RULES FOR A COLOR PARTY

Last week, I shared a rather unique concept in “Have Yourself a Color Party”.

(If you haven’t already read that article, you might want to click here).

This is all about creating a Color Scheme, something that is fairly basic to almost any home design project.

Yet, how does one create a Color Scheme?

Broken down to it’s essence, it’s a simple matter of knowing which colors to invite to the “party”!

And yes, there are Rules.

 

Purchase a Color Wheel                                                                                                                                                 

A color wheel is a handy tool that can be purchased at any art supply store.

This is a great resource for educating yourself on color, especially if you are unfamiliar with terms like ‘complementary’, or analogous’, or the meaning of hues, tints and tones.

Brushing up before hand, so you can address your guests accordingly, is always a good idea.


Consider a Theme                                                                                                                                                  

What mood are you striving for?

A few words come to mind: 

Sensuous  – As in slightly exotic, with  rich reds, browns, and gold

Nurturing  – Earth tones, in varying shades of green or brown

Contemplative or Serene  – A watery theme of cool blues and greens, mixed with neutrals such as taupe, beige, or off-white

(more…)

HAVE YOURSELF A COLOR PARTY

Early in my design career, a client presented me with a challenge for re-designing her living room.

She wanted a new look, with lots of COLOR!

Per her instructions, she wanted to keep two existing chairs , one red and one blue, and replace most of the remaining furnishings, including the sofa.

(In design parlance, that’s what we refer to as the scope of the Project).

Did you catch the part about the chairs – one red, the other blue?

The real challenge here, was to connect these seemingly disparate pieces into a harmonious color scheme.

Well, I love a challenge, and every project has one.

It’s what usually gets the creative juices flowing.

It is also where the ‘Color Party’ comes in.

Let me explain.

(more…)

THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN – PART 2

This week’s article is a continuation from last week. 

(If you missed that article, you can find it here.)

And as I said before, it’s a bit of a teaser.

I say this, because I’m using various elements found in Nature to illustrate the Elements of Design – the so-called building blocks used to create just about any work of art – and  therefore the principal tools that designers, architects and all creative types invariably use in their craft.

So far, we’ve explored Color, Balance, Pattern and Rhythm.

Still to come?

Space, Line, Proportion and perhaps my favorite – Harmony.

So here they are….

 

Space

See that wide expanse of sky?

If that endless space was filled with stuff, this scene wouldn’t look nearly as tranquil.

Which means Mother Nature got it right again, knowing exactly when to stop.

In home design, this translates to “Less is More” an oft quoted remark from one of the 20th century’s foremost architects, Mies van der Rohe.

When it doubt, a good rule of thumb is to edit the finished design by removing one item.

That’s when you’re done.

 

Line & Proportion

In Nature, line and proportion are pretty much perfect.

After all, who’s to say a maple leaf should have a different shape, or that a bunch of grapes should be less round?

We accept them for what they are.

A mix of lines and shapes is always a good idea for interiors, as well.

And knowing when to place a large sofa in a smaller room, or vice versa, is just as helpful.

Is the coffee table the right size for the nearby chairs?

What about the bed?

Understanding the relationship between all these different elements is key to a successful project!

 

Focal Point

This is your immediate field of vision.    

With a view like this, it’s easy to see what that might be.

The Focal Point is the one thing that captivates you, that is so spectacular, interesting or inviting that people can’t help but notice it.

It’s what we situate our homes to take full advantage – especially when there’s a gorgeous view.

Inside your home, this translates to either the fireplace, a bed or seating area, or even the television.

Hmmm.

Which would you rather look at?

 

Harmony

This is an easy one.

It’s what we achieve when ALL the Elements & Principles have been used together – well, harmoniously.

Just like in Nature.

If your home is feeling a bit flat and un-inspired, you can be fairly certain that one of these key elements is off, or missing altogether.

THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN – WITH A NATURAL TWIST

Today’s post is a bit of a teaser.   

While vacationing a few weeks ago in Eastern Washington, I spent a lot of time outdoors.

And on my bike.

While riding the scenic back roads, it occurred to me that much of what we see in Nature mirrors the Elements of Design – the principal tools that designers, architects and all creative types invariably use in their craft.

These Elements of Design include everything from color, space, balance, shape, line, proportion and much more – while lending interest and excitement to a space.

Just as they do in Nature.

Let me explain.

 

Color

Imagine the natural world without color!  

It’s almost painful to think of.

Everywhere we look, on any given day, we are welcomed by a riot of color in our surroundings – both indoors and out.

Sometimes it makes sense to balance the colors of Nature outside your windows, with a soothing palette inside. A neutral palette can make strong colors pop – just as you see in the vivid sunsets shown above.

Other times, a desert landscape might call for bolder colors within.

Different colors dictate a different mood, and can lift our spirits.

In Nature, the most soothing colors are green and blue.

 

Balance 

Balance in a room is achieved through Symmetry or Asymmetry in the basic layout of your furnishings.

The essence of Symmetry is this:

If you were to draw an imaginary line down the center of a room, dividing it in half – each half would be a mirror image of the other.

In Nature, we can find a perfect mirror image reflected in a lake, just like in this picture!

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LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

The dental assistant had a question.

“Is Teal in?”she wanted to know.

She went on to explain that she wanted to repaint her Master Bedroom and the color teal really appealed to her.

She just wasn’t sure it was the “in” color to use.

While I generally don’t hand out free advice, I couldn’t resist this one.

I told her to forget what colors are “in” and paint her bedroom whatever favorite color she wanted.

It was her bedroom, after all!

A few days later, another acquaintance was lamenting the large amount of dark wood in her home – dark oak floors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and walls.

Her husband had suggested painting them.

“But,” she wondered aloud, “What happens if ten years from now dark wood is again back in style?”

She wasn’t asking my opinion, so I didn’t provide it, but here’s the thing.

Fads are just that.

They come and go.

What your heart and your gut are telling you – that’s what you want to pay attention to!

Your home needs to be about you and the things you love.

Whether you love teal, or your home is too dark and you want to lighten things up, I say – go for it!

Here’s another example.

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IS DESIGNER IN A BOX FOR YOU?

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, then you know that I’ve been gearing up to launch my brand new Interior Design Program DESIGNER IN A BOX.

And I’m guessing you have some questions.

Perhaps the most pressing one – correct me if I’m wrong – is this:

How do you know if Designer in a Box is right for you?

Well, here’s a hypothetical scenario:

Let’s say you’ve decided to redecorate your living room and create a space that is invitingly cozy and comfortable and reflects everything you are passionate about.

So, you head over to your favorite big-box furniture store that is currently having a big Sale.

An eager and attentive salesperson comes to your aid, and ultimately convinces you to buy a beautiful white, leather sofa.

You are certain this is exactly what you need.

A few days later, the sofa is delivered to your home.

You’re surprised to learn that it is a little large for the space – you thought it was such a perfect fit!

And while you still think the sofa is attractive, you’re not quite so sure anymore that you’ve made the correct choice.

So you call your mother, and some friends.

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YOUR INTERNAL COLOR COMPASS

We all have our favorite colors.

The ones we’re drawn to instinctively in the way we dress and what we surround ourselves with in our homes.

Me, I like blue, especially a faded blue, one that leans toward blue-grey. Other days I might be more in the mood for yellow.

Speaking of moods, who among us hasn’t had ‘one of those days’, the kind where you look in your closet and nothing suits your dark mood but black.

So you dress yourself in black, head to toe, and head out the door.

That’s a good example of your Internal Color Compass dictating what you should wear, based on your mood.

Of course, this internal compass can serve you just as well when you’re feeling sunny and upbeat, and it can also help determine the color palette in your home.

The following four Color Palettes were shared at a recent Sherwin Williams Color Forecast presentation.

If you’ve never thought beyond your favorite color and considered your Internal Color Compass, this might be fun for you to play with.

I’m sure you’ll recognize yourself in one of them.

 

Restless Nomad

You’ve only to think of all the journeys you’ve taken, imaginary and otherwise, to recognize your inner nomad.

If you’re also drawn to exotic prints, vibrant colors and a patchwork of far & distant cultures, this color palette will certainly feel familiar to you.

You might even be old enough to remember the enormous impact The Beatles had on contemporary culture in the ‘60’s, when they embraced Indian music and influenced the paisley trend of that era.

 

Gentle Medley

The word vintage comes to mind, as in globes, maps and books, and even hand tinted sepia prints.

(more…)

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

The dental assistant had a question.       

“Is Teal in?”she wanted to know.

She went on to explain that she wanted to repaint her Master Bedroom and the color teal really appealed to her.

She just wasn’t sure it was the “in” color to use.

While I generally don’t hand out free advice, I couldn’t resist this one. I told her to forget what colors are “in” and paint her bedroom whatever favorite color she wanted.

It was her bedroom, after all!

A few days later, another acquaintance was lamenting the large amount of dark wood in her home – dark oak floors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and walls.

Her husband had suggested painting them.

“But,” she wondered aloud, “What happens if ten years from now dark wood is again back in style?”

She wasn’t asking my opinion, so I didn’t provide it, but here’s the thing.

Fads are just that.

They come and go.

What your heart and your gut are telling you – that’s what you want to pay attention to!

Your home needs to be about you and the things you love.

Whether you love teal, or your home is too dark and you want to lighten things up, I say – go for it!

Here’s another example.

(more…)

5 WAYS TO SHIFT THE ENERGY IN YOUR OFFICE

A recent article on creating Harmony in ones’ work place, has inspired today’s musings.

If you’ve ever considered how you might improve the energy in your workspace – whether or not your office is in your home – these simple design suggestions will give you something to think about.

By no means are these ideas limited to just your office – you can apply this to any place in your home.

 

Do Aim for Clean, Uncluttered Surfaces

We don’t always realize how important it is to have our work areas impeccably organized, with a designated place for everything to be stored.

The tendency is to have little piles on our desk, each one representing a portion of our To Do list for the next day.

Do you really tackle each of those little piles on a daily basis?

I know I don’t.

And yet, I’m fearful of storing things away, being very guilty of an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

Here’s the thing, though:  according to Chinese Feng Shui, having too many things on your work surface can impede the flow of energy, or chi.

There is a lot of truth in this ancient wisdom, so take heed.

Clear up your work surfaces, and find a home for all your knickknacks and unnecessary items.

Even better, be sure to extend the effort to every area of your home that tends to collect stuff – be it your kitchen, your favorite coffee table with stacks of magazines and clippings, or a bathroom counter.

Make it a habit to breathe new life into your living and work spaces, each and every day.

 

Don’t Turn Your Back on the Door

From a purely logical standpoint, it simply feels more comfortable to have a clear view of your office door, so you can see what is going on.

This one simple act can eliminate the sense of someone sneaking up on you from behind.

(more…)

HAVE YOURSELF A COLOR PARTY

Early in my design career, a client presented me with a challenge for re-designing her living room.

She wanted a new look, with lots of color. Per her instructions, she wanted to keep two existing chairs , one red and one blue, but replace most of the remaining furnishings, including the sofa.

Did you catch the part about the chairs – one red, the other blue? The real challenge here, was to connect these seemingly disparate pieces into a harmonious color scheme.

Well, I love a challenge, and every project has one. It’s what usually get the creative juices flowing.

It is also where the ‘Color Party’ comes in.

Let me explain.

Every design project needs a color scheme, and in order to achieve this, one needs to consider which colors to ‘invite’ to the party. It’s the same idea as coming up with a guest list, and subsequently weeding out the ‘guests’ that don’t quite fit in.

If you think of any party you’ve ever given, wasn’t this the typical starting point? After all, you don’t want to invite guests who don’t get along, do you?

A color party is no different. The best part, however, is that you can dispense with food and entertainment. A theme can be a good idea, if you’ve narrowed down your choices to warm, or cool colors, or a certain mood that you’re trying to achieve.

For example, if your goal is to create a tranquil, calm retreat, red might not be a welcome guest.

You get the idea.

Be forewarned that certain guests might arrive with an attitude, and may not get along with others no matter how clear your intention. Should you seat Peacock Blue next to Orange? What about Grey? The former might be a bit jarring, the latter may not be exciting enough.

Rules for a Color Party (Yes, there are Rules)


Purchase a Color Wheel

A color wheel is a handy tool that can be purchased at any art supply store.

This is a great resource for educating yourself on color, especially if you are unfamiliar with terms like ‘complementary’, or analogous’, or the meaning of hues, tints and tones.

Brushing up before hand, so you can address your guests accordingly, is always a good idea.

 

Consider a Theme

What mood are you striving for?

A few words come to mind: 

Sensuous (as in slightly exotic, with  rich reds, browns, and gold);

Nurturing (earth tones, in varying shades of green or brown);

Contemplative or Serene (a watery theme of cool blues and greens, mixed with neutrals such as taupe, beige, or off-white);

Dramatic (strong, jewel-toned colors, such as a sunny yellow, that can lend excitement to your space); or perhaps

Elegant (black and white, chocolate brown, and other neutrals come to mind).

 

Refine Your Guest List

The guests here, being the colors, of course.

Based on the theme you’ve selected, invite groupings of the most appealing colors to your party. Keep in mind existing surfaces that you don’t plan to change, such as floors and carpeting.

Remember – you want everyone to get along!

Steer clear of colors that tend to show up with an Attitude – they should not be invited.

 

Have Fun with Paint Samples

You can always rely on traditional paint chips, available at most paint supply stores, but I like some of the more innovative sample pots of actual paint, that are also readily available.

YOLO Colorhouse offers poster-size sheets painted with the actual paint color, so there’s no guessing if the color you’re seeing is the ‘true’ color , or not.

The coolest part is the sticky tape on the back, that allows you to temporarily attach the painted sheets to your walls, to see firsthand if the color scheme is to your liking.

A quick word about eco-friendly paint options – do yourself, and your guests, a favor by choosing sustainable paints that will be kind to your health and the environment.

 

Don’t Give Up

Despite your best efforts, your guests may still misbehave.

They may try to steal the spotlight, and not let others have their moment to shine. Give yourself time to re-coup, then invite a different group of guests and try again. Ask them to leave their egos at the door.

So there you have it!

Choose your project, review the Rules above, and throw yourself a Color Party.

Let me know how it goes.