From rich emerald green to vibrant ruby red, jewel-toned colors are edging their ways past the neutrals and into the décor forefront. If you're planning a January home refresh punch list, understanding the ins and outs of incorporating new colors is important for a successful glow up.
We dropped in on Wendy Doornink of Hirshfield’s to find out how the color specialist and Realtor helps homeowners add trending pops of color while keeping it chic. “I see this movement of jewel tones add richness and luxe in places where people just want to embrace a feeling of warmth and intrigue, a little mystery and differentness,” she says.
Using wallpaper as the vehicle for color is a growing option. (Ditch any notion set from previous experiences of peeling and scraping off outdated wallpaper. Doornink says the process has come a long way.) Now, the process includes steps to prime and seal, creating a waterproof barrier, making wallcovering easier to pull off when the mood strikes. Plus, there’s peel-and-stick wallpaper, too. “The key to wallpaper is finding that one jewel tone you love and letting the rest of your room coordinate with as much neutral as you can,” she says.
Doornink weighs in on how to utilize jewel-tones to give the walls in your home a dash of personality.
Test two coats of paint on walls, cardboard or tagboard, and review the dried coats during the time of day that you spend the most time in the space. “Every room feels different—a north-facing room feels so different from a sunny west in the afternoon,” she says.
Choose one jewel-tone color and accent with the rest. “You’re usually drawn to one or two [hues]. Use one for your main accent walls and bring the rest in with soft décor, like furnishings, chair covers, rugs, pillows, drapery and couches,” she says.
Avoid using strong colors throughout a home. It’s overwhelming and makes a house feel small even with good lighting. “There’s usually one star of the show—one color that’s dominant, and the rest of the colors are supporting players,” she says. “You have to let the diva be the diva.”
Jewel tones can bring drama, personality and moody vibes into a home. Homeowners concerned about resale value should use neutral colors in flow areas, like hallways and stairways, and in hard-to-reach spaces. In bathrooms, match the tile’s vibe to pull it together in a cohesive sense.
Don’t go too bright. Once you get the color on the wall, color shines like crazy. “I have a saying, ‘When in doubt, gray it out,’” Doornink says. “Make it more gray than you think, and it’ll still come through with a lot of color.”
Emerald green is having a huge moment and is appearing on cabinetry, wood wainscotting and accent walls and in powder bathrooms. It corresponds to the trend of incorporating natural colors into our environment, and green is healing and calming. It’s the color of growth and renewal, and we’re welcoming its ease into our décor.
Blue, such as cerulean or sapphire, is timeless. Blue jewel tones are crisp, clear and can add energy to a room. Blue cabinets are almost a staple, and bolder colors help us stand out from the norm.
A favorite is Benjamin Moore’s Dragonfly, a distinctive dark teal that adds life and punch without being overwhelming.
Yellow, like citrine or garnet, is a stronger color personality and should be added with care to avoid creating agitation with bright hues. A great place to start with this tone is in décor like pillows, artwork, bedding, curtains—things that can be added in smaller quantities. A wallpaper with a hint of yellow is another option. Yellow brings a joie de vivre.
Amethyst tones are grayed-down versions of red that lean a bit purple. These will be colors that we feel could be found in nature. Amethyst tones are comforting, homey and peaceful.
An Ideal Match
Once the color is in place, more fun can be had with accessorizing and adding finishing décor touches.
Maximalism styles can incorporate jewel tones and bring many colors together. Wallpaper is embracing this idea, and the options are almost endless as far as color and pattern. Large patterns and big colors bring a homeowner’s personality to the walls. Powder bathrooms are the perfect space to add this drama. And don’t worry about the colors being too dark in rooms without windows. Adequate lighting will solve this problem.
Bohemian styles add woven and natural woods to the palette of brighter colors. These accents help soften the overall effect of the dramatic colors. This style leans toward the natural trend, delivering an unfussy and easy feel.
White is a perfect accent to jewel tones. It allows the colors to be dominant without competing with them. Crisp white like Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace or a warmer neutral like its popular White Dove or Swiss Coffee can be used on accent walls or as a backdrop to artwork full of color. Black can accent as well but in limited amounts.
Cabinet hardware colors that work with jewel tones vary. There’s currently a curated look when it comes to metals in our homes. For example, the faucet can be black while drawer pulls are an aged brass—with brushed gold currently making appearances on kitchen and bath cabinets. Brushed gold, brass and black marry well with bolder jewel tones, while brushed nickel works best with more muted or neutral tones.
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