Got Personality? Show It

January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

What does your room say about you? Designer Jeffery Bilhuber (House Beautiful, Feb 2016) infused a boatload of personality and let us know a few other things as well. What this room shouts to me:gallery-living-room-1

  • Forget about symmetry. Mismatched end tables are way more interesting than a set.
  • Go ahead and mix woods. We acquire furniture from our parents, we find treasures at a flea market, and sometimes pieces have sentimental value. Use them — even if they don’t “match” your decor.
  • Add your favorite color to the room. And if you don’t have a favorite, use several. If you keep the colors at the same “hue value” (lightness or darkness of a color), they mix well together.
  • Function is important. Don’t forget that you need to set your wine glass down.
  • Forget matchy-matchy. This designer has taken that declaration over the top by using two different window shade colors. Bold and impetuous design choice there, but again, the room screams,”I want to be different.” And I applaud that.
  • Let color speak in the room by creating a neutral backdrop from which the color can “pop.” Here, the light gray walls and the neutral woven rug give the eye a rest.
  • Flowers and the little accessory details finish the room. Without them the room can look cold and staged (too many, of course, and you have a clutter zone).
  • Texture matters. That sofa looks so soft. Adding warmth and texture with pillows can warm up anything, even leather.

Bottom line: You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t just follow the design trends. Let your room reflect who you are and what you love.

 

Painting Over Tradition But Maintaining the Soul

August 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

ImageMake no mistake. This is my mother’s kitchen. She painted it this bright yellow probably 60 years ago, and up until this past summer, it stayed that way.

With my mother’s passing and the rebirth of the cottage as a rental property, I decided to tone down the walls in the kitchen a bit. I considered sea foam greens, light ocean blues, and beach sand beiges, but I ended up with a light peachy cream-yellow (Windham Cream HC-6, Ben Moore) as it kept the cheerful sunny aura of the space but took some of the harshness away.

I brought the blue in with the window treatment, kept all the old furnishings like the metal paper towel dispenser and bottle opener, and the yellow tub that we all took baths in as kids. I think Mother would be pleased. And that’s important to me.

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What Makes a Great Master Bedroom?

February 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

Ahhhh… the master bedroom — a retreat, a haven, a place to get away from it all. Of course, in practical terms, the master bedroom often houses exercise equipment, an office space, baskets of laundry, and piles of unread newspapers. But what makes a great master bedroom? Here’s my take:

1. A large enough bed to house two people comfortably. Queen size is great because it’s usually big enough but not too big. To me, a king invites the whole family to sleep there including multiple pets. (‘nuf said)

2. A padded headboard. Not only is a padded headboard attractive, but also it’s functional. It sure beats wood when you’re reading in bed.

3. No footboard. Leaving off the footboard allows for more visual space in the room, and it makes the bed look like you can run and jump onto it. Inviting, welcoming, all those things.

4. Good lighting on both sides of the bed. I don’t always call for symmetry in design, but both parties need good lighting so two of the same kind seems fair to me.

5. Really comfy bedding with a cozy throw on top. You’ll be amazed at how handy a throw can be when you’re hanging out on the bed watching TV.

6. A “wallflower” TV.  If you must have one in the master bedroom, at least put it over in a corner where it is not the focal point of the room.

7. Two comfortable chairs. If you have a TV and enough space, put at least one or preferably two comfortable chairs in front of it. That way you’re not always lying in bed watching TV. (You’ll sleep better. Trust me on that one.)

8. A wall color that pleases both parties. Something soothing that does not promote controversy. You might avoid red, bright acidic yellow, and girlie pink. Just an observation.

9. Privacy. Locks on doors, shades on windows, and anything else that will shield you from the outside world. This is your haven — a place to regroup and refresh.

10. And what NOT to have. (optimally, of course) A desk, treadmill, laundry folding station, newspaper repository, and holiday decoration storage. It should not be a graveyard of unmatched socks, moldy towels, and unsorted paperwork. How practical is that? Well? These are guidelines…

Spend some time on your master bedroom. You’ll feel better in the morning.

Kitchen Cabinet Color: Move over Back Splash

January 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Kitchen cabinet color is in. From yellow to navy to this refreshing mint, cabinets and kitchen islands are getting a paint job. And it’s not just old cabinets that are being refreshed. New kitchen designs are showing painted cabinets in colors that were once reserved for bathrooms and laundry areas. And it’s a bold move because, unlike wall color, you are unlikely to re-do cabinet paint color anytime soon. Call it confidence or general optimism (or a craving for it) but cabinet color will be here to stay for some time.

If you’re a little unsure of painting all your cabinets a particular color, try painting the back of an open cabinet or the center island first. That’s what I did. And I was hooked from that point on. (My cabinets have had two color transformations since discovering color in the kitchen.)

One suggstion for choosing a paint color for your cabinets: take a look at the colors in adjoining rooms and pick a color that will pull the public areas together. A pillow color in the adjoining family room might make a terrific cabinet color in the kitchen. You are limited only by…hmmmm… nothing really. Enjoy!

Color Your Home Happy

January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

ImageWhether you live in a deluxe villa or a double-wide, you deserve a happy home. And the place to start is by adding color. Numerous studies have shown that color influences the way we feel and can even be used to describe our emotions (“I’m in a blue mood”).* But what may influence us the most is a lack of color.

The study found that people with depression associated their mood with the color gray. And you don’t have to paint your walls gray to have a gray aura in your home. Take a look around your house, in the corners and shadowed areas and particularly the ceiling. Do you see gray? Do you feel blah? Well then… time for color.

Start by painting your ceiling either a bright white or a tint of your wall color. That will either maximize the light reflection in the room (and bolster your mood) or make the room feel bigger and more open. Either way, you’ll feel better.

Next, if you’re timid about your color-selecting skills and afraid to make a mistake with the wall color, then start small. Add some colorful accessories to the room — pillows, artwork, other changeable items. Doing that will help you create a palette of colors you like without making a big investment or paying a painter to repaint two or three times.

When you’re ready to take the plunge and add color to your walls, try an accent wall first. Pick the wall that you see when you enter the room (the focal wall) and paint that a color you like. Add accents to the room in the same color to pull the room together. Keeping three walls neutral with pops of color on an accent wall and accessories here and there will help you step into the world of color without any Crayola catastrophes.

Note: There is nothing wrong with neutrals and whites in the home. To many people, neutral means calm. But if you are somebody who likes to wear color and you are drawn to color yet your home does not reflect that love of color, then it’s time to add color. That’s what I’m talking about.

*http://www.livescience.com/6084-colors-describe-happiness-depression.html

Tired Brick Fireplace Takes Cover

January 9, 2013 § 4 Comments

uglybrickSometimes the “bones” of an old house fall under the category of “What were they thinking?” You could say that about this brick fireplace with its random placement of dark bricks and the outdated brass enclosure. But not to worry. Your family room is not doomed to the styles of 1972 — you have options. One of the best ones is to paint the brick as shown in the after photo (from Southern Living Magazine’s Makeovers).

The homeowners covered the offensive brick with a flat, textured paint in the green wall color. They painted the hearth in a natural stone color. Then they added two bookshelves for a built-in look and painted them the same green. The new fireplace insert in a bronze color blends nicely. A narrower mantel and corbels painted cream pop off the green — art finishes the focal point.paintedbrick

The overall result is a fireplace wall with emphasis on everything but the original dated fireplace. When faced with old brick or other outdated hardscape in your home, consider painting it for an almost instant update without the expense of covering it or replacing it. This makeover was a huge success. No more ugly brick.

 

Making Sense of Color Trends

January 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

ImageIs anybody else’s head spinning as you look at the color trends for 2013 or is it just me?

When we look at the Benjamin Moore Color forecast, we clearly see pastels — a look refreshingly optimistic every few years after we finish huddling in our dark, cozy dens and want out. Here we see a pale yellow added tastefully to warm gray walls — a really soft, uplifting combo. (Lemon Sorbet 2019-60 is the Ben Moore paint color of the year if you haven’t already heard.)

The other color combos from Ben Moore introduce Dusty Mauve (2174-40) back into the mix (been a few years, like 30), in combination with Golden Straw (2152-50) and a soft navy (Evening Dove (2128-30). The other trends from Ben Moore show us more Coastal blues and greens (never out of fashion in my book), and more taupes and grays, a trend we have been in for a few years now. Here is a link to the Ben Moore colors and combos: http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/trends-2013

And then there’s Sherwin-Williams. Talk about something for everybody…I’ll say. I wouldn’t call this a color trend. It’s more like a smorgasbord. Image

We have the Vintage Moxie Collection, an Easter basket of colors to choose from including Radiant Lilac (SW0074) and Aloe (SW6464, the Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year).

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/vintage-moxie/

Then if you’re still in a chalky-earthy color mood, there’s the Honed Vitality Collection including all colors we’ve been using already like Unusual Gray (SW7059) and Roycroft Suede (SW2842), both terrific exterior colors. http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/honed-vitality/

Sherwin-Williams went Peter Max with its High Voltage collection — Electric Lime (SW6921) and Feverish Pink (SW6859) are colors I would reserve for a pillow or a picture frame. Maybe a front door color if you’re so inclined. Yikes! http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/high-voltage/

Finally Sherwin-Williams offers the dark, moody, masculine colors for anybody who’s left. The Olde World Gold (SW7700) and Plum Brown (SW6272) are both terrific exterior colors as are most of this Midnight Mystery collection. http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/midnight-mystery/

What Sherwin-Williams has shown us with their lack of consensus when it comes to color trends for 2013 is that we are more diverse in our color likes and personalities than ever before. Pretty much anything goes. So paint what you love. If you are caught up in color trends, then stick to whites and neutrals for your walls and add pops of trendy colors in things like pillows, accessories of all kinds, and even front door colors. Things you can switch out easily when the next hot new trend comes along because who knows what the color experts will throw at us next year.

Return of the Gilded Age, Well Not Exactly

January 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

blueLR

We have Downton Abbey, Princess Kate, and the popularity of all things English to thank for the resurgence of gold in interior design right now. At least that’s my opinion…  And what a welcome sight it is.

After too many years degilding homes of anything that even hinted of gold, brass or yellow, the hue of royalty has returned.

The new interpretation, however, is decidedly fresh as we see in this living room from Traditional Home magazine. The wall color is so subtle that it accentuates even the creamy tan stripe on the window panel and the moldings on the ceiling. The gold demilune table and classic gold-framed art above it pop. As does the Chinese porcelain, as if pulled directly from the painting. Even the floor color is perfect, establishing a solid grounding upon which to layer all those beautiful blues and wheat tones.

The look is not your grandmother’s living room, with all due respect to your grandmother. Gold is nolonger shunned from updated decor.

Welcome back, gold.

Interior designer: Joseph Minton, with Paula Lowes and Michelle M. Wade

What’s All the Buzz about Undertones?

December 28, 2012 § 5 Comments

Determining a beige color undertone (defined by color expert Maria Killam as “a colour applied under or seen through another colour”) can be tricky. Beige can have one of several undertones: pink, yellow, or green are the basics. If you have dining room furniture with a decidedly yellow/orange hue and walls with a pink undertone like Benjamin Moore’s Georgetown Pink Beige HC-56, then yikes, you have a problem. Off to the paint store.

Bottom Line: Mixing pink-beige with yellow-beige (or yellow/orange) is a big no-no. Fix: Choose a paint with a different (non-pink) undertone like Benjamin Moore’s Monroe Bisque HC-26 that has a yellow undertone and looks great with the golden oak.

goldenoakGeorgetownPinkBeige

goldenoakMonroeBisque

If you avoid the mistake of mixing pink and yellow undertones, you’re on your way to understanding them. The other nuances of what undertones to mix and not to mix will come much easier. Note: Mixing pink and yellow vibrant hues is perfectly okay. It’s just the dreaded undertones that can trip you up. Beware.

Chocolate Brown Wall Color

December 27, 2012 § 313 Comments

Everybody loves chocolate, it seems. So no big surprise that some people are choosing to paint their walls a deep rich brown that invokes the inside of a truffle. Mmmm delicious. Brown is dark. There’s no way around that. So if you’re looking for a light and airy feel, brown is not for you. But if you’re longing for a cozy, warm, relaxing room that invites people to snuggle up, brown is the perfect color.

Brown has many shades, of course, from cocoa to almost black. There are warm browns, like Benjamin Moore’s cognac snifter (1148) and taupe browns like fox hollow brown (1235).  The one ingredient to a successful brown room is light. Before you roll the first swath of paint, examine your room’s lighting. Do you have large windows giving natural light? Do you have adequate light from the ceiling (recessed cans)? Do you have enough lamps in the room? Lighting is the key to showing off the beautiful nuance of brown.

Once you paint the room, you can add light and contrast by placing light furniture in the room, whether it’s a cream-colored slipcover on your sofa, a champagne comforter on the bed, or white or cream woodwork. You’ll need the contrast to balance the dark color on the walls. And the dark wall color will highlight all your light-colored furnishings. Embrace brown.

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