Charlotte Interior Designer Details How Color Is The Powerful Element That Transforms The Feel & Look Of A Room

Posted on | August 13, 2015 | No Comments

Color is a powerful design element – it can change the feel, mood and look of a space in an instant. However, color can be a tricky thing to get exactly right. To get some fresh insight on color, and to learn a bit about what’s popular today, North Carolina Design talked to Charlotte interior designer Penny Porter, owner of Visual Concepts Interior Design. From the kitchen, to the bathroom, to main living spaces throughout the house, Penny is known for her creativity and her keen eye for detail. With more than 15 years experience transforming spaces for clients across the Carolinas, we were delighted to listen as she detailed what’s involved in creating the perfect custom color palette for her clients.

Images Courtesy of Visual Concepts Interior Design ©

“Everybody sees color differently and every designer uses color differently,” Penny says. “As a general rule, in main living spaces, I like to use a neutral as an overall backdrop. Neutrals are easy to live with. They also give a design longevity, which is especially important when you’re talking about things that are hard to change, like tile. Gray is a popular neutral right now – I frequently do all gray designs, from lighter shades to really deep shades – including some gray furniture.”

Penny notes that even neutral colors are complex and have a wide range of different undertones. “Grays can vary from warmer to cooler. Beiges may have pink or yellow in them. Different lighting can bring out or subdue a color’s undertones, so a specific shade of gray can look neutral in one client’s house, but in another client’s house it can appear to be a pale blue. It’s important to look at a color in the existing light of a space, both during the day and at night.”

Penny isn’t just about neutrals. “Color is my favorite aspect of design,” she offers. “It has an amazing ability to affect how people feel in a space. When I’m working in my studio, I’m placing different fabrics and samples with neutrals, and just intuitively searching around for colors and textures that will all work together. I especially love adding in bright pops of color here and there. That’s the great thing about starting with a neutral background – you can change things up with bold colorful accessories.”

When it comes to color in the kitchen, less is often more. “I see a trend toward simple lines and cleaner colors,” Penny explains. “People are keeping things pretty neutral, but they do add in color here and there. They often use their islands to provide color – I am especially seeing a lot of blue and green islands. I do also have clients that want all white kitchens. White looks fresh and clean, and it can be very, very pretty.”

Bedrooms are the most personal of spaces and people are using color to create a relaxing environment where they can escape from the world. “People are so stressed and busy nowadays – I think the bedroom is one place where they really want something calming – neutral tones work well in helping to achieve that,” Penny tells us.

While neutrals wind their way throughout most of the house, Penny concedes there are some rooms that can handle a bit of extra personality. “Guest rooms are a great place to play with color,” she advises. “You don’t have to live in them all the time, so you can add bolder elements that you might not use in your own room. It’s also fun to give powder rooms a little bit of a dramatic atmosphere, and add in some strong colors.”

Penny has seen her share of color mistakes, and she has a word of advice. “I have come to realize that people don’t all see color the same way,” she says. “It takes some talent and artistic ability to put colors together, and it really is best to hire a design expert if you want to be sure it’s done right. And, while not everyone knows how to create a color palette, everyone can sense when one works. It’s harmonious. It feels right. It’s a space you love being in.”

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