Danny: “Why do they always paint hallways that color?”
Rusty: “They say taupe is very soothing.” – Ocean’s Eleven
I have a love of color that started at a young age when I’d spend an unusually long amount of time studying the obscure names within my box of Crayola 64. Blue was lovely. But periwinkle, cornflower, and aquamarine were magical. And then years later when studying Interior Design, I carried this color obsession to my insane collection of Pantone markers. The hours that I spent hunched over a drafting table hand-rendering drawings were fun for me, because I was playing with color.
But had you looked in my closet or at the walls in my apartment, you might have thought that you had a reverse Wizard of Oz moment. The world may exist in Technicolor, but my space was firmly anchored in varying shades of grey, black, or white. And I don’t think that I’m alone.
Perhaps it is the shortened life-cycle that we often spend in our living spaces in cities like NYC that make us non-committal when it comes to real color. Who wants to paint their living room an interesting shade of anything, when you know you have to return it back to white before moving out in a year? I bet most people do not. I’ll never forget when my husband and I painted our dining room a shade of brick red. It was warm, cozy, and inviting. It was suited perfectly for the sunny walk-up building we lived in. You know what else it was? 2 days of work, countless coats of white paint, and a recovery trip to the masseuse to make it worthy of a full return of our security deposit when we moved out.
So the 10 years after that failed color experiment were filled with mostly Decorator’s White or the lightest of light shades of grey. And I still think these colors (or lack of color) are lovely in the right space. What looks better in a spacious loft than crisp white walls? Nothing. But I do not live in a spacious loft and I should not live forever in varying shades of grey.
And this is where I was last year when we were moving into our aforementioned 2 bedroom apartment. I knew we would do something fun for the nursery, but it was finally time to make our whole living space enter the Land of Oz. I dug out my old copies of Domino Magazine that I had dog-eared for their use of fabulous color and took a deep breath. I kept pondering the practicality of picking out a “difficult” color for a 2 year rental…but 2 years is a long time!! Why be boring when we can be bold?
I finally selected a color and handed the paint chip over to our painters. I didn’t visit while they were painting in case I chickened out. And you know what? It is beyond fabulous. Not a single person that walks into our apartment for the first time refrains from commenting on how much they like the color. Who paints a rental a “real” color? We did. And so should you.
Because everyday, after spending hours walking about a city that can be very grey, I open the door to my Tiffany Blue jewel box of an apartment and smile at my lovely home.