An E-Book to Give You Some Color Inspiration
To Learn Some of My Instant Color Updates, Get Your Free EBOOK...Click Here
To Learn Some of My Instant Color Updates, Get Your Free EBOOK...Click Here
I was coming back from a decorative painting job out in the Hamptons and I came across this wonderful old antique shop named Lloyds in Eastport, New York. I had passed this store many times before and finally – I had a little bit of time to go in and take a look. The store is a lot larger than it appears from the outside – and there are two large floors full of antiques. Just what I needed – a ton of stuff to choose from! Anyway, I fell in love with a couple of things that I just had to pick them up (I only had about 20 minutes to peruse because I had another appointment to go to). Continue reading
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I have received a few questions about how I go about doing a color consultation for my clients. Instead of answering separately, I thought it best to do a blogpost about it…so here goes!
Q: I am having trouble picking some colors for the first floor of my home. Can you tell me how I should prepare for a color consult with you and what should I expect – what’s your process?
Hi – this is a great question. I do things a little differently than some color consultants, so I am glad to tell you a little about my process.
First we’ll start with how you can prepare for it. I will have a phone conversation with you before I come over. I want to know which rooms you are having the most trouble with and I ask you why you think you are finding them difficult. I then ask questions like these… Continue reading
I have always been a fan of this color – whether a more or less intense or more red or violet versions. Color experts say it’s an artistic color (I would agree!) and that it symbolizes innovation, creativity and originality. Yup – in total agreement. This girl loved it so much that she dyed her communion dress orchid! A few days after the ceremony, I had my mother buy some Rit Dye to make a beautiful princess dress in that color. I was in color heaven!
What I don’t agree on is some of the statements I see in many articles on how to use it. I read today a comment from an expert who said to just use it in small doses – like adding toss pillows in the color. That’s fine if you have a mostly neutral room with a white or off white sofa or perhaps taupe walls with a chocolate sofa…but there are many instances that this toss pillow idea just won’t work! The colors in your room have to blend, at least, with this very brilliant hue.
Here are some great ways to use this color in interior design…
It works in small doses – with grays and other neutrals. Above, Holly Kidwell used it to punch up the color in this lovely bedroom.
Designer Jamie Drake used varying shades and tints of the color in this vibrant living room. Notice how he used the color to have your eye flow from one spot to another in the room.
It works as an accent color. Here’s Jamie Drake again using it in a closet – a very elegant closet.
Designer Wendi Young used a slightly more violet version of the color in this lovely living room. I love the walls – a dusty pink faux finish. The mix of golds and creams and the punch of deep purple in the accessories works beautifully.
Anna Antunes shows us how just a few touches of radiant orchid can take a neutral room from nice to beautiful.
You’d like to be more bold with the color but you don’t want the commitment on your walls? Look for a beautiful piece of art that contains the color of the year!
If you want to be more daring, think about using it as a wall color. Here designer and color expert, Lisa Teague, uses it in her home office. A creative person can really benefit from a big dose of this inspiring color. On your bedroom walls – maybe not. You might have trouble sleeping. But in a space you use to dream up ideas and designs – for sure! I love the hue with those bright touches of orange – so vibrant.
You see, no shy violet here. Lisa practices what she preaches – in a sweater that’s a more violet version of Radiant Orchid!
I still wear the color (mostly since I became a blonde – it seems to go with my hair color and complexion). Since I have a fair complexion and my hair is blonde – so hardly any contrast going on – a soft version of the color suits me the best.
Here I am wearing a light tint of the color. I wore this sweater a lot – until my husband put it in the dryer and shrunk it! It has been nearly impossible to find this color anywhere in the stores. Now – I guess it will become easier. What I love about it is that it is a warmer color – not cool as in a totally lilac hue. Once I wore the sweater to a cocktail reception in Floral Park NY for Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio. She came up to me and told me it was the perfect color for my complexion. Thanks Melanie…I agree!
You all know how much I love color…especially on walls. I don’t have any white walls in my home but that doesn’t mean I hate white – I just hate it when white walls fail…because then the room fails. The room fails because most people either put a cacophony of color in the room to make up for the lack of color on the walls…or they don’t use any color or textures or patterns to make the room live and breathe. Or…they don’t choose the right white for their room. White can be tricky. Click here to read my first post on choosing white.
Everything in the above room, designed by Margaret Bosbyshell and Clary Bosbyshell Froeba, was done beautifully. Every element in the room conspires together to make white the star of the show. The textural, geometric trellised walls and ceiling, the unique architecture and moldings, the black bar and the other black accents, the white marble floors, the mirrors, the chandelier – all foster the color choice of this space.
A totally white room can be deathly sterile in the wrong hands. And there are a lot of “wrong hands” out there. So, if you really want white walls and nothing else will do…here is what you need to know about white and what you have to have to go with your white walls.
So – what’s the real problem with white? White is really a whole panoply of colors. Black is the absence of color and white reflects all colors. Depending on how white is used – how much or little light in a room…what type of sun exposure…and what is placed near the white wall (flooring, furniture etc), white can exhibit different effects. An oak floor near a sunny window will reflect a warm honey tone on the wall. A white wall in a northern exposure can look a bit purplish in the late afternoon. In addition, cool whites can have purple, gray, blue or green undertones. Warmer whites will have yellow, beige or peach undertones. I always recommend to my readers that they roll on their chosen paints on a large sample board – and tack them up vertically on the wall and see how they look in the morning, afternoon and nighttime.
Once you have chosen the right white for your room, don’t forget these other elements to make your room memorable instead of forgettable.
When you add textures, whether on the wall or in your accessories, your white room will start to come together. In the above room in photographer Amy Neunsinger’s home, workers were chipping away at old tiles and revealed an old concrete wall. It looked perfect – so it stayed. It made the room so much more interesting.
Don’t have a beautiful textured wall? Think about adding nubby, tactile throws, linens, wools, seagrass, antiqued furniture – these items will stand out and give depth to an all white room.
Color in a white room can make people even forget or ignore that your walls are white! The designer, Tobi Fairley, uses color so well that she is known for her “colorful” rooms, even when the walls are white or neutral. That’s the mark of great design. The two spaces above show that the blues and greens in these rooms are the lead actors…and the walls play supporting roles. Use her rooms as inspiration for your own spaces.
Beamed or coffered ceilings, built-ins, decorative crown and base moldings, columns, wainscoting, clapboard paneling, substantial mantels – these architectural features in a white room will really make the room spectacular. Above, designer Myra Hoefer, used Benjamin Moore’s Winter White on the beams, columns and moldings to give a sculptural effect to the rooms. Otherwise the architecture would have been too busy and it would have downplayed the serene quality of the rooms.
If your room is large and tall – but you still want to use whites and off whites in your room, consider adding a coffered ceiling and painting it. It helps to bring down the size of the room – making it a cozier space. In the above photo, notice how the walls etc are off white but the limestone mantel is white. Just that subtle difference allows this feature to stand out.
Since white will pop anything placed against it, make sure your art is worth that pop! The mistake people make is placing unremarkable artwork on the walls. Make it count! The above photos of the dining room/library of Christine d’Ornano, who oversees the British operations of her family’s cosmetics firm, Sisley, displays the use of art beautifully. The art informs the color scheme for the room – mostly blue and yellow. Those blue upholstered doors are to die for, aren’t they? But they also serve as a hint as to what’s behind them.
Don’t go for “basic” or neutral art pieces – go for the wow factor. Let the colors in the art inspire you to bring in a few other colors (not too many…just two, three…maybe four max).
Let me know how you have decorated with white. Share with others in the comments below!
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