August, 2010 browsing by month


The Controversial Color Orange

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Sunflower Don’t you just love the color orange?  No?? But it is such a happy color (next to yellow that is)!  Did you know that orange is considered to be the most controversial of all colors?  That is usually because there is such a strong opinion towards it- either you love it or hate it!

srgambrel   Gambrel

Orange falls directly between the colors of red and yellow on the color spectrum and shares both attributes.  The color on the yellow side is thought to promote happiness and represents sunshine, enthusiasm and creativity.  On the other side, orange is close to red which shows more of an aggressive side.

But I ask you, how can you not love this room? I see the yellow happier side of orange filled with sunshine.



I do not think I myself would like a room all painted in orange, but I love to use as accessories because they really ‘pop’ out and look great.  I think orange is such a young, fresh and modern look.  Here are a couple perfect examples below from one of my favorite designers Maria Killam:  

image                                               Maria Killam Designs

I know that most people automatically think of bright primary orange when they think of this hue.  But look at how Maria beautifully incorporated ‘orange’ in her design:

maria bc      Maria Killam Design

Bet you did not know all of these colors below were shades of orange:  (If you click on the colors it will bring you to Wikipedia’s* illustration and definition.)

Amber                       Apricot                    Bittersweet                      Brown
      Burnt orange          Champagne             Coral                                 Dark salmon
    Flame                                 Gamboge                      Gold            Mahogany                         Orange                      Orange(web)       Orange-red                                                                                                       Orange peel                 Peach                                          Persimmon                                             Pumpkin
                   Rust                                      Salmon                           Sunset                                Tangerine
       Tea rose                       Tenné                        Tomato                             Vermilion

*Resource- Wikipedia     

Most colors such as tangerine, rust and peach were easy to guess, but I never thought of coral or apricot?  Did you know that?

Do you like red and orange together?

Living room orange and red accents     Better Homes & Gardens

How about turquoise and orange?

toybfarleyorange                                                             Tobi Farley

houseborange       House Beautiful

Purple and orange are contrasting colors are across from each other, contrasting, on the color wheel and that is why the two colors look so great together.

orange and purpleImage File 

Another favorite color scheme of mine is orange and navy.  I could not find a picture, but here is an example:


So before you say “ I hate the color orange and I would never use in my home,” , instead of picturing ‘orange’, visualize a pretty shade of rust or tomato or coral.  Picture this instead:

marialivingroom             Maria Killam

If you would like to see more of Maria, visit her blog Colour Me Happy.  She has many great color ideas and really fantastic photos.

If you are afraid of the intensity of the color orange, start small.  Put out a couple pillows, a vase, chair or ottoman.   You will add instant freshness to your room.     How do you feel about the color orange?

If you need help updating and refreshing your home, contact me  for an online or at home consultation.

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Choosing Neutrals Like the Pros

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Since I have been in design for about 20 years now, I have seen a lot of colors go in and out of style.  But when talking about neutrals, not much has changed at all. Such as the colors below that are as popular now as 20 years ago.



Even after all these years, 95% of the time, color experts still go straight to Ben Moore’s Historical Colors.

Classic Colors® Fan Deck

Ben Moore Classic Color Fan Deck

Why?  Because they have proven over time to be colors that are a collection of time-honored hues comprising their most popular palette. Steeped in tradition, the refined, elegant colors of the Historical Collection deliver timeless color that can be used in traditional as well as contemporary spaces.

Healing and Barsanti

Healing and Barsanti

Many designers go right to the historical collection also because although we have played with and experimented many different colors, the collection has proven over and over to be winning colors voted for and used by many.  Why?  Because they provide good backgrounds and serve to unify diverse color palettes.

House Beautiful

Neutral colors help to put the focus on other colors or serve to tone down colors that might otherwise be overpowering on their own.  See how in the photo above, the fireplace is the focus in the room?  

Gene Meyer and Frank de Biasi

Gene Meyer and Frank de Biasi


This is an example of how a neutral background works best  by not competing with the main colors of the room.

In my post about my favorite neutral colors here, all of my favorite neutrals were pulled from the historical collection.  In my article ‘Top Selling BM  paint Colors for 2010, most all colors are also from the same historical collection.

Erin Martin

Erin Martin

So next time you begin searching for that perfect neutral color for your home, take a look at Ben Moore’s Historical Colors first knowing that they are proven winners and used by many experts.

Do you have a favorite neutral color you want to share with us?

If you need help making your home happy and comfortable, contact me.

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Benjamin Moore Historical Color Chart

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

My friend Diane from Ready Set Redesign, posted this great color chart from Benjamin Moore showing how the influence of historical events really impact the colors utilized during various times.

bmhistoricalchartShe explained how from 191o through 1919, WWI was going on and drab colors were embraced. Olive was a predominant color which was reflective of the army green uniforms.

WWI period, U.S. Army, 1910/1917 Pattern, Cotton Twill, 4 Pocket Service Uniform, belonging to a Officer named: "Todd"

WWI period, U.S. Army, 1910/1917 Pattern, Cotton Twill, 4 Pocket Service Uniform, belonging to a Officer named: "Todd"

Look at the 1960’s,  the time of peace, love and tie dyed shirts. There were a lot of bright, vibrant colors.

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

 I can remember the 70’s very well, the avacado green and harvest gold!

I wrote about the avacado green and harvest gold colors in ‘The Top 10 list of Outdated Decor Still Found in Homes Today’  .

I thought it was very interesting.  What color do you remember most from growing up?  Comments?

If you need help selecting colors of today for your home, contact me.

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Using a Bold Paint Color

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

I always tell clients when using a really great, bold wall color, do not panic while painting or looking at it right after you finish.  The color will be popping right off the wall, in your face, seeming to be so loud and obnoxious!

Suzanne Kasler

Suzanne Kasler

I tell them that the wall is still naked!  There is nothing against it yet.  Do not forget, the color you picked for your walls should be the background for all of your furnishings.  Your sofa, chair, table, window treatments, art and accessories will be highlighted and be the ‘stars’ of the room.

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

I decided to go bold in my basement on one focal wall with wall paper. Yes, wallpaper!  You can read more about wall coverings here.  It was my third wall treatment I tried on that same wall.  My husband was getting upset with me.  First, we painted it Raisin Torte.  Pretty, but boring.  I am trying to design a cool room downstairs with a bar, large TV, hot tub, and pool table.  A boring  paint color was not going to make it here because since the basement is dark already, it  made the wall look flat. Also, the burgandy  did not have that pop of color I was looking for. (I thought I had a picture of the wall painted Raisin Torte, but I guess I did not take one. This wall was painted in the Raisin Torte to give you an example.)

Raisin Torte

Raisin Torte

So, next  my wonderful husband painted the wall with that great color green I told you about here, Winding Vines.  Now, I had no furniture or pictures or anything against the wall yet, but when I stood back and looked, I absolutely panicked!   But if you know me, sometimes I over obsess about trying to get things perfect.  All I could see when I looked at the wall was how the Winding Vines green was not working with the pool table green.  Maybe if I had taken my own advice and tried the color on the wall first, I would not have run into trouble again.  Be sure to sample the color before you paint!  I could not get past it and wanted it changed again.  That is when I decided to give wallpaper another shot ( a few years after I said never will I ever use wallpaper again in this lifetime). Again, refer here.

2010 07 11 095

OMG!! It is so bright!  I do not like at all!  Again, panic city.  But then I start to put my furniture back in place.  Sconces go on the wall first, then a  large mirror is hung.  Well, maybe it is not looking so bad now.  Next, I place my console table in the middle of wall and decorate with accessories.   Wow- I guess it doesn’t look so bad after all.  Actually, I love it!  Glad I went with the bold.


So, please use those bold colors you love, just try not to panic before you put your furnishings back in place.  If you do panic, know you are not alone.  It is very natural to feel this way, but remember, you still have to dress the wall.  If you did not pick the wall color according to your furnishings, and started with the wall color first, (which I will have to do a post on that ) know that eventually you will have a finished room.

Did you notice that fanastic mirror?  That is the one I told you I bought in my blog  about mirrors here.

If you need help and encouragement on your next decorating project, call me at 401.765.7999 or email

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