a few thoughts on bold blue walls

HAH!  I was supposed to take the day off the blog but I just had to share my thoughts on bold wall colors.  I’ve read a lot of comments (a CRAZY LOT- thank you!) about how I’m so brave with color, or how people wish they could be so bold etc…

First and foremost, I am a white wall girl.  I think I have something like 15 wall sections in the main living area and only one of them is painted.  (See floor plan here.)  I also am not usually a fan of the “accent wall.”  Hearing that phrase kinda makes me cringe.  So how did I end up with one in my loft?

(My inspiration- Annie Schlechter, styled by Lili Diallo)

Well the office nook is a dark corner of the loft.  It has no natural light, no architectural intrigue… just not a lot going for it.  When it was white it seemed depressing, awkward and empty.  I NEEDED color there to set it apart and make it its own area.  A soothing, safe color would have done nothing for the space.  Going bold was the only way to go.  Now, the nook is vibrant, happy and purposeful.   It helps make a room out of an ambiguous alcove. 

(My office nook.  Last time I’m posting it, promise!)

I don’t know if I could handle the bright blue in a 4-walled room.  That would overwhelm me or I might tire of it quicker.  But in an open space it just glows without taking over.  I think the accent wall works here because while it’s a statement maker, it’s not the only statement in the space.  You don’t walk in the door and see it right away.  Also, it doesn’t “match” any other element in the apartment.  It stands on its own, while still coordinating.

(my office nook in context)

Here are a few loose tips I have for people who want bold color on their walls.  Don’t repeat the wall color again in the room- let that blue (or green, or pink etc) be the special moment for that hue.  Don’t be afraid to incorporate other colors into the room.  Additional colors add depth and layer and can balance out the intensity of the wall choice.  Mix in a good dose of white to contrast.  Don’t forget to mix textures!  If your wall is glossy, add in something rustic, or furry, or textural, or mirrored.  (Both my shelf and the fretwork on my cabinets served that purpose for me.)  Edit, edit, edit.  Add items in and take items away- a good room should feel perfectly balanced.  Note that I don’t mean symmetrical or matching.

Damn, this post turned long again!  Obviously there are great designers out there who have broken all of the rules that I just listed and created stunning spaces.  This is what works for me, but ultimately you have to create your own design rules.

images of my space by Courtney Apple Photography 

  1. Steph

    I realize quite some time has passed, but I was curious if you remember the blue paint color you used.

    Your whole space is fantastic!

  2. Please, please tell me about the tablecloth on your tulip table!!


  3. I love the blue wall because it’s within the context of an otherwise white brick space! You have a ton of light too so it totally works – goes so well with all the brightness. And as always you tone it down with more rustic and antique pieces. It’s just all great. Period.

  4. Sally

    Just discovered your blog, totally love it. Your blue wall is amazing as is the rest of your apartment.


  5. You can post pics of your office nook everyday for the rest of the year and I would be a happy girl!

  6. Tori

    Man I love that pink up against the blue! So fun and lively!

  7. Absolutely stunning place!! Congrats on the DS feature.

  8. Amen on creating your own design rules. It’s scary when you think you can’t be the first do it, or think you’ll be criticized in the worst possible way. It’s good to practice in your own home.

    Yay, I like the different view of the space. I really should convince TH to fly us to Philly.

  9. I’m kinda lusting after that bright pink sofa now.. ahhh!! BadNaomi!! I don’t have the money for it I’m sure, hahaha!!! XOXO Bea

  10. I agree with everything you said! I’m a light wall girl, and I almost never like an accent wall … but it can work especially when there is an architectural feature that gives it “purpose.” I think the fact that yours is almost “sectioned off” in a nook is what creates its purpose and helps it work so brilliantly. Love the inspiration photo, too!

  11. Lily

    LOVE that color blue…not sure I could pull it off though and make it look as fabulous as you did !!


  12. Gahhh I am week in the knees! So bold and AMAZING!

  13. Ashley

    So much for taking the day off from the blog…ha! I totally agree and, while I’ve never tried my hand at painting any walls in my apartment, I may muster the strength with your encouragement.

    P.S. As if you didn’t already know, but your house tour is blowing up the internet. Way to go!

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