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I’m on a quest for the perfect paint color for our dining room. It will be redecorated after the kitchen renovation and I’m planning a neutral scheme, enlivened with plenty of pattern. The big challenge is finding the perfect taupe. I want to go with darker walls for a bit more drama, and have decided charcoal will be too gray but don’t want to veer too much toward brown. I’ve found some good sources of inspiration though.


Via LiveBreathDecor.


Via The Marion House Book


Via This is Glamorous.

If anyone can recommend the perfect shade for me, I will be indebted to them!


This is for those of you who are passionate about color. Christian Zuzunaga is a graphic artist who uses pixels to create stunning visual designs, usually representations of cityscapes.

Zuzunaga’s designs have been turned in various textiles, including rugs, scarves and cushions, many of which are available for purchase in his online store. My favorite are these cushions. Such a simple concept yet it needs flawless execution and artistry to work – both of which these textiles clearly have. There are several collections: Fire, Soul, Spirit, Luna, Venus and Mercury. I’d opt for the warm and harmonious tones of the Soul collection (above and below):

Zuzunaga has also designed unique textiles for brands such as Ligne Roset and exhibited his work in galleries as prestigious as the Tate Gallery.

If you’d like a little pixel art in your living room, this is an affordable and unique option. Personally, I will be finding a space for the cherry red and pink versions as soon as possible…

Why didn’t I know about this beautiful blog until this weekend? Of course, I’ve seen these photos of blogger Nicole’s stunning apartment all over the blogosphere, especially since it was featured in Rue Magazine. But the blog is a great source of inspiration too. Especially right now – while Nicole is off bonding with her newborn, guest bloggers are posting the cutest, most unique nursery designs.

Anyway, I just had to share some of the photos of the apartment in question since the black, white and metallic scheme is providing all sorts of inspiration for our impending kitchen makeover (which is rapidly becoming a dining room, playroom and bathroom makeover too – more of that later).

I spy a Carrera marble kitchen island…

Plattner coffee table…

Black and white ikat pillow…

And brass anglepoise lamps over the bed. Elegant and eclectic!

Photos by Emily Anderson for Rue Magazine via Sketch42.

I think teal might just be my color obsession for January. Fresh, but not in your face, it’s just the tonic we need for this time of year. Sort of the color equivalent of a detox!

I recently came across this stunning loft apartment, the Paris Home of artist Claire Basler, featured in March 2010’s Elle Decoration. (Found on the charming blog of furniture design firm Pacha Design). The colors in this space are so subtle but the teal wall is really exceptional. A great foil for the sculptural lighting and floral arrangements.

Then I remembered the winning entry from last year’s Apartment Therapy Room for Color contest. Here teal is moody, enigmatic and not a little whimsical.

And, just to prove that teal can work for more traditional designs too, this living room from Canadian House and Home has been doing the rounds (I spotted it on Delight by Design and Little Green Notebook) and it’s easy to see why. Teal walls knock the formality out of this classical space, bringing it firmly into the 21st Century.

Of course, if you don’t fancy the commitment of a teal wall, how about this gem of a wing back chair seen in Lonny Magazine? C’mon, if this doesn’t seal the teal (sorry, couldn’t resist), nothing will…

You’ll recognize photographer Laura Resen‘s work from the pages of several interiors magazines. She counts among her clients the likes of Architectural Digest, Harpers Bazaar, Elle Decor, French Vogue, Living Etc, House Beautiful and Domino magazine. But, despite this stylish line-up, the homes she photographs all seem to share a key quality: they’re truly inviting.

Flooded with clear, natural daylight, the spaces in her pictures are both elegant and comfortable. There’s a restrained palette throughout her portfolio but attention to details such as texture ensures each photo is one you want to step into (and sit down and curl up in…)

It helps that Resen has worked with designers such as Thomas O’Brien, whose house in Bellport, Long Island ranks up there with one of my favorite interiors ever. (In fact, she collaborated with O’Brien on a book that just came out this year).

But, whether it’s cool white living rooms, effortlessly styled bedrooms or glorious sun-washed patios, this is one stunning portfolio. In fact, I had a hard time picking just a few images to post here.

There’s also a lesson to be learned from Resen’s still life photos. I was struck by the use of layers, particularly layers of objects in harmonious colors. The effect is not only beautiful, but can also be applied when styling a home to achieve that lived-in, inviting vibe. From layering whites…

To different blues…

To metallics…

To dramatic black…

And contrasting hues…

All in all, I encourage you to check out Laura Resen’s site for inspiration. You won’t be disappointed.

I bought some coral-colored parrot tulips the other day. As I watched them change from bright orange on the first day to faded apricot at the end of their life, I was reminded of how amazing coral can look in an interior scheme. It’s been a sadly neglected hue in the past few years, but recently I’ve spotted a few rooms that combine coral with totally-now gray – to fantastic effect.

This was Coco and Kelley’s room of the week recently.

The splashes of orangey-coral look great against the neutrals and grays. This would work well in both summer and winter.

This coral bench is a good way to punch up the delicate grays of the sofa, wallpaper and flooring. Via Peacock Feathers.

This coral borders on orange but the tones are still soft rather than citrus-y. Via Style at Home.

Remember this outfit-to-room story from Domino? I was reminded it of it looking through an old issue recently. This coral has pinkish tones and, with wool, fur, felt and tweed, makes a cozy space for winter.

Looking through my files I also found this coral and gray montage from Coco and Kelley last year. If you needed proof that these colors are fabulous together, here it is…

(Tulip photo by my husband).

There have been literally thousands of articles written about how to decorate with white. Given that it is the most frequently used – and often deemed safest – color for interiors, why is it so hard to get right? Perhaps it’s precisely because white is so ubiquitous that its risks are under-estimated.

I know that when I use white, it takes several attempts and a lot of tinkering before I’m truly happy with the effect. And yet, most of my favorite interior images are predominantly white. So I decided to tackle the problem head on and devise some easy-to-follow rules for using the interior decorator’s most faithful hue.

White on white

Via This is Glamorous.

I think this is the easiest way to use white – IF you follow the rule to the letter. To work, this look requires a strict palette of different whites (all cool or all warm) and, at most, neutrals like grays or beiges.

Via Peacock Feathers.

Via Decor8.

This look is fantastic with lots of natural textures like grainy woods, leather, stone, rough linens and soft wool.

Via Pure Style Home.

Painted surfaces can be chipped, scuffed or weathered for even more texture.

Via Remodelista.

Alternatively, you can go for high gloss white and glass, metallics and mirrors or sequins.

(Photo by Marc Gerritson via Desire to Inspire)

A combination of both rustic and sparkly looks great too. And don’t forget about shapes – using a combination of curvy, boxy and star-like pieces can keep the interest level up.

Via Bochenko Artdeco.

Photo by Anna Kern via Beauty Comma.

Via Decorology.

White with pastels

Via Peacock Feathers.

This is a really pretty, feminine look and a relatively easy way to use white. Combining white with one pastel, like rose pink or mint green is the safest option. I like to paint walls in a pastel and then use white for all the furniture, fabrics and flooring – again using a variety of textures and styles.

Via Canadian House and Home.

But you can also mix a few different pastels with white, providing they’re all of the same intensity.

Via Simplified Bee.

Or, ensuring that they all have the same amount of gray in them also helps.

Via Bochenko Artdeco.

For a more harmonious look, I would choose pastels that are closer together on the color wheel – blue, gray and green for example, or pink, peach and yellow.

White and one other color

Another good option is to use white with a single other color. Blue and white is a traditional example.

By Feldman Architecture via Houzz.

You can combine lots of different patterns small and large, if they stick to this same time-honored palette. Try to use similar blues, though, unless you are very confident in your color skills. Or, if you want variety, go with a very pale blue and a very dark blue like navy, along with the white. That will prevent conflict between the various shades.

Via Desire to Inspire.

Red and white is a good alternative to this recipe. Turquoise, emerald and orange also work well in isolation with white. Whichever you choose, though, try to use the colors in slightly different proportions: a room that has exactly the same quantities of red and white, say, just looks contrived. And you might want to throw in a few elements of black or dark brown to anchor the whole thing and stop it from looking to matchy-matchy.

White and black

Now established as a firm favorite for many of us, this bold combination would have required a bit of courage a couple of years back. That said, it’s relatively easy look to pull off. Again, think about proportion and try not to have each color in equal measure.

Via A Room Somewhere.

Think about texture, pattern and style and mix things up to keep the look interesting.

Via Slipcover Your Life.

Via Casapinka.

If you get the urge for a splash of color, temporary accents like flowers are the best bet or the whole effect will be diluted.

Via Desire to Inspire.

That said, I do like seeing the odd splash of yellow, pink or red in a black and white room – and gray-blue works well as a backdrop for spaces accessorized in only black and white.

White and brights

You’d think this would be easy – a safe white background should allow you to use whatever combination of brights you like, right? Wrong. Of course, you should do what you love and feel right living with. But my point is that it’s hard to feel comfortable with this look unless you get it right. In my experience, the use of several brights can just make the white elements look dull and boring – like a non-choice. The key is in the proportions. Either go for a predominantly white room with a few accents of brights (lime green pillows, a vase of pink peonies and a splash of yellow and turquoise art, for example).

Via Kika Reichart.

Via Coco + Kelley.

Via Ill Seen, Ill Said.

Or, really layer in the brights and use the white for negative space only (which means you probably don’t want any white next to white unless it’s a different texture.

Via Peacock Feathers.

Again, sticking to bright colors close to each other on the color wheel (pinks, purples, reds for example) helps pull it all together.

Via Beauty Comma.

What’s your experience of using white? Do you agree with these guidelines or do you have better suggestions? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve made enough mistakes with white and know plenty of others who’ve done the same so some simple rules would save us all a lot of heartache!

(First image: source unknown)

When it comes to colors, my design aesthetic is lying somewhere, bruised and battered, in the no man’s land between cool neutrals and wild brights. Trying to accommodate both tastes is rather exhausting. But I’ve found some solace in the portfolio of photographer James Merrell, whose work shows brights being introduced into otherwise neutral spaces in some very surprising ways.

Take these mostly white (or black and white) spaces, for instance. A single yellow end-wall, or a bold-patterned chaise make them exciting, but there are still plenty of neutral areas to give your eyes a rest.

James Merrell

Taking your color directly from nature, or in this case a photographic wallpaper, instantly makes the look more restful and organic.

James Merrell

Ah, the power of purple. That lavender chair! That lilac dresser!

James Merrell

What an impact a single piece of art makes. Even more impactful is the use of a patterned wallpaper, in a single color, used on walls and ceiling in an otherwise simple room.

James Merrell

Even color-phobes can handle introducing color with their wardrobe. And, better still, this look requires everything else to be completely white! I like the picture wall too – we’ve all seen jewellery used as decor before, but here I like the way it’s intertwined with the art.

James Merrell

Last but definitely not least, who said moldings and wainscoting had to be all-white? The bright green here makes the neutral furniture pop and it can be changed back to snowy white with the flick of a paintbrush.

James Merrell

So, for others in my situation, I hope this gives you a few ideas and the courage to try more brights. And for the color aficionados among you, please do share your tips and tricks! How do you introduce color into your home?

All photos from Judith Miller Inc. Check out Merrell’s portfolio for more images – don’t worry, there are some lovely all-white rooms in there too!

I’m seeing a lot of these yellowy-greens around the design blogs at the moment. What I like about these shades is that they’re so timeless and flexible. Take a look at these totally different looks, all using variations of olive, moss and fern.

With lavender, olive is pretty and romantic (Vanessa Bruno‘s apartment via Decor8):

Olive - Vanessa Bruno

Used in abundance with gold and aubergine, it’s sumptuous and glamorous (via The Deco Detective – in fact, Trudi has a whole post on moss green – check it out, there are some lovely photos):

Olive bedroom

Used sparingly, it can be rustic (as in this stunning home in Lombardy, Italy, via The Style Files):

Olive - Lombardy kitchen

Against dark walls it’s stylish and modern (via From the Right Bank to the Left Coast):


This olive painted chair looks great in a farmhouse kitchen (via An Angel at my Table):


On a roomy sofa, it makes an elegant and classic living room look inviting (via LivingEtc):

Olive sofa

Thank you to all these blogs for the green inspiration!

Oh, orange you tricky color, you.

You have me all confused.

I like your zesty brightness,

But you’re the boldest hue I’ve used.

Tim Evans-Cook

I’m tempted by your playfulness,

You always make me smile.

But once I’ve put you on my walls,

Will your cheeky looks just rile?

Orange doors

I felt my heart strings tug,

when I saw you on these doors.

Then I saw you on this graphic rug,

And now I want you on my floors.


These orange rooms have caught my eye,

Now I can see your beauty.

And these stunning window treatments

Just have me feeling fruity.

Orange blinds

With white, you make mouths water,

With blue, you simply pop,

But it’s with hot pink or purple

That you make my poor heart stop.

Las Alamandas

Oh orange, what memories you bring.

You inspire some blissful thoughts:

Of fireflies on summer nights,

Mai Tais, Tandoor ovens, bitter orange tortes.

Las Alamandas

But you demand commitment,

Once you go orange, you don’t go back.

I wonder, will I stay the course,

Or will my resolve soon crack?


Is this just a seasonal thing,

Inspired by sunny days?

Perhaps this is a summer fling?

In winter I’ll want my bluey-grays.

Daniel Farmer

I’d like you in my toddler’s room

To give his walls a boost.

But will you make him race around,

like a cup of orange juice?


If I woke to find you in my room,

You’d quench my morning thirst.

But what if I’m hungover?

Will you make it worse?

Orange bedroom

I’d like to put you in my kitchen.

They say orange causes appetite.

But I’m afraid I’d eat too much,

And make my jeans too tight.

Orange kitchen

Orange brings out my true style:

Be it rustic, mod or mid-century.

But if I get it badly wrong,

They’ll think it’s 1970.


The blogs are full of great ideas

On how to make it work.

But this constant indecision

Is driving me beserk.

Orange living room

You made me write this poem.

See, I’ve really lost my cool.

But if this dreadful love turns sour,

Will you make me look a fool?

Polly Wreford

It’s clear I have an orange crush.

It’s crazy how I feel.

I think I know why this has happened:

Let’s face it, you have zest appeal.


Happy Monday! 😉

Photo credits:

1 – Tim Evan-Cook; 2 – Unknown; 3 & 4 – LivingEtc; 5 & 6 – Las Alamandas Hotel in Mexico; 7 – Habitat Hanalei; 8 – Daniel Farmer; 9 – via Apartment Therapy; 10 – Brugge Bed and Breakfast; 11 & 12 – LivingEtc; 13 – Tchochkes; 14 – Polly Wreford; 15 – my husband took this one!

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