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Zara Stender

Designer Profile – Zara Stender – Spring into Color – Color Secrets

Brighten your Home and Lighten Your Waistline

By Zara Stender, CID, IDS, Allied ASID

Member, Color Marketing Group

Copyrite 2003 all rights reserved

Winter’s drab skies and deep colors are behind us now. It’s time to freshen up your home for the new season. Did you know color can do more than just add a little zip to your space? It can actually affect your mood and your appetite!

Since I am a designer, naturally, my dining room features walls in several colors. My husband who sits facing the cool grey and taupe wall has started losing weight. Meanwhile, I sit facing the warm, deep reddish terracotta wall and guess what? You got it. I’ve started gaining a bit.

Zara Stender - Color Secrets

Zara Stender – Color Secrets

Warm color palettes stimulate the appetite. Red, in its many versions, is the worst offender. Have you ever noticed that you will eat more, lose track of time, and spend more money in a red plushy restaurant? Those steak houses know what they are doing.

Everyone, it seems, wants to lose a little weight in Spring and early Summer. We want to look good in that swimsuit. (When fashions show more skin, we’d like to have less skin to show!) Could it be that the cooler colors of the season actually help reduce appetite?

It is not just coincidence that this is the time of year when dieting is most successful.

Here are a few tips on how color can be a part of your diet plans.

The cooler, appetite- reducing colors are in the blue and green family. Some purple tones work, but be careful with violet. Red is one of its components. Red is used in tandem with purple regularly in marketing to stimulate appetites of all kinds. Don’t believe it? Check out Las Vegas.

Paint one wall of your dining room in a shade of blue. Find a tone that works with what you already have in your dining area. If you are the only one in your family dieting, make it the wall you sit facing at mealtime.

Use blue table settings, blue plates, glassware, and blue napkins. Mix and match with white or bone pieces you already have for a wonderfully fresh and inviting look.

Blue tablecloth. Can be from anywhere–Target, JC Penney, Neiman-Marcus, or your local thrift shop. Or make one with fabric found at your neighborhood home store. (Home fabrics are usually 54 inches wide, while dressmaker fabrics are 36 inches wide.)

Find artwork with blue and green themes to hang in the dining room and kitchen areas. Again, it can be as pricey or as economical as you like.

Even if you don’t want to shed any pounds, (the rest of us hate you), bringing blues and greens into the home will freshen the look after the winter blahs.

Here are some other ways color can compliment your life.

  1. Use gray and blue to calm your teenager and enhance their ability to study.  Paint one wall gray. Using blue accents such as blue based prints, or bed treatments against the existing lighter colored walls, will give the room a smart look without seeming too dark or intense.
  2. Younger children are less hyper in rooms that have soft blues and greens.
  3. To promote warm feelings of friendly togetherness in your family room, choose earth toned reds, terracotta, rust, orange and peach tints.
  4. Use blue in your home office to enhance your ability to concentrate.  One wall or just an accent will do the trick.

Zara Stender, CID, IDS, Allied ASID, Member, Color Marketing Group, is a Certified Interior Designer and color specialist.  She is President of the Interior Design Society, Northern California Chapter, winner of three Bay Area design awards and the author of two books on design and color.

Zara is an independent member of the California Legislative Coalition for Interior Design and she sits on the Advisory Board for the Sacramento Valley Technical High School, a privately- funded charter school, which offers interior design curriculum to high school students.  Zara is a designer for Flegel’s in Menlo Park, California.  You may reach her at

Excerpt from Designer Color Secrets, by Zara Stender  copyrite 2003 all rights reserved

About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 23 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 13 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse