Saturday, May 31, 2014


Choose a Color Scheme

The bright pink, magenta and yellow-green color theme of this modern living room adds a touch of drama. Design by Grace Sielaff.

Trying to decide on the right color scheme for a room or an entire home can be difficult. You can simplify the process by using your color wheel and narrowing down your choices to two color schemes. There are more, of course, but these are the most effective and provide a great place to start.


Don't Forget the Black

Tall bookcases in a sleek black display a unique collection of pottery in this transitional bedroom. Design by Kenneth Brown.

This is an old adage in interior design. By adding a black element — say, a black box, lampshade, picture frame or other accent — you clarify and enhance all the other colors in the space. Try it — it really works!


Follow Nature's Lead

Need color inspiration? Look outside. Design by Gina Fitzsimmons.

Most people err, not with color, but with value. Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color. Often you'll see a space that is not balanced in terms of value: one side of the room is too dark (therefore, "weighty" or "heavy") versus the other side, which is light in value and tends to "float away" visually. Try designing your interior space by replicating the color values of the outside world. After all, interior designs are basically our attempt to imitate Mother Nature, who is a great colorist!

Choose darker values of color for the floor (ground), medium values of color for the walls (trees and mountains) and light values of color for the ceiling (sky). If you divide your colors by value from dark to light as you decorate "vertically" in the room, you’ll get an interior design that looks good every time.



Pull From the Pattern

Pick your color scheme from the largest pattern featured in the room. This bedroom uses the colors of the duvet throughout the space. Design by Erinn Valencich.

To help you choose a color scheme, look at the colors in the largest pattern in the room first, be it drapery, upholstery fabric, an Oriental rug or a large artwork. Then choose colors based upon that piece. This is much easier (and less expensive) than painting the walls a particular color and finding that absolutely nothing else on the planet, let alone in your room, will match it. In other words, if your favorite piece of art is red, black and gray, you can choose the gray to be 60 percent, the red to be 30 percent and the black to be the 10 percent — or the red could be the dominant color with the gray and black taking secondary and accent roles.


Flow the Color

Create flow throughout your home with color. Design by Troy Beasley.

In order to create a flow of colors from one room to another, simply choose a color you're using in one room and restate it in a different way in an adjoining space. For example, if your sofa is green, use the same green for seat fabric in the dining room.Use the color in larger or smaller degrees as you move about the home. That same green from the living room sofa mentioned above can also translate as, say, lampshades in the family room or place mats in the kitchen.




Consider Contrast

A high-contrast space appears clearer and more highly defined than a space that incorporates low contrasts. Design by Erinn Valencich.

A high-contrast space (a room that uses light and dark values of colors in combination — for example, deep burgundy with light gold) appears clearer and more highly defined than a space that incorporates low contrasts (say, saffron yellow with sage green). So think about using high contrast to enhance the formality of a room and low contrast to introduce soothing qualities.


Get Emotional With Color

This living room shows an updated casual takeoff of a shabby chic style. Softs blues and whites create a romantic atmosphere. Design by Suzanne Schmidt.

We all associate colors with what they represent. In our minds, red may represent fire, blue the air and sea, yellow the sun, and brown and green often represent trees. These are generally considered to be emotional responses to color as opposed to intellectual responses. Use these emotional associations to their greatest effect in a space by deciding on what emotional impact you want the room to have. Would you like it to be lively? Choose reds and yellows. If you prefer subdued, try blues and browns.



Think About Local and Seasonal Color

Seasonal color variations are another way to choose colors. Spring colors, like pink and light green, add a fresh, uplifting look to a room. Design by Sue Adams.

By studying color schemes from the past — Victorian, arts and crafts or, perhaps, 18th century, for example — you can build a room's colors quite simply by incorporating these already-accepted color schemes. By using colors from your locale, be it the Southwest or New England, you easily can choose colors that reflect the area in which you live.



Live With Color Before You Buy

You can always try before you buy. Get samples and leave them in a room for a few days so you can see them in different lights. Design by Douglas Dolezal.

When shopping for upholstery fabric, furniture finishes, window treatments or rugs, always ask for a sample to take home to see in the space you are decorating. Then leave it in the room for a couple of days and see what the color looks like in the different kinds of lighting used in that space. Pay careful attention to how the samples look during the times when the room will be used the most.
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Mood Lighting with Shells

You can use oversize shells to bring a touch of the seashore -- and a bit of romantic atmosphere -- to an evening at home.

Pacific Rim-Inspired Room

A plywood wall panel that incorporates a foldout table and bench turns even the tiny terrace of a hillside house into a garden room.


Cot Conversion

Turn a camp cot into an elegant patio daybed.


Raffia Window Curtain

A series of small, tufted raffia bow ties, stitched with matching thread onto a sheer curtain, instantly raises a window's sunniness quotient.


Sand Centerpiece

Light up a table with this beachy sand-and-shell centerpiece.


Casual-Modern Outdoor Room

Pillowy seats and potted plants create the perfect setting for an outdoor dinner on the deck.


Shell Vase

A wide-mouthed, spiral nautilus shell can double as a pearlescent vase for bedroom bouquets


Nautical Knobs

Incorporate nautical charm into your quarters by affixing these knobs onto drawers or lids of wooden boxes.

Garden-Print Stenciled Tabletop

Hand-painted dainty blossoms, colossal peonies, and greenery entwine to form this pleasing tabletop wreath


Rope-Seat Stools

A plain pair of wooden seats gets a bright new look from simple coils of rope.


Summery Leaf -Shaped Table Runner

Changing table linens is a relatively inexpensive way to rotate color with the seasons. The tones of this runner are suitable for summer.


Bright Ideas for Any Room

Paint, fabric, and paper offer opportunities to sneak rich hues into otherwise neutral spaces without a huge commitment of time or money.


Raffia Leaf Throw Rug

This throw rug's leafy design, made with raffia in three cool-green shades, conjures a vision of palm fronds moving in the breeze.


Sunroom Pillows

Brighten up a sunroom with these pillows printed with three different-sized anthurium leaves.


Block-Print Poppies

Rethink your home decor and get inspired by the bright, sunny colors of summer.
Decorate pillows with our poppy templates for breezy, warm weather decor. Poppies' graphic outlines are a cinch to block-print onto fabric: Brush strokes of textile paint in saturated tones. Start with the stem and leaves to help map out the composition.

Friday, May 30, 2014


This large kitchen is perfect for entertaining guests. The placement of the sink, wine cooler and trash compactor at the end of the island makes a separate work area that doubles as a prep sink or bar for entertaining. The butcher block is strategically placed on the other end of the island directly across from the range area to create a second prep area for the main cook.



The slate flooring brings the right amount of color and movement to this kitchen. The stone hood was designed with the same stones used on the fireplace across the room, which helps tie the entire space together. The backsplash tile and spice niches inside the stone hood add both a decorative accent and functionality. The black distressed island and tall pantry gives the space a rustic casual feel.



Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty





A limestone hood and furniture-style cabinetry with three different color tones ensures this kitchen reflects the warmth and European design of the home.

Travertine floors in this remodeled kitchen space help achieve a contemporary Mediterranean look.


New Neutrals


Designer Lori Gilder says "charcoal and slate are the new neutrals and blend beautifully with the metallic trends." This darker neutral frames a window elegantly and adds a more sophisticated look to your room. Design by Genevieve Gorder.



Jewel Tones



Window treatments in jewel tones, which range from deep reds to subtle blues, are sophisticated and create the atmosphere of luxury in any space. Designer Jennifer Duneier says, "Jewel tones, like amethyst and turquoise, are popular mixed with soft metallics such as platinum or brushed nickel." Image Courtesy of Casa Fiora.



Stainless Steel




Not just a favorite for appliances anymore, stainless steel is making its way throughout the home. To incorporate this trend into your window treatments, designer Lori Gilder suggests threading stainless steel and other metallic curtain rods through simple eyelets at the top of panels to create a simple unadorned look. Design by Erinn Valencich.



Cheery Yellow


Brighten up a room with cheerful draperies. According to designer Lori Gilder, "Yellow epitomizes warmth and a sunny outlook toward the future.



Layer Shades


"Another trend is to layer shades," says Jennifer Duneier. "A blackout shade might be installed right next to the window with a sheer shade in front of it.



Metallics


"Metallic surfaces are back in vogue," says Lori Gilder. "Silver, bronze and gold metallic fabrics layered with sheers are making a grand appearance in living rooms and bedrooms. The simple layering of these metallics draped from a classic metal rod blends beautifully with the latest color trends.



Trim It Up


Personalize window treatments with decorative embellishments. Designer Jennifer Duneier uses trim to create custom-designed treatments. Tapes with shells or buttons attached to them are becoming more popular as well.



Natural Elements


Organic materials are bringing nature indoors. "It’s all about nature-inspired and eco-friendly materials and designs," says designer Lori Gilder. "It’s no longer a trend, but more of a philosophy in the evolution of design. Bamboo, matchstick blinds and natural woven shades layered with simple sheer linen panels create an elegant yet earthy sophistication in any space.



Let the Light In


One trend that's always in style is using window treatments that allow a lot of natural light into the space. Designer Jennifer Duneier suggests to "use simple panels of sheer fabrics to add warmth to the room but still let light through. Many fabric houses are making fabulous sheers in all colors, not just white or cream. They're also using great linen blends with more contemporary patterns. Design by Andreea Avram Rusu.



Symmetrical design and elegant lines convey formality in this modern dining room. Photo by Mayer Bowden Photography.





Stone and columns dress up this simple square dining room. The contemporary furniture and lighting are in hues of orange and red, making the space seem decadent and inviting. Bon appetit!





This room is set apart by its bold artwork and colorfully vibrant floral. These bright colors are able to pop with the backdrop of cool white chairs and ebony furnishings and flooring. The lighting is also light and fresh with oversized shades and a mod, urban look.Design Tip: The Wow factor in this room is not just from the artwork and flowers, but also the important contrast in dark-white colors on the chairs, walls and baseboards.







The spiral chandelier echoes the round shape of the dining table in this dining room. Decorative elements like the glass sculptures and the round plant pots also contain round shapes. Repetition is a way to create a unified space.




The dark wooden dining room set instantly attracts the eye, and the metallic light fixture adds a modern touch while the beautiful pebbles inserted below the table’s glass top bring the outdoors in.




The dining room reveals the continuation of the quality details like the chandelier featured in this shot. Balancing the size of the dining set and the pattern of the wallpaper in the dining area achieves a look of unexpected grandness.





Our goal for this project was to transform a cold yet architecturally significant space into a warm, inviting home featuring artistic, high-end furniture, rugs and lighting. All pieces were to be authentic, unique and interesting, yet very comfortable.





This large round dining table is ideal for a dinner party or gathering. The Tortuga Dining Table was custom designed by SPI with a CaesarStone top and an ebonized wood base.





An elegant dining room with modern, sparkling accents is glamorous with its waterfall-inspired beaded chandelier