decorating ideas

My very favorite blue and white paint colors!

My very favorite blue and white paint colors!

I know there are too many choices when you’re looking for just the right paint color. I’ll make it easy for you by sharing the blue shades and white shades that I use over and over again.

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!








How To Decorate With Vintage

How to decorate with vintage

Many people would love to decorate with vintage furniture, but they just aren't sure about the end result.  Will it look ratty and dated or unique and inspiring?  I love to haunt consignment shops for special vintage pieces to create awesome spaces and have to say that decorating with vintage can sometimes be easier than with new stuff.  Let me show you how to do it.

How to decorate with vintage: Tip #1 - start with the big piece.

In a Family Room or Living Room, that would be the sofa. Here's a great choice:

how to decorate with vintage

You could use a vintage sofa, but they're hard to find.  This blue color works so well with vintage pieces and the neutral style is extremely versatile.

How to decorate with vintage: Tip #2 - select vintage pieces that you love...

even if you're afraid they're weird or funky.  Be brave dear heart.

How to decorate with vintage furniture

I found these mushroom footstools and rug at a local consignment shop and fell in love.  They are weird, funky and stopped me in my tracks--all signs pointing to the right purchase!  Thrift and consignment are great sources for vintage furnishings.  Stop by often to scoop up the good stuff.

How to decorate with vintage, Tip #3 - don't overwhelm.

With a colorful sofa, those fab footstools and the rug, you now can easily fill in with an end table, lamp and colorful chair.   But I have a little saying to share with you:

DeCocco Design, interior design services

Not everyone will agree, but I feel that a room full of fabulosity can get loud and visually messy real quick.  I want special things to stand out, and for the room to have an easy vibe.  That's my signature style as a designer - ease, as in comfortable.  YOU are the rock star in your room, not the stuff.  You sparkle more brightly when surrounded by things you love, but ALL the things you love don't need to be packed into every room.  Let's spread them out.

how to decorate with vintage

Above is a concept board I made to show you everything pulled together.  The sofa is from Klaussner's, the end table and lamp from West Elm and the leather chair from Arhaus. The centerpiece of the room is those mushroom footstools and the groovy rug, found at a local consignment shop.

Do you need some help pulling together a room?  Call me for a 2 hour design consultation today and I'll show you how to decorate with vintage furniture in your own home!




Behind the scenes - getting portfolio pictures!


Getting portfolio pictures is an important part of my design business.  I thought it would be fun to give you a quick behind the scenes look at how I get them.

Portfolio Pictures Before

Long before I get those portfolio pictures, we start with a problem room.  I listen to the issues, create a plan and then implement it.  There - I just summed up months and months of work!

Here's where we go behind the scenes: the camera sees things very differently than the human eye, so I have to do some staging.  This means that a few days before the photo shoot, I'm in a couple of stores, finding lamps, artwork, etc. - whatever I need to show up well in the photos or fill in a few empty spots.  The client often buys some of these pieces, but the rest I bring back.

Portfolio Picture Prep

Here's a real behind the scenes shot--ugh.  The morning  of the photo shoot I pack up the car and head out!  I'm hot and tired just looking at this picture.

behind the scenes, Chapel Hill interior designer

I spend an hour or so staging the rooms before Marilyn Peryer of Style House Photography arrives.  She often has a couple of staging ideas of her own and changes what I've done!  I know interior design, but she knows photography.  Marilyn spent about 2 hours in this house, getting all kinds of shots for me.

interior design raleigh durham chapel hill

Here's a corner of the room.

portfolio pictures, family room Bassett furniture seating

A closer shot.

Behind the scenes portfolio pictures wool accent rug

A detail shot.  I love details!

portfolio pictures C table

A custom C table, built by Metal Fred, here in North Carolina.  It's forged steel and barnboard.  Perfect!

portfolio pictures window treatments, lighting

And a pretty chest and lamp. Love the mix of pattern right there, thank you very much.   I'm not sure I like that wild fern in the background, but there it is.

design portfolio raleigh

Marilyn is standing in the Kitchen, looking toward the Family Room in this one.  She took a lot of great Kitchen pictures, too.  You can always go to my Houzz page to see more photos.  Here's the Kitchen link and here's the Family Room link.  I keep a lot of portfolio pictures in my Projects folders.

One more behind the scenes tidbit:  while the photographer is doing her thing with a serious camera, I'm roaming around taking pictures with my iPhone, usually focusing on other things.

portfolio pictures, family room design

Like the flowers.

behind the scenes, cat, interior designer chapel hill

And the cats.  Here's one.

cat, behind the scenes, portfolio pictures

And the other!  They were both supervising us every step of the way.

While I do a couple of full service design projects every year, my specialty is offering 2 hour interior design consultations.  If you like to do your own decorating, but need some help getting results like these, I can tell you how to do it in a 2 hour consult!  Shoot me a note ( to schedule yours today.



Working From A Home Office

The home office is a fab thing.

Mine is big, with great windows and loaded with what I need to do my job.  But guess where my favorite desk is?

working from a home office

At the kitchen counter!  It's my version of a standing desk. When I get tired of standing, I move to the kitchen table.  Files aren't nearby, but  I can easily climb the back stairs to the "real" office (which I do many times during the day)-and that gives the added bonus of a little exercise.

Plus, I'm near the snacks.  It works for me!



Bedrooms: 4 Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

Bedrooms, 4 ideas your kids will love
Bedrooms, 4 ideas your kids will love

Kids love their bedrooms.  They can escape from the world of grown-ups and hunker down with their "stuff."  Give them an awesome space that they'll love spending time in and won't grow out of quickly.  Here are 4 great bedroom ideas that your kids will love!

Great Bedroom Idea For Kids #1

Always my favorite: a chalk board wall - it can be the entire wall, a part of a wall or a flat, hollow core lauan door.   We put the chalk board on a small wall in this playroom and had the carpenter frame it out so it looked finished.

Tip - read the ingredients on the box of chalk.  Don't buy chalk that has wax in it (lots of the bright colors contain wax).  Wax sticks to the chalkboard--like forever.   Look for plain ol' chalk.

Great Bedroom Idea For Kids #2



Pick a great color for the walls--if they're old enough, let them choose.   9 times out of 10 they're going to choose colors that are brighter than you would choose.  Let kids be kids. Their bedrooms do not need to be younger versions of yours.  Paint the ceiling another color, in a pale hue.  Really.  Kids don't need white ceilings.

Tip - if your ceilings are smooth, use a satin or semi-gloss finish instead of the usual flat.  It gives a soft glow and looks great.

Great Bedroom Idea For Kids #3

A second bed.  Kids do not usually need big beds, but they do need to have plenty of sleepovers.  A bunk-bed,  trundle or 2 twin beds will do the trick and will make YOUR life easier when company comes.  If space is tight, push one of the twins against the wall and prop lots of pillows across the back--now you're all set for pillow fights too!  If you can fit a comfy chair in the room as well, please do.  Glider/rockers are my personal choice.  They're loved by everyone from sleepy babies to angry teenagers.

Tip - use fluffy pillows on both beds and replace them when they get flat or lumpy.  They don't need to be expensive.  And put the pillows inside zippered pillow covers and then in cotton pillow cases.  Let's keep those old school--and hygenic--touches alive.

Great Bedroom Idea For Kids #4

Curtains.  My experiences in all kinds of homes has been that kids love to have curtains.  I know, it's a little surprising.  If they can close them, the bonus is "atmosphere" (how better to see those glow sticks, stars on the ceiling or black light posters?) and it makes the room feel special.

Tip -  Hang them high and get them wide enough to shut over the window. You might need 2 panels on each side if you buy ready-made.  Buy decent rods that won't bend over time.

A big Thank You to my friend, designer Sara Veety of Clover Hill Interiors, for letting me use her photo of those super cute twin beds in a room of her design!

Do you want more ideas to decorate your angel's bedroom?  I can map it out for you in a 2 hour interior design consultation if you live in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area here in North Carolina.  Call me today!