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Posts Tagged ‘Color’

This creamy white (BM OC-117) is just creamy enough that it doesn’t look cold. Go bold and bathe your rooms in white on white, or add deep, rich colors for contrast. Whatever look you choose, white is definitely here to stay! Read more.

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From silver and gold to subtle shades of pink…winter colors are more than what they seem.

Color Inspiration
BM 2124-70 Distant Gray, BM 2080-60 Fruit Shake, BM 2007-40 Coral, BM 1034 Clay, BM 2160-40 Roasted Sesame Seed, BM 199 Barley, BM 2127-60 Feather Gray, BM 2124-30 Deep Silver

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Black has always been my go-to color for kitchen appliances, accent pieces, even some accessories and furnishings (I love my little black telephone table in my office.), but I’ve been thinking bigger lately. Chalkboard walls were all the rage for a time, but black walls and accent pieces are just begging to be painted in this deep, rich, mysterious shade sans chalk. Think walls, trim, bookcases, furniture, window panes, chairs… the list goes on and on.

You may think the black bar cart above gets lost against the room’s black backdrop, but look again. Reflective surfaces (the mirror, the glasses, the picture frames), bright accents (lots of brass), and a hint of color (the bottles, flowers, artwork) all contribute to keeping this display from looking flat and lifeless. As I’ve told my students many times, don’t think of black as a dark color, think of black as the night sky. It’s infinite and the possibilities are endless.

Show off collectibles against a black wall if you have bright metal or light wood bookcases.

Small rooms look beautiful in dark colors. Too keep the room from looking like a cave, pay attention to the colors on the floor and ceiling.

Black woodwork is more dramatic than brown. If you’re lucky enough to have built-in bookshelves, consider painting them black instead of white. A room with a good amount of natural light and plenty of artificial light will keep these rooms from disappearing.

Black makes colors pop. Just like white, the contrast between these bold colors and the black walls allow you to choose brighter hues. Imagine if these colors were set against white walls, they wouldn’t have nearly the same impact. (In my classroom all of my color boards are black and the students use black boards for projects.)

Color Inspiration

BM 2132-10 Black, RAL9004 Signal Black, Crown Diamond 7065-64 Black Orchid

Martha Stewart 8415 Lampblack, SW6990 Caviar

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I don’t often write a lot about staging homes here on my blog. I’ve asked myself why dozens of times and I think I realized it’s because a lot of solid design strategies just naturally work when staging a home. But then I realized maybe some of you may not realize that. So… if you read my design and decorating tips, and you’re thinking of selling your home, ask yourself what would you do differently if the room you’ve now decorated needed to be staged. Sometimes it’s just a matter of editing the room’s contents, refining the layout or floor plan, and playing with placement and color. And sometimes it’s a whole lot more.
Color has a major impact on selling a home. But what color do you choose? You want a color that highlights the architecture, wraps the room in warmth, and invites you in. These shades from Benjamin Moore are some of our favorites and should make a prospective buyer linger a while longer.
Color Inspiration
Manchester Tan HC-81, Monroe Bisque HC-26, Camoflage 2143-40, Carrington Beige HC-93, Shaker Beige HC-45, Nantucket Gray HC-111

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I confess, I can be a bit stubborn, and, sometimes, when someone says that it can’t be done, I ask “Why not?”.  To me, decorating belongs in the Land of “Why not’s?” – a place where rules are simply things that other people made up.

Don’t get me wrong, when I started out on my decorating  journey, I also followed the guidelines about what I should (and shouldn’t do). Because, that’s what you do when you don’t know. I put up flowery curtains, painted all of my rooms cream, and bought a platter that said “Turkey” on it. (For my first Thanksgiving dinner, of course. I wouldn’t have dreamed of serving turkey, unless I had the appropriate platter to put it on).

Fortunately, after a while, we all decide that we really do (or do not) like flowery curtains, and we start to sift through our own style. We may, or may not, keep the Turkey platter, and we decide to paint the walls a darker shade of cream. We watch design shows, and pour over paint samples, but now and again we hesitate, and we wonder if what we want to do is really okay. Here is a list of some design things that really are okay (despite what you may have heard).

  • Hang artwork at whatever height you like, wherever you want to. (And, use the smallest, most effective hook you can. Art weighs a heck of a lot less than you think).
  • Go ahead, use dark paint in a small room, and add big furniture (but less of it). Makes it cozy and dramatic at the same time.
  • When buying/remodelling a home, consider whether or not you want a formal Dining Room. Many people don’t use it, and it can become a clutter collector. Don’t have one “just because”.
  • Not every room has to have a “pop of color”. Really. There are lots of neutral rooms that are truly beautiful.
  • It’s okay, put a bed in front of your window if you want to.
  • Give the Master Bedroom to your children, or use it as an office space. Do you really need a gigantic bedroom?

As you can see, the point is that design rules are just guidelines to get you started, or, as the late, great Katherine Hepburn said  “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!”

Wendy E. Wrzos  

Gorgeous bedroom from Bungalow at Home

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Okay all you naysayers… listen up. Give orange a chance. And not just because it’s October. Forget pumpkin orange (although, I rather like pumpkin orange). Try these oranges on for size and read on to find out what this hue can do for you.

Color Inspiration
BM126 Pumpkin Spice, RAL2011 Deep Orange, SW6886 Invigorate, Behr250B-7 Crushed Orange

Orange is the color of creative energy. It lifts the spirits and stimulates touch, taste, and smell. Closely related to red, orange sparks more controversy than any other hue. There is usually a strong or negative association to the color orange—most people either love it or hate it. But… orange is fun and flamboyant, it radiates warmth and energy. Orange can be both warm and comforting, but it’s also an active color so be careful of the shade you choose.

While orange and black are traditional Halloween colors, orange really pops with a medium blue (a classic complementary color scheme). Red, yellow, and orange in the same space can be a fiery combination. In more tamer shades, orange looks fresh just about anywhere you place it. Go tropical and pair it with green, but be careful if you want to mix orange and pink, you mind end up with a room reminiscent of a 60s psychedelic look. Try a dash of orange with deep purple or a dash of purple with a bit of orange tempered by lots of mellow yellow or white for an eye-catching look that’s not overpowering.

Colors make us feel. Orange…

  • Stimulates activity
  • Stimulates appetite and emotions
  • Encourages socialization
  • Makes you feel bolder
  • Allows you to gain clarity and let go of unexpected expectation

Don’t forget to check out all of my color posts and look for even more orange shades to inspire you.

Kim Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

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“Have you heard of Juju hats? I must have one for my house! You must blog about them!”, a friend wrote to me earlier this week. Of course, I googled them, not knowing what they were, but presuming they weren’t some type of archaic medicinal type of voodoo device, that was worn on the head to scare away the bad guys. 

Up popped these wonderfully whimsical, feathery concoctions hanging on beautiful, large walls. I knew why she loved them. After seeing the price (originally handmade in Cameroon), we instantly started wondering if we could make our own, what color we would use and where we would put them. Eternally optimistic, we added it to our wish list.

Later that night, I was flicking through a magazine, when I came across an entire line of accessories made from Shagreen. Again, I hadn’t heard of this. Apparently, years ago, the skins of sharks and stingrays were used to make cigarette holders and the like, giving an exotic appeal to something quite ordinary. Now, it is being reinvented in a kind of faux way (with the assurance that they are no longer being made from real shark or stingray).  A strange, pebbly texture, it seems a bit like suede, and is now being used for all sorts of things, but mainly decorative items like picture frames and vases. 

Not sure if the Juju and Shagreen will be a long-lasting trend, but the point is to suggest something new; they make us stop and think, pass them by, or fall in love with them. It’s up to us.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Gorgeous, gerbera type Juju hat picture from the Brown Button blog (who, in 2010, was further ahead of the trend than I was).

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The "after" photograph

Last week I hated my Living Room. Truly hated it. When I looked at it, all I saw was a sea of brown, surrounded by some brightly colored artwork that just seemed to show up the dull “brown-ness”. I had become my own worst client, I couldn’t see past the ugly.

My Living Room has a big, picture window at the front. Most things fade quite quickly; I have the curtains drawn, widely, and I like to have as much light as possible in my home. As a result, everything fades and the fabrics erode quite quickly from the sun (rather odd when you remember that I live in New Jersey, not exactly the sunshine capital of the world).

The furniture had faded over the last year, and as I re-decorated the room for Spring, I took out most of the plants and colorful blankets that had been the accessories for the last few months. I guess, in my haste to remove the Winter, the room was left feeling colorless and boring, lacking in life. The life and color now being outside, instead of inside.

In my head, it became the worst Living Room that anyone had ever seen. A vintage (old?) golden, brown sofa, an old (vintage?)  brown chair, an old, collapsible oak table and a vintage (genuinely old), standing radio sitting alongside a nicely rusted, generously sized, wrought iron chair from outside.  The entire combination had morphed into a 1940’s sitcom, with all the good bits taken out.

As I panicked in my brown-ness, I mentally scanned my house for replacement pieces of furniture. There were none I could use. There was no hope, I decided I MUST drive to the store right that very second before I was swallowed up by the awfulness of it all.

I drove to the store, really fast (but not over the speed limit) and I found a purple sofa and a lovely, oversized slipper chair with an exaggerated pattern of zinnias bursting with orange and dark green….perfect (!?) I looked at the furniture as I took out my credit card, and I walked out of the store.

A cafe mocha, no whipped cream, and a half hour later reality hit. I was calm as I made the list of what I wanted, needed and didn’t want in my Living Room. With list in hand, I went home and began to empty the room. The old, brown chair was the first to go….

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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It’s two weeks before Christmas and we are starting to get our freezing cold, windy, nasty weather. The type of days that make you just want to hide under the covers with a book and an endless supply of hot chocolate. It’s so cold that the dog just looks at me when I open the door. He backs away from me, wagging his tail; determined to please, but positive that there is nothing outside that really needs his attention. He waits until I am not looking before he jumps onto the blanket-laden sofa. It is the perfect place for him; he looks at the Christmas tree, trying to decide which gingerbread cookie he will steal next as he lazily watches the world go by.

The blanket he sleeps on is old. Knitted by an Auntie many years ago, it is heavy and warm, the colors bright and clashing. It is a Winter blanket. Living in a house that is about as insulated as a paper lantern, I have begun to realize that when the days turn colder I need to adjust my house as well as my wardrobe. It seems so obvious, but we respond differently to textures and color depending on the weather and the circumstances. I truly believe, for me, that I need to surround myself with warm, rich colors (and textures) to make myself feel warmer! A pale blue, cotton blanket, while wonderful in the Summer, will often feel (and look) cold in the Winter, whereas a dark blue, wool blanket will bring me warmth and comfort on an icy afternoon when the sun goes down.

My love/hate relationship with Winter is always better when I accept these changes, when I put on the woolly sweaters and fill my home with strong, deep shades. Cool-colored throws are hidden away until the Spring, and I add lots of plaid and homemade blankets wherever I can. Uncoordinated as they may seem, this is exactly what brings them together; they are bold and imperfect, they are meant to be curled up on (or under). Be indulgent in your design ideas, think cozy and organic, with a dash of whimsy. Wrap a pillow in an old fluffy sweater. Use a gigantic glass bowl to hold your gloves and scarves, or an assortment of twigs and pine cones that you found somewhere outside (or in the supermarket!). 

More than any other season, Winter is about spending time in our homes, so why not have some fun and decorate it with things that make you want to curl up and stay…..

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/                       With thanks to House Beautiful UK, for the photograph.

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I have always shied away from animal prints; the thought of imitating an animal instantly took me to a place in my head with bearskin rugs and a stuffed moose above the fireplace. But, recent changes in design have proven me wrong.
Because decorating our home has become more of an art form, we are far more adventurous with our accessories, which in turn has made us demand a higher level of sophistication from the things that we choose. Style has evolved, and the animal print has now become an unexpected neutral in the current world of design.
Gone are the days when it was a cheap accessory; it can mix and mingle with the best of them, livening up rooms that may have become a little too quiet over the years. It’s whimsical personality and organic feel combine perfectly to bring interest to any spot that needs a little something extra.
No longer just for safari’s or a teenage girl’s room, a small, giraffe print or a bold zebra rug is guaranteed to make you smile when you enter the room!
Thanks to West Elm and House Beautiful for the photographs.

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