Painting one or more walls an accent color can be great or horrible, from a design viewpoint and from a feng shui perspective. Remove the possibility of “horrible” results by following two rules: Pick your accent color from the bagua chart, and know where to change color—and where not to.
I advise in Feng Shui Demystified: “Don’t change wall colors at an inward corner (a corner that juts into the room)—it will have a jarring effect in the room. Change wall colors only at an outward corner (a corner that goes back away from the center of the room). This is true especially if your home has bullnose (rounded) corners. See Fig. 20. I’ve seen homes where the wall color changes in the middle of a curving bullnose—the effect is like apologizing for having good architecture! The only time it’s alright to change color at an inward corner is when vertical molding (usually white) has been added to that corner.”
I was recently called to a home with interesting architecture but, because the wall colors were changed at inward corners, the architecture felt muddled and the energy felt fractured. The home design had lost integrity and intelligence, and that’s a heck of a lot to lose to an ill-considered paint job. (As I said earlier, the results can be horrible—I’ve seen it with my own eyes.)
In contrast, just the other day, I came from a home that was completely light cream inside—even the ceiling was cream. I was thrilled when the client said, “I want color.” When I consult on Hawaii Island, where I live, I arrive with three heavy bags of paint fandecks—in addition to my briefcase. Rarely do I take them out of my car, but I’m thrilled when someone wants to paint their walls. We used the Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore decks and she very much appreciated that one deck had a better green selection and another deck had better grays.
To help my client understand how the decision of where to change colors is connected with integrity, I walked her over to the stone kitchen counter and I grabbed the edge. “This is a chunk of stone. The side of it is the same as the top and they look like one thing. If the color changed at the edge, you’d know that the surface was something like Formica imitating stone.” I then walked over to an inward jutting corner, put out my arms so that each arm was along one of the two walls of the corner, and waved one at a time: “This arm is around a chunk of something, and this other arm is along the other side of that same chunk.” The “chunk of something” can be defined by an accent color.
And what better way to chose accent colors than the bagua chart. Few things are more rewarding than giving yourself a big dose of your favorite color in the correct place on the bagua chart. When the client said that blue was her favorite color, I encouraged her to pick one or two blues for the Wealth Corner. (Looking at the bagua map, you can see that red, purple and blue are the colors for that area; it’s labeled “Fortunate Blessings,” which is the traditionally correct name, on this map.)
I said, “This is going to be easy. Just look at these gorgeous blues and pick one or two that are your very favorite.” I explained that some people torture themselves over color, but out of three or four fandecks, you should be able to find the shades of colors that you are looking for and that really resonate with you. She chose a royal blue (Benjamin Moore, 2065-20, Dark Royal Blue) for one wall and a robin’s egg blue (Benjamin Moore, 2065-40, Utah Sky) for the adjoining wall, which had a short, dark hallway next to it; that hall will also be the light robin’s egg blue. The other two walls in that room have large windows and they will be the same white as the office.
Green (SW6189, Opaline), blue (the two shades mentioned above), grey (Benjamin Moore, AC-27, Galveston Gray) and white were the only colors we picked during my consultation session. With the existing cream color, that makes five colors for the interior of a two-bedroom home—that’s plenty. Most of the colors are subdued. The white in the office and adjoining dark bathroom will be quite white to bring in more light. White is generally a good color for offices because it’s a mental color, plus this office is in the Creativity Area.
I have known of only one client who went hog wild with the bagua colors. He got out the paint brush and used eight different colors at exactly the right places. It was relatively easy—his space was 10 feet by 100 feet. I was amazed that such a place existed in the first place. Well, his life skyrocketed forward after he painted the colors, which included metallic silver in the Creativity Area. I generally don’t encourage going crazy with interior color, but it was his art studio, and a space that long needs to be broken up visually anyway.
One last word on interior paint color—I don’t generally recommend painting over natural stone, brick, or wood. And in case you’re wondering about wallpaper: Wallpaper is a world unto itself. It will need a future post devoted solely to just that topic.