Monday, July 8, 2013

Working with What You've Got

Many of us have something in our home we very much dislike. For me, one of these things is the color of the tiles in our bathroom. I would absolutely prefer white subway tiles if I were re-doing the space, but alas, we have the popular early '80's color choice of mint and black tiles.

It could be worse -- another popular color scheme at the time was pink and black, with which my first apartment in New York City was adorned. My childhood bathroom has yellow tiles, which I have grown to like, but distinctly remember my mother complaining about when I was young. Complaints or not, however, those yellow tiles still stand, because it would be a very un-Frugal-Yankee project to replace perfectly good tiles.

In general, I believe it is a good idea to live with these types of past decorating choices. That's not to say that it is never a good idea to replace them; it can increase the value of one's home. But to spend money simply because decorations are not up to date is pretty low on my list, and this is a very Yankee  Prep way of thinking -- there are a thousand better uses for that money than to spend it on redecorating something that is dated. As long as it functions, why toss money at it?

So once one has made the choice to live with a terrible color choice in the bathroom, what is the best way to do so? I've found that trying to counter the color never works as well as just going with it. Since the colors we live with are mint, black, and white, we use accessories to pick up the black and the white, which helps downplay the minty color of which we are not fond, as much as possible.

But the mint cannot be ignored completely, or this strategy will only backfire and draw more attention to the offensive color. Of course, one does not want to add more of the objectionable color, so using colors in the same color family is the best way to work with it. Artwork helps here, as it can contain enough colors to work in the space without adding too much of the color one wishes to downplay as much as possible. The artwork in our bathroom picks up on the mint, but only by being in the same color family, so that we do not add additional minty-ness.

Nothing is going to make the mint unnoticeable, but these things do help make it slightly more tolerable, as does reminding oneself that the space is a monument to the many better uses of money...

And a sprig of flowers never hurts either.

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