I am intrigued by a new home trend I learned about in a recent article from Martha Stewart and her eponymous magazine. It is called Color Drenching and it is just as it sounds: You paint every surface —walls, ceiling, baseboards, trim, doors— with one single color. Drenching or “soaking” your room in one shade instantly adds depth, dimension, and visual interest.

This trend is a great counterpoint to the creamy white walls, toasty taupes, and organic greige tones that have permeated our homes forever. And while these earthy palettes aren't going anywhere soon, color drenching is looking beyond neutral hues and embracing unapologetic saturation instead, which speaks to my maximalist heart like nothing else.

Despite what the name implies, color drenching does not have to be a loud or vibrant color. You can opt for a hue that's inky and rich—think jewel tones like emerald, saphire, or ruby—or you can try a color with a bit less punch, such as pale blue or buttery yellow. Whichever direction you take, the result is an almost immersive space that packs plenty of wow. 

Want to give color drenching a try? Here are a few tips to give you confidence to take that “plunge” and “douse” your space in your favorite hue.

Pick a Room That Needs Personality 

Sure, you can go big or go home by tackling a living room, bedroom, or kitchen, but sometimes starting smaller is better. Color drenching a typically overlooked room, such as a laundry room, home office, powder room, or playroom. This way you can dip your toe in the water, so to speak, and no I won’t stop with the water puns. But color drenching a smaller or lesser used room is an excellent way to have fun with this trend without overcommitting, and to give a mundane utilitarian room some zip. 

Test Your Color

Raise your hand if you have ever thrown caution to the wind and painted a room or even just a wall without doing a test patch. I know I have. This has turned out with varying degrees of success. 

You do not want to take that chance with color drenching. 

Narrow down your selections to a top few and test them by painting larger patches that you normally would. And make sure you paint these test patches where you can see them in different light at different times of the day. If you do not want to paint multiple testers, some places offer peel and stick swatches, which you can easily move around and apply to different walls. Either way allows you to visualize how the shade translates across various lighting conditions. Lastly, be sure and live with the swatches for a few days.  By testing the color in different shades of light, you get a true feel of the color in your home and can be more confident in your decision. 

Wade In Slowly

See, I told you I wasn’t done.

This trend isn't for the faint of heart, so if you're feeling a bit intimidated, starting small is another great way to dip into the color-drenched waters. 

Start by incorporating the same bold hue in a few key spots around the room. Paint just an accent wall with your chosen color. Don’t forget to include the trim, molding, and door. Add a window treatment or throw-pillow in the same hue to start the layering process. Then, if you are happy with your color selection, you can drench the rest of the room.  

Play With Different Shades of the Same Color 

You can go a few different routes when it comes to color drenching. One option is to use the same color throughout the space, including the floors, ceiling, trim, and even furniture. This has a beautiful and surprisingly soothing effect. Another approach is to incorporate different shades within the same color family, for a rich, layered look. 

If you go this route, try to follow the 60-30-10 Rule: Paint 60 percent of the room the dominant color, 30 percent the secondary color, and then 10 percent a contrasting accent color. This provides a sense of balance and contrast.

Experiment With Paint Finishes 

If you do choose the same color for the entire room, consider playing with paint finishes to create more depth and dimension. Paint cabinets, doors, crown molding, and baseboards in a satin or semi gloss finish and the walls in a flat finish. Light reflects off of glossier finishes and gives the room depth.  Add a lacquered piece of furniture in the same hue to kick up the gloss factor a notch.

To further enhance the monochromatic effect, choose furniture and décor in the same tone or color family as your chosen paint. The natural texture these pieces lend will create more dimension, as well.

Avoid Too Many Patterns 

The point of color drenching is to make a single color, or color family, the star of the space. By definition, this trend is bold. Because of that it is best to simplify everything else in the room and avoid busy and/or contrasting patterns. Color drenching works best without a lot of prints to break up the sea of color. To keep the space relaxed, resist the urge to pile a sofa with patterned pillows or use drapes with embellishments. 

Home trends are, well, trending towards more contemporary, maximalist aesthetics, and color drenching falls right in line with this trajectory. After years of minimalist design dominating the landscape, people are craving personality and energy in their homes and want to experience more stimulating environments. There's a certain vibrancy and playfulness that color drenching brings to a space, instantly injecting a room with character.

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