It this month’s Design Discussion post, I wanted to talk about color blocking. It doesn’t seem super controversial, but believe me when I say- the most messages I’ve ever received about a makeover (both positive and negative) was in regards to our previous hallway. I decided to color block the entire hall in an effort to make it more interesting and chic. I used neutral colors (nothing too crazy), and after the reveal, the messages began flooding in. Some people LOVED it. Some people HATED it. Haha! That comes with the territory and is kind of the fun thing about design… thinking outside the box, presenting new ideas, challenging design rules, creating a home that feels unique, and making an interesting statement that feels like you. Anyway, I’m diving into all things color blocking today and I’d love for you to weigh in! Click through for inspiration, my personal opinion, and my thoughts on whether this is a trend or lasting paint technique that is here to stay.
The hallway in our previous home was one of the easiest, low budget makeovers we’ve ever tackled… yet it was super impactful and yielded more feedback than any other makeover. Isn’t that interesting?! I received re-shares from designers I’ve admired for years commending me for the project, and on the contrary- I also read lots of messages from people saying it looked like I didn’t clean up hurricane flood waters in our house. Ha! That’s one that still makes me laugh, BTW. I can totally see where they’re coming from and I know the look is not for everyone. So that brings me to my next questions… when and where is color blocking appropriate? Why is color blocking so controversial in design? Is it a fad that is fading? Would you ever try it?
First, I think color blocking is an amazing way to get an interesting, designerly, creative look without breaking the bank. Paint is an inexpensive material, capable of impacting a space in a BIG way. If your home is lacking architectural interest or you’d like to emphasize a vignette or piece of furniture… color blocking is an awesome way to make a space less boring. Our hallway would’ve looked very plain, had I not color blocked it. I really loved the end result… and I didn’t have to install or invest in wainscoting or intricate millwork. I got the same illusion or look, but with much less time and money.
I think the key to color blocking is knowing when, where, and how to apply this wall treatment. Some tips to keep it classic and less trendy, if I may?
- If you have a piece of furniture you expect to keep and love longterm, color block the wall behind it to frame the vignette.
- Use color blocking like millwork… run it around the perimeter of a room where millwork would normally live (as base, crown, wainscoting, framed panel moulding, etc).
- Stick to timeless paint colors. When I see crazy, colorful color blocking- it’s easy to read the space as a kid’s room or juvenile. Because color blocking is essentially a giant shape, saturated colors can easily read “young”. Choose a paint color that feels more classic to keep it looking sophisticated.
- Avoid diagonal lines (it feels more trendy and won’t have the same longevity).
- If you’re doubting it, make it subtle (tone on tone or low contrast).
Color blocking can look really elegant and hip when done correctly. Use it as a tool to emphasize, frame, and enhance a vignette, architectural lines, or in place of finishing work.
I think color blocking gets a bad rep because there are a bunch of not-so-awesome examples out there. For every excellent example of color blocking, there might be 10 bad examples floating around Pinterest. I honestly think it can look timeless and cool, when done correctly! I’ve found examples from 10+ years ago that still feel relevant and amazing today. Therefore, I don’t think this “fad” is going anywhere anytime soon (especially given the price and accessibility of paint and its ability to transform), but I would caution you to use color blocking in an intentional way. It’s not as easy to nail as it looks, from a design point-of-view.
Ok, poll time! Tell me what you think… do you like and appreciate color blocking, or do you feel like it looks young and trendy? I’m excited to see the results in the anonymous poll below!
If you missed any of the previous Design Discussion posts, I’ll link them below. We chat about all sorts of controversial design topics around here! It’s pretty fun hearing everyone’s unique perspectives.
- Hardwoods in the Kitchen
- TV Over the Fireplace
- Stacked vs Side-by-Side Laundry Units
- Furniture Arranged Against a Wall
- Shelf Styling with Books
I hope you’re all having a good week so far! Things have been busy over here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m working on some upcoming giveaways for you guys and something very special! I’ll share more soon. I’m also wondering what I can go color block now. Ha! But really.