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how to take risks (that you won't regret!) with paint and pattern

A gray accent wall/Photography: Marili Forastieri/Play with gray! Even a neutral wall—like this one at boutique inn GrayBarns—can make a bold impact when paired with the right texture.

Neutrals are your go-to. But what if you're looking to start experimenting with color? We tap a neutrals expert who knows how to master your first foray into the world of bolder colors: Nikki Glazer, GrayBarns boutique inn co-owner and one of the designers at Glazer Group. Who better than a self-described "greige" fan to share tips on taking calculated risks with bolder hues? 

Ask the tough questions. 

Before plunging ahead, ask yourself some important DIYer questions: "Do you see yourself living with this everyday? Where are you comfortable taking a risk?" The answers will help pinpoint where you can stretch your creativity. 

Consider an accent wall—but make it subtle. 

"As I tend to have a neutral palette on the foundational level, I'm not crazy about loud accents for an entire wall section," she says. But a less dramatic color, or location, can do wonders for a space. "I do, however, enjoy using a deeper gray or sage green to create something that feels interesting, but not too jarring as a flat accent wall or on a large built-in piece of furniture such as a bookshelf or cabinet," says Nikki. 

Take calculated risks with pattern. 

"I love hand-painted wallpaper for a rich, traditional, English countryside feel. I also enjoy something whimsical and fun for a kids' room as far as wallpaper goes." 

But Nikki cautions that sometimes price can dictate design—not to mention, your willingness to immediately re-paper a wallpaper pattern that just didn't work out on the first try. Take risks in small spaces to minimize your risk and maximize your results. "A small hallway, powder room, kid's room, or a built-in piece are usually my suggestions for areas of experimentation," suggests Nikki. 

"The design process is expensive so I always aim to select something for your bigger, more formal spaces that you won't fall out of love with over time."

Get it right from the start. 

Nikki suggest sampling and "marinating" on a pattern or paint color before committing. "I usually start with a swatching exercise and marinate on things for a week or so. I then go back and if something is missing or I’m looking for something more out of a particular color, I will bring in new samples. It is always good to look at the swatches in different lights as they will change. I like to block in big spaces with something the client feels really comfortable with and wants to live with—every day."


get sampling

Ready to go bold? Start small—shop our selection of paint and wallpaper samples to see what works best in your space. 

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