decorating color choices

Embrace vibrant colors!

The fact that it's January seems to make me focus on color.  I really miss my leaves. So I scrolled through my photos and look what I found:

When you see that purple, don't you want to just fall into it?  Wouldn't you like to see some of that color every single day?

When I heard that Pantone had named Ultra Violet as their Color of the Year, I was thrilled.  The world needs more purple.  I probably wouldn't paint my walls with it, but I definitely look for this kind of purple--strong, vibrant, saturated--in accent pillows,  on throws, in art and definitely in fresh flowers.  

But maybe I would paint my walls with it.  Here's some serious inspriation:

It's the prettiest kitchen I have ever stepped into and I'll never forget it.  Those walls!  Look at how they're balanced with white, light wood finishes and sparkling natural light.  Using soft neutrals: gray, taupe, cream and white gives the eye some relief when using a showstopper color.  The eye always needs some relief, otherwise it's hard to take it in for a sustained period.  At least that's how I am.  

After the flowers in the first picture were gone, I still had a reminder because...

I painted an old frame to create a vignette with art!  That pop of purple on gray walls sure does make me happy.  That's what vibrant colors do--they make us happy.  

Then there's this:

A friend is using color to put his own stamp on a beautiful old home and the above pics show two of his rooms.  is this something you could live with?  I didn't think I could when he started painting, but now I can see they would make me incredibly happy.  And creative.  Like, all the time. The picture on the left lets you peek into an adjoining space.  The moldings in that room are painted the orange you see in marigolds and they're gorgeous with the red walls.  The guest room (pic on the right) is softer, but still unexpected.

You can get vibrant colors into any room with accessories, paint or fabrics. Whatever suits you best.

The top photo in the above group shows drapery panels in a vibrant pattern on red wall - I need to tell you about that color-happy client in another post.  I wrote about those sassy office chairs in this post and the blue chair with the cute-as-a-button orange pillow was in this post.  The gorgeous blue walls showed up in this very recent post.

Look for a favorite color that gives your brain a little jolt of happiness and put it in your house!








3 ways to decorate with black and white

Here's a quick look at how versatile,  restful AND dramatic decorating with black and white can be.  First, some favorite shades:  

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White - it rests the eye and widens the space.  My favorite white for interior moldings in a traditional space is Ben Moore's Decorators White in a high gloss finish.  More modern decors get Sherwin Williams Alabaster.  It has a hint of gray in it.  Want a tad more warmth?  Sherwin's Dover White has the slightest golden undertone.


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My favorite shades of black are among my favorite colors- period.  Use them with a matte finish and they're almost suede.  Gloss them up and they'll bring down the house (in a good way).  "Almost black" is more of a charcoal because I think a true black is harsh.  This one is fab on a kitchen table--I know, because mine is.  "Black Bean" is actually deepest, darkest brown.  Yum.  I've got an accent wall this color.  It sparkles in a sunny room.  And "Hale Navy" is a great choice because in art classes I learned that illustrators don't really use black, they use a dark navy, like this one.  It reads as black but in a much more interesting way.  Try it.  You will LOVE it.



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A black and white palette can be very soothing, as the board above shows.  The white sofa is a creamy shade, the black leather chair is sharp, but warm. And I added some glass to keep the room visually light and add some sparkle.  The rug marries warm and cool tones, that little accent table adds texture and white linen drapery panels with a black ribbon trim add intimacy and height--and they frame the view.

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Then I went darker.  Don't you just love this monochromatic look?  I put drapes made with our Links pattern in Warm Grey on the window to keep the drama going, but they also take the edge off any cold vibe that could result.  I mixed in some warm wood tones to temper the steely grays and I mixed metals--the coffee table has a brushed chrome base while the floor lamp has gold accents.


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Here I took the same dark look, but added a strong splash of color--our Vreeland panels in Dandelion. Almost any color can be added to this palette.  I coordinated the accent pillows to draw the yellow around.  Looks glamorous and pulled together!


A couple of weeks ago my favorite Duralee rep sent me a bunch of new fabrics to look over. These black and whites were in the pile:


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