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10 Key Home Decorating Tips: #4 COLOR

February 5, 2019

If you have plans to decorate or redecorate a space, consider breaking the process into steps. Following an orderly progression of tasks will prevent off-the-cuff, later-regretted decisions, while also deterring you from jumping the gun and purchasing something (or a load of things) that don’t come together well within your space. And, importantly, following a process will make the endeavor less overwhelming and much more enjoyable! There are 10 steps in particular that I think can really help. In my last blog I discussed steps 1, 2 and 3: nailing down your style and atmosphere goals and getting inspired. Once you’ve tackled those you are ready for step 4, color! 



Selecting a color palette is one of the most impactful decisions you will make when planning your home decor. No pressure, right? So, where to begin? Break this looming question down by following a few basic rules:
  1. Start with five or six colors 
  2. Use color theory to guide your choices
     

Five or Six Colors
 



It’s essential to achieve a balance between using one color for your entire home interior, and using different colors in every room. You will tire of both of these extremes quickly. So where do you draw the line? The best bet is to use a palette of five to six colors* and stick with them throughout. I am not only referring to paint, but to furniture, artwork and other interior elements. If the main elements of your decor come from a palette of five or six a majority of the time, you will achieve a natural flow of color throughout your home, where the rooms merge nicely without being too uniform or even worse, completely unrelated. 

So, you will want to pick...

1 saturated color
1 or 2 neighbors to your saturated color (more on this below)
1 accent color
1 white**
1 neutral***
 
* HeyThereHome.com and SchoolOfDecorating.com both discuss using a 5 color palette.
** There are many whites out there! Check out this article by ABeautifulMess.com for advice on picking the right one!
*** Neutrals do not have to be tan or grey...you can also use black, midnight blue etc. Here’s a great article by Live Colorful to give you some ideas.

 

Use Color Theory to Guide Your Choices
 

Combining color can be a tricky business. Just because you love two colors doesn’t mean they will do well in a room together. Knowing just a little bit about Color Theory can go a long way. To achieve a harmonious combination try one of these three color schemes: 
 

1. COMPLEMENTARY COLOR SCHEME



Opposites attract, right? Well, a complementary color scheme brings this idea into full view. Complementary colors are those that are opposite one another on the color wheel, as the blue-green and red-orange are above. A complementary color palette can be lively, fresh, decadent or soothing depending on the saturation of the colors you choose, and will always be pleasing to the eye.

Use the five color palette rule with a complementary color scheme and choose a shade of your saturated color as the “neighbor”. Here’s a great example:

(Image Courtesty of architectureartdesigns.com​)

2. ANALOGOUS COLOR SCHEME



An analogous color palette is another way to create a harmonious interior. Analogous colors are those that are next to one another on the color wheel. Depending on the detail in your color wheel, you will generally want to choose 3 or 4 colors that are adjacent to one another. Analogous color schemes, often found in nature, can create a calm, interesting and/or playful space. Here is an excellent example of a room with an analogous color scheme along with a possible accompanying five color palette.

(Image courtesy of DesignSponge.com)
With an analogous color scheme the “neighbor” color should be a shade of your saturated color or a color that is in the wedge directly “next door”. 

Notice in the above palette that we skip the purple colors that fall within our four adjacent wedges of the wheel. That is perfectly OK. If you are not a purple fan like me, you can exclude it from your decor altogether. If you do like purple you can throw in a few small accents here or there. With an analogous color scheme you can go either way as long as you stick to your palette a majority of the time.
 

3. MONOCHROMATIC COLOR SCHEME



A monochromatic color scheme is a little different than the first two in that you are using one wedge of the color wheel which contains various shades of a single color. This is where I recommend jumping from a five color palette to a six color palette (2 neighbor colors instead of 1) because you will need the variety. Neighbor colors should be taken from the same wedge as your saturated color. There is no hard rule for the accent color you choose however I would advise using something from the opposite side of the wheel. Or, if your entire palette is made up of cool colors, choose a warm accent color (and vice versa) to balance things out. You can see that the accent color in the below room plays a small but significant role. It just wouldn’t be the same without those little yellow flowers!

A monochromatic palette can create a modern, peaceful, elegant and of course harmonious interior. In some ways it is an easy palette to work with; at the same time getting it “just right” takes some thought. 



(Image courtesy of CoastalLiving.com)
Though above I have shown you an individual room treatment for each color scheme, I am not suggesting you repeat the same usage throughout your entire home. In fact, quite the contrary! Using your palette creatively is key...a key which I will unlock in my next blog!

For the color schemes discussed here and more try these articles from FreshHome.com, BallardDesigns.com, HeyThereHome.comVisualHunt.com or SchoolOfDecorating.com.

10 Key Home Decorating Tips: Let’s start with #1, 2 & 3

December 7, 2018

Though decorating can be fun it can also be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to tackle an entire house. As I’ve mentioned in the past “sky’s the limit” can be more daunting than helpful. Projects without constraints can be the most difficult to complete because when the possibilities are endless, it’s all too easy to be pulled in many different directions. Here are some tips to narrow the field, guide the process and make this monumental task, fun!

Tools you’ll need for steps 1-3:
  • Notebook & pen
  • Pinboard (inspiration board)
  • Computer/internet/printer
     

1. It’s all about atmosphere

Spend a little time pondering what atmosphere you’d like your home to elicit. You can choose one unifying vibe or vary it by room or section. Perhaps you want an overall feeling of peacefulness and calm...something spa-like. Or maybe you want that vibe in the bedroom and bathrooms but prefer to have a lively and playful kitchen and living room area. Grab a notepad and pen and walk room by room noting your atmosphere goals and then pin them to your inspiration board. 

(spa-like decor; image courtesy of adorable-home.com)


(playful decor; image courtesty of stylebyemilyhenderson.com)
 

2. What is your style?

In addition to atmosphere, it’s important to determine what style you are after before jumping in. Are you going for a rustic, farmhouse look or something airy, minimalist and modern? Keep things as streamlined as possible. While it’s OK to vary the atmosphere throughout your home, doing the same with style can destroy the harmony between rooms and evoke feelings of disquiet. It’s better to stick to one underlying style or two at most. Once you determine your style write it down and tack it to your inspiration board. 


(airy & modern courtesty of architecturaldigest.com; rustic farmhouse courtesty of bhg.com)
 

3. Get inspired!

Looking at the four above images may already have your head spinning. This next step will help. Let’s say you land on farmhouse/playful for your style/atmosphere. Now it’s time to have a little fun. Search the internet for inspiring images that match these decor goals. The resources online are off the charts these days. Pinterest and Houzz are excellent places to begin but don’t overlook magazine sites such as Luxe Source, Architectural Digest and Interior Design. Save images in a folder on your desktop. Once they begin to stack up, print out your favorites and put them on your inspiration board. Below are some images I found that fit a playful, lively farmhouse look and feel. At this stage in the game your images don’t have to match one another.


(left image courtesty of countryliving.com; right image courtesy of designlisticle.com)


(image courtesy of mallyskokdesign.com)

If you take the time to walk through these first 3 steps you will have accomplished a lot and have a good foundation for moving forward into color and beyond which I’ll discuss in my next blog. Until then, happy planning!
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Hotels as Art Galleries

April 26, 2018

In the past, art for hotels was often selected from manufacturing companies that produced art on a large-scale basis. Today interior designers and art consultants are going deeper to leverage the power of art by researching artists and their work to pull together unforgettable collections that create unforgettable experiences. Curating unique artwork not only creates a branded ambience, it prompts guests to explore, discuss and think back upon their stay once it has ended. All of this translates to word-of-mouth advertising, and both repeat and new visits.

Because of my experience with the Westin DIA and now the Ritz Carlton-Vail, and because beautiful and interesting hotels provide a fantastic backdrop for art, I have been exploring those that take art beyond a simple still life in the lobby and into a gallery-like experience. The 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville is one that proves memorable in this regard and is especially intriguing to me because of my long-time interest in historical buildings.

21c is  made up of  five renovated 19th century tobacco and bourbon warehouse buildings and provides an immersive artistic experience from the moment you look upon the main building. Red penguins and a golden statue of David are hard to ignore, piquing curiosity and inspiring you to step inside.


21c Museum Hotel in Louisville | Image Source: HotelScoop
 
The variety and abundance of contemporary artwork within contrasts nicely with the hotel’s “historical bones"* and legitimizes the word “museum” in its name. There are both permanent and rotating exhibits including portraits, paintings, photography, sculptures, and interactive installations by global artists.  As in a museum, guests naturally stop, look, and wonder.
 

21c’s Atrium Gallery | Image Source: Official Website

The Red Penguin sculptures can be seen sporadically throughout. This exhibit becomes a friend, something you look for, and eventually a snapshot in your memory that you want to share.

Artwork extends into the restaurant, the gym, the halls, and of course, the guest rooms.
 

21c’s Rooftop Apartment | Image Source: Official Website

 


21c’s Restaurant - Proof on Main | Image Source: Official Website

The time, money and effort 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville puts into art selection creates their reputation.
Do you think it pays off?

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* https://www.21cmuseumhotels.com/louisville/

Mix and Match Artwork to Create a Masterpiece

March 21, 2018



Mixing and matching artwork is almost a requirement these days. Pairing pieces with different mediums, styles, colors and/or frames will never go out of style because the combination possibilities are infinite. Just when you think you’ve seen it all you’ll inevitably run across another blog, pin or magazine article that contains an art combination that will surprise and delight you. So, if you have some random pieces of art and you’re unsure if they can go together, it’s more than likely that, with a little finesse, they can.

There aren’t many big “Don’ts” when mixing artwork, in fact sky’s the limit if done right. The key is doing it right and honestly sometimes “sky’s the limit” is more daunting than helpful. Projects without constraints can be the most difficult to complete because when the possibilities are endless, it is all too easy to start down one road, make a u-turn, head down another and so forth until you are lost.

I’ve created a rule - a constraint - to help you avoid this dilemma. It is based on the premise that the best combinations unite pieces of art that contrast and have continuity. Let’s call it the CC rule. To apply the CC rule when mixing and matching art, consider the size of your pieces, the color, scale and style of the subject matter, and the color and style of your frames for starters. Which of these features would you like to keep continuous between each piece and which would you like to contrast?  You don’t have to address everything, but focusing on a few of these characteristics will help guide a thoughtful gallery. Here are a few examples...

The room image above (with the blue bed) displays art according to the CC rule following this equation:
-Contrast: the scale and complexity of the subject matter varies between each piece
-Continuity: each piece is united by the color black and all are similar in size

The two rooms below use the same criteria while following our rule:
-Contrast: the size of each pieces is different as is the frame and scale of the subject matter
-Continuity: on the left, soft hues and black are used throughout to unite the whole, and on the right, a strong blue presence ties the gallery together.

    

http://www.designlovefest.com/

This next room takes a different approach leaning toward uniformity, but look closely, it still abides by our rule:
-Contrast: the scale and style of the subject matter varies
-Continuity: the frames, sizes and colors (or lack thereof) are uniform



Now, you may see the next room and think to yourself, “I see contrast but no continuity...and it looks great!” I agree. This is one of my favorite groupings. However, we are only looking at one wall of the room and that is different than looking at the whole. If we could zoom out to see the whole room what do you think would look better on the opposing wall: something completely different from each of these already unique pieces, or artwork with one or two features that connect it with this grouping? That, my friend, is a topic for another blog. 



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Art is Not an Afterthought

January 25, 2018



Often when a new home is built or an existing one is redecorated, art selection occurs at the end of the process and is used as an accessory. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, a person may be left with less freedom to choose artwork they’re passionate about.  There can be a struggle with forcing a match with the décor rather than placing beloved art. To avoid this predicament, treat art, not as an afterthought, but as part of your palette from the start.

Whether you have a treasured piece that has been handed down to you through the family line or can’t stop thinking about a piece you spied in last weekend’s art walk, take a picture of the piece you feel passionate about and pin it to a design board along with your wall color, carpet/flooring samples, furniture inspirations, and other trims and finishes.  Do they coalesce?  If yes, wonderful!  If not, you have more work to do but don't forget - better now than once it’s too late!

Often the art we select reflects our favorite color palettes.  If, after taking some time to absorb the overall look you’ve created, you are still struggling with how things meld, take a step back and flip through some magazines or go to galleries. Collect pictures that successfully display the genre of art or colors you have in your palette within a room. Create a separate design board and let them sink in. If you give yourself a little space to absorb and ponder both design boards, you may end up with a room you never expected but are extremely excited about, with conversation-provoking artwork that is well integrated and reflects who you are.

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