you say bright, your partner says white…
living with a colorphobe


You say tomato, they say tomahto… you love vibrant, bright, exuberant color, your other half prefers all things neutral. If your live-in partner is beholden to beige and a subtle, dark khaki accent is as far they’re willing to go, but you crave chocolate and turquoise, is it time to call the whole thing off?

Nah, it’s just time to compromise a bit. Fortunately, that can be easy.

Start small – you’re not going to transform your color-averse partner into a rainbow overnight. Ease them into the idea with small bits of subtle color on a neutral background. Sure, that may mean going for muted blues and softer reds for now, but a little color is better than no color, right?

Keep it changeable – make your color accents easy to change. Things like pillows and throws, candle holders, and anything that you can easily swap out are ideal. Not only are they small pops of color, but because they’re so changeable, they don’t feel quite so permanent. They’re also easy to sort of dial back if the color starts getting overwhelming.

Try something green – we’re so used to seeing green in nature that it’s an easy hue for even the most colorphobic to accept. Try light, soft greens as accents in throw pillows or blankets. Then gradually add in other accents like a pretty recycled glass vase.

Color in disguise – soft pastels can actually appear neutral if you pair them correctly. Paint the entire room a soft color and it can come across as a neutral. Or, go the opposite and embrace the dark side. Navy doesn’t shout “color” at first glance. Darker, muted tones can seem less intimidating.

Get some wood – if your partner just won’t budge, turn to nature and embrace natural woods. Select pieces that have a strong color to their grain to sneak a little hint of color into the mix.

Pick an out of the way spot – got a guestroom your colorphobe rarely enters? Or a reading nook that’s out of the way? Dress up those spaces with brighter colors. If the room isn’t getting a lot of daily use, chances are the brighter colors will be an acceptable compromise. Want to push the limits on that one? Try painting a bold accent wall in the guest bath, if your colorphobe doesn’t like it, they can use the other bathroom.

Go floral – who can resist flowers? A big bouquet of blooms, or an arrangement of smaller blossoms in colorful vases can amp up the color without amping out the colorphobe. Plus, since they’ll whither soon, they’re temporary!

If all else fails, take it outside – if you can’t get them to budge inside the house, try going for color outdoors. Fresh air and bright colors are a natural combination, and they may be more willing to accept bright colors in the patio or deck. While you’re at it, plant a rainbow in your garden to boost the color presence.

Given time and slow introduction, it’s possible your colorphobe will transform into a color-lover, but even if they don’t, you’re armed and ready for compromise. That way, they get the comfort they want and you get the vibrancy you need.

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2 thoughts on “you say bright, your partner says white…
living with a colorphobe

  1. Pingback: » Finding the Right Color Scheme For Your House

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