanes when decorating. The color scheme in my bedroom, for example, is inspired by a sunrise and the curtains in my living room evoke a rainbow.

Favorite Element: My favorite element must be my living room! It’s a multifunctional space with room for coziness, clutter, and play. I love the color scheme and the joy it brings me. The living room is a collection of shapes and patterns — a color explosion, if you will, and I always find myself happy and content looking at this space. My friend once drew parallels between my living room and Pippi Longstocking’s Villa Villekulla, a place where norms exist to be broken. That’s the greatest compliment anybody could have ever given me.

Biggest Challenge: The apartment is quite spacious for it to be just me living here, but I still had a hard time figuring out how to fit in all of my ideas and purposes in each room. I tried to overcome it by making the living room a multifunctional space. It’s a television area, dining space, and workspace all in one. I can change the layout of the space regarding the purpose, which has been very helpful!

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY is my papier-mâché fruits. I made them from scratch, and the design process and the actual execution took me hours. I love the dimensions of them and the childish almost theatrical feeling they bring to the space. So far I’ve made a strawberry, an orange, a pea pod, two cherries, and a banana. I’ve become obsessed.

Biggest Indulgence: My “Secret Garden” rug designed by Poppy Kalas for Layered is a precious possession of mine and my biggest indulgence. The rug was on the top of my wishlist and I enjoy it every single day. It’s formed the framework for the rest of my living room — worth every single penny!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My passion is to create, therefore my home is filled with furniture, decorations, and art I’ve made myself. For instance, the giant papier-mâché fruits, the tile tables I made with my father, the mirrors in the hallway, and the gold mobile I’ve made with my mother all coexist.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I’ve chosen everything carefully and am therefore connected to it all, since everything means something special to me. If I have to highlight something, the rainbow curtains in my living room mean a lot to me. The colors stimulate me and make me feel happy and safe. For me, it’s pure color therapy. The weather in Denmark is often gray and wet, so the idea of the rainbow curtains was to make sure I would always be guaranteed great, sunny weather in here. If it’s dark and cold outside, I can draw the curtains and suddenly I’m in a bubble of warmth, color, and energy. It’s my very own rainbow hideout.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I’m truly an unorganized organizer. No matter how hard I try to become one of those people where everything is labeled and easy to access when needed, I have to surrender to being a mess. If you’re a bit of a collector like me, and an unorganized one as well, I have found that hidden storage space is key. Do you have high ceilings? Then build in shelves to use in that space. Do you have lots of room under your bed? Go ahead and use the storage space under there.

What most people get wrong about using color in their home: That it has to be chaotic and tiring to the eye. It doesn’t! You can achieve just as peaceful and calm a space by using colors as you would white or beige.

What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? Stick to a common thread: a certain color scheme, or a color you like that can be the blocker or repeater in your interior. If you wish to fill your space with lots of colors, though, forget about coherence and let the colors speak for themselves. Don’t be scared, take a leap of faith! If it turns out wrong, a re-do is always a possibility.

What’s your favorite wall paint color of all time: I have a hard time choosing, hence why all rooms in my apartment have different wall colors. But, I must say, I love the peachy wall paint color in by bedroom. It’s so warm and inviting, and feels like waking up to an embrace.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Jump into the crazy ideas, and be completely indifferent to what people may think about you or your decorating style. A home is personal, and the most important thing is that it creates happiness and a feeling of security for you.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

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This Maximalist’s House Is a ‘Thrifted Rainbow Fun Time’

This Maximalist’s House Is a ‘Thrifted Rainbow Fun Time’

Name: Sara Rothwell, my husband, Peter, and our two cats, Heaney and Yeats
Location: Maplewood, New Jersey
Type of home: House
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, own

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My husband, Peter, and I moved to the United States in 2015 from Dublin, Ireland. We lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn for five years and then headed out to the Maplewood suburbs when the area was highly recommended by friends. Our colonial home is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom. On the ground floor we have a living room, dining room, kitchen, parlor, and powder room. Upstairs we have our main bedroom, main bathroom, and then the remaining two bedrooms are used as an office each for Peter and I. I work as a video producer in the video games industry and Peter works for a Marketing and PR Agency.

I identify as a maximalist magpie. I cannot resist a pretty little shiny accent, whether that be clothing or home furnishings. I adore dressing up and feel energized when I’m wearing a fun outfit. My mostly thrifted wardrobe is bursting with lots of color and texture, and that definitely carries over into the home. We have decorated our home in large part via local Swap Meet pages, estate sales, online auctions, thrift, and vintage stores. I love that each piece has history to it. Our aim was to create a cozy, warm, vibrant, and unique space that guests feel at home in. We always have music playing, candles burning, and snacks at the ready! I like to engage all five senses where possible.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: A thrifted rainbow fun time!

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room (right now) would be the dining room. I adore having dinner parties that last into the evening; tasty food, delicious cocktails, and excellent company. What more could you want? Our dining room has comfortable seating and I enjoy that the chandelier can be adjusted per the lighting needs. I always keep a box of fuchsia tapered candles on hand should the occasion call for it. I always wanted to use a traditional toile pattern on the walls and found the most amazing Marfa, cowboy, cacti toile wallpaper for the space. We painted the wainscoting and ceiling in the same rich blue shade. This room makes me smile every time I step into it.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I picked up a 1960s bamboo etagere from a local lady last week. It is rather large so we needed to remove a couple of doors from hinges to get it into the home. But it was worth it. I feel it works in the dining room quite well. And provides a nice perch for the two cats.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Do what makes YOU happy. You will not regret it. You’ll wake up every single day to a space that generates pure joy. And that goes very nicely with a coffee!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.