Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a neutral-colored world.
In the mornings, I leave my white house, drive my black car to work, walk into a beige building and up to the beige newsroom. I then sit down in my beige cubicle -- after taking off my brown coat -- and get to work. Yawn.
For a time, my house was no better. When I moved in, the walls were all flat builder paint -- the kind that rubbed off if you even looked at it wrong, much less tried to clean up sticky fingerprints. As the years went on, the color palette in my main living areas slowly evolved. I went from white to almond white -- I know, how edgy -- and then threw caution to the wind and upgraded to pumpkin butter, with a maroon accent wall. I was so pleased with myself, and I was so five years behind the time.
When it came time to paint the basement, I chose -- you guessed it -- a neutral palette. The walls were various shades of beige, and the bathroom was a drab green. I painted my daughter's room pale pink -- she insisted it wasn't pink; it was that pale. Shockingly bright walls were deemed inappropriate. But that was then, and this is now.
Not all that long ago, it dawned on me that beige was the story of my life. I needed to inject some pops of color, both literally and figuratively, or I would become as boring as my neutral-colored house. Times were about to change.
No one is benefiting more from this change in mind-set than my teenage daughters, especially as we embark on a basement "refreshening" project. Over the weekend, the bathroom went from drab green to a bright "Jamaican sea" -- selected with the help of my artistic daughter -- and it looks awesome. This weekend, the beige walls will begin their transformation, and there's not one neutral color in the running.
The transformations aren't limited to walls, either. I'm starting to be more liberal with my choices of accessories, and even my closet has seen a boost in color. (Sadly, it, too, was the victim of neutrality.) Textures and patterns now have a place in my life. It's almost liberating.
The artistic daughter recently asked if she could paint a mural in her room. Sure, I said. She was stunned. Not long ago, my older daughter wanted three paint colors in her room -- lime green, teal and brown. Why not? She did it, and it looks great. If they're willing to take risks -- and help with the work -- why shouldn't I?
HOMEGIRL NICOLE HVIDSTEN