Yes Mother's Day is this weekend- but that's not the M word I'm referring to!
There is one M word that every Irish mother knows, almost every Irish household is guilty of and many Irish Interior Designers avoid, a word with such a bad rep although it has always done its job well.... Magnolia.
Magnolia- the 'standard' paint colour of UK & Irish homes, other than white. A colour that first reached mass market in the 1950's but became a household colour in the 80's, it seems that Ireland has only just begun to move away from what we know is a 'go-to' colour for many developers, estate agents and landlords. What I find strange is that although we apply it on so many occasions, it happens to be one of our least favourite colours- God knows the paint manufacturers and marketers go to great lengths to name the colour that closest resembles magnolia on their colour cards anything but ''Magnolia''!
It seems that Irish homeowners are making their way from the bland and inoffensive tones of Magnolia towards the more fashionable greys- whether cool greys or warm greys. The average Irish household, it seems can be quite reluctant to introduce bright, bold colours into their living spaces.
So my question is, when we look outside the window on a day like today (by the way, in case you haven't ventured outside yet, it is snowing today, yes I kid you not!) and return to look at our space- what would we prefer; a space that reflects our Irish skies or would we prefer to be in a world of colour and character that excites us, inspires us and makes us feel like we are in a really unique space? The colours of our homes are (or should be) a direct reflection of our personalities, so how can so many different personalities opt for the same colours then? Are we governed by trend, convenience, expense or are we afraid that we will tire of the colour and regret our bold decisions?
As Spring has finally sprung and the dusters come out, the old paint tins are checked for solidifying and the kids are handed those black sacks and sent to their rooms, I would encourage people to reevaluate the wall colours of their homes.
Ask yourself do you really feel like you have a unique space- a space filled with colours - colours that act as zone definers, mood uplifters and reflections of your home's personality and of the individuals who live in it? If you have a magnolia wall, ask yourself why? Yes it's versatile and it goes with (nearly) everything but the same can be said for boiled chicken. Do you want boiled chicken or do you want that exotic dish that you'll tell all your friends about? Life's too short for boiled chicken every day!
Pop into your local paint supplier and grab a handful of paint cards and charts. Take a look at them and talk to people who have chosen some bold colours for their homes, ask them how they feel since changing. Show your families and ask each member if they had the choice, what colours would they pick for their own personal or communal spaces? I seriously doubt many would opt for the M word.
If you're still not convinced, look at interiors magazines and images online at sets and rooms painted in colours. They don't have to be bright or bold or very dark, just colours other than cream or grey. Imagine it in your space. Imagine what colour in that wad of swatches might work best with the items you have. Imagine magnolia doesn't exist. Imagine grey isn't trendy. What would you choose?
If you're still stuck in the M Zone, ask someone. Ask your partner what they would love. Ask a friend if you were a colour what colour would you be (If they answer grey or magnolia wouldn't you be offended?!). Ask yourself have you got the space and the light to choose another colour? You probably have. Then ask a professional, an interior designer who knows colour and how it will affect your mood and your space. Most interior designers will call out to your home and guide you on colour for your entire home for a fee (most professionals range between €50 and €150 for a call out). You can contact Ciara to find out your once-off consultation fee.
Moving in to a rental years ago, I checked if it was okay to paint and hang art, etc. The answer I received was "Yes, the paint colour is Magnolia". Which I took to mean, "Of course, do as you wish but please make sure that it's back to our good old mass marketable colour when you're leaving." So off I went in a search for a unique paint colour that represented the personalities in the home.
It was a toss up between the ever-covetable but rarely adopted deep and moody Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue, Zoffany Pewter (which was too grey) and Moon Shadow by Little Greene (this was too ultra-blue for the space). We needed a paint colour that worked beautifully with our mix of vintage wooden furniture and contemporary accessories. So we went with the deepest, most luxurious Colortrend green-blue, "Frozen Stream". The type of colour that can be seen in the deepest oceans and changes from green-blue in the daylight to a moody dark blue in the evenings. Perfect for our blindingly bright east facing wall which received a lot of bluish morning light. When I discovered Colortrend's Frozen Stream, I knew it was the perfect colour- Versatile, energetic and moody with a punch of boldness. Does this reflect our personalities?! Uh-oh, I guess so!
It goes without saying that this blog post is written with an element of humour with regards to my attitude towards Magnolia. If you're stuck in the M Zone and need some guidance, don't hesitate to contact me. I would be more than happy to call out to your home to help choose a paint colour to match your personality with your space. It's an easy change to adopt and painting your home is the most cost effective way of completely changing and updating it. If we can work together to choose a colour that speaks to you, you won't regret it.
Happy Mother's Day.
'Til next Friday,
Ciara Eloise Crosbie.
HI | Homework Interiors