Archive for the 'wall color' Category

10 Budget-Stretching Decorating Ideas

We’re all watching our pennies these days…thinking two and three times before making any discretionary expenditures. Yet making our homes more comfortable and attractive will help us feel better as we weather these challenging times. So here are my top 10 ideas for spiffing up your space without breaking the bank.

MM_0022_crop1. Paint: You’ve heard me say it before…there is no faster easier way to get dramatic change in your home than new wall color. Without a doubt the biggest bang for your buck.

2. Refinish worn pieces: If you have some tired furniture, a fresh coat of stain and varnish can breathe new life into the most tattered of pieces.

3. Recover or replace old lampshades: This is an easy way to add some spalsh. Recover your existing shades with a bright, bold pattern or trim. If that intimidates you, purchase new shades at any store that sells lighting.

img94i4. Reupholster: You love you grandmother’s chair, but the upholstery screams “old lady”. Have it recovered in a bright new fabric and viola…instant fabulous! Consider an animal print or a really vivid color…bright yellow or hot pink…not only will it add punch to any room but it’s unexpected.

5. Change the shower curtain, towels and accessories in your bathroom…you can have a new room for less than $100.

6. Rearrange your furniture: We all get so accustomed to seeing our furniture in the same arrangement, it’s hard to imagine it any other way. Truth is, most rooms will accomodate more than one floor plan. Try looking at your room as if seeing it for the first time, without attachment or emotion. Then rearrange, you’ll think you have all new things!

7. Add an area rug: A bold stripe or graphic rug will update your space quickly.

8. Repurpose: Get creative. Is a door always a door? Can it be a table top? A great piece of ironwork can become a beautiful piece of wall decor. Wire a ceramic vase into become a lamp (most local lamp stores sell supplies and/or will wire it for you.) Most everything can be used for another purpose, it just takes a little creativity.

9. Buy used: Now more than ever you can find amazing deals at garage sales, consignment shops, flea markets, salvage yards and online sources like Craig’s List and ebay. It takes some time, but the rewards can be huge. Remember what I said earlier about refinishing, reupholstering and repurposing.

transform-chair-after-m-m10. Add a punch of color: Paint a piece of furniture a bold color, add some accent pillows or a collection of objects. If it’s bright and unexpected, you’ll look like a design genius.

Most importantly, have fun. Do you have other budget-stretching decorating ideas? I’d love to hear them.


YOLO Colorhouse releases 36 new “hopeful” colors

Fans of YOLO Colorhouse paint now have 36 additional colors to immerse themselves in. The new palette, Hope, is a collection of beautiful colors that are a bit lighter and brighter than the Earth collection we have all grown to love. The fabulous women of YOLO have provided me with a short video. Take a look and let me know what you think.

For those of you that may not know YOLO Colorhouse… a brief introduction…YC is the brainchild of Virginia Young and Janie Lowe…both artists. They had a custom paint and plaster finish company in Portland, Oregon. In 2000 they made a commitment to use products that would have a lower impact the their health, that of their clients and the environment. They began experimenting with old recipes for clay- and milk-based paints,  and low- and zero-VOC products. The result is YOLO Colorhouse, a premium, zero-VOC paint that contains no ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, or crystalline silica or any of the other toxins normally found in paint.

I can tell you from personal experience that the YOLO paints have great coverage (not the case with most low/zero-VOC paint), there is no detectable odor, they’re durable and the colors are gorgeous. The brilliant ladies of YOLO also developed poster-sized swatches to make it much easier to choose the right color. No more squinting at those tiny swathes in fan books. How cool is that?

I hope you’ll consider YOLO the next time you have a paint project. You won’t be sorry. YOLO Colorhouse is available locally at brilliant environmental building products, in downtown Bend.

Color Trends for 2009/2010

tren_avat_01_mEvery year color trends are announced…for fashion, for cars, for residential design. I’m always very curious about these. One, I wonder about the process of determining these trends and two I like to see how I’m doing, as a designer, in staying with or ahead of the trends.

Recently I attended a presentation on color for 2009/10 by one of the large paint manufacturers. The parent company of said paint manufacturer has a division that researches and determines color trends for everything from the fashion industry to airlines and car manufacturers to their very own paint. Without going into too much detail, they look at many cultural, political and social influences to determine what we will want in the coming years. It is probably no surprise that most trends, color and otherwise start on the runway. Yes, fashion designers lead the way. From the time designs are shown during Fashion Week, it is 6–12 months for those designs to hit the stores. It is then another 3–5 years for those trends to translate into residential design.

So where are we headed? In the post-911 period, were cocooning, we wanted colors that were soft, safe and comfortable. This was the time of pink and chocolate brown. 2 years ago were gong out more, feeling more confident and secure. Colors started getting brighter – lots of oranges, bright greens and yellows. Today we are anchoring, we feel insecure…the world around us is uncertain. We are watching romantic movies and spending our hard-earned dollars on small luxuries. So for the next couple of years our colors will be grounded in the earth and looking to the sky. We want to feel terra firma supporting us, yet we are looking forward, upward – toward the next phase.

How does all of this translate into our homes? Four basic trends emerge…

tren_wond_01_mEarth: we are grounding ourselves in the basics. In this case looking back to industry…basic machinery, standard materials and true craftsmanship. The palette is made up of patinaed browns, industrial blues and greens. They are sturdy and honest. And connecting with our life’s journeys – spiritual, cultural, philosophical. It is a blending of urban, tribal and mixed-cultural references – rich earthy tones that can stand alone or be accents against saturated browns and inky blacks.

Sky: we are exploring fantasy. There is a blend of contradictions – ornate/minimal, modern/vintage, classic/neo-classic. The palette is romantic and dreamy – warm pinks and violets anchored by rich browns. And stepping into the  virtual world…a cartoonish, fantastic version of reality. The colors are clean shades of green, yellow and blue stabilized by black and white.

Much of we are seeing in these “new” palettes isn’t new at all. We’ve seen these colors before. What is new is the interpretation and the way we use them  – the saturated greens and blues are being balanced with black and white. The soft romantic tones are grounded with rich browns. Each of us will interpret these trends in our own way. The particular shade of color with the chosen accents and furnishings.

As always, stay true to who you are and your own aesthetic. Trends are exactly that…trends. They are forever changing and morphing. Don’t get too caught up in having to have the latest.

Paint Green!

pic_fourcans2There is so much talk about “green” products it’s almost impossible to know what to believe or where to start. One of the easiest ways for any of us, design professionals or not, to do what’s best for our environment and our health is PAINT. Virtually every paint manufacturer has a Low-VOC formula or two and there are a handful of Zero-VOC products available.

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are those nasty things that give paint its odor. And that’s the good news. They are also known to contribute to climate change, human illnesses, such as asthma and cancer, and to be a cause of “sick building syndrome.”  If you are sensitive odor or have allergies, Zero-VOC is a must for you.

Not all Low- or No-VOC paints are created equal. Many are thin and don’t tint well. A few of the product lines I like, mainly because of the exceptional coverage and colors are:ia_pri_aura_groupedcans_346x1941

  1. Aura by Benjamin Moore – a luscious paint with fantastic coverage (some of the best I’ve seen) and available in the full BM palette of 3300 colors
  2. Mythic Paint – developed by a university lab, also with great coverage
  3. Yolo Colorhouse – available in a limited but pretty terrific palette

And yes, most of these paints are a more expensive than their standard counterparts, but the ones mentioned above are worth it because you actually use less paint, they are better for your health and that of the planet.

You’ll be hearing more from me on the topic of environmentally-friendly and sustainably- manufactured products. We in the design and building industries need to take responsibility for the waste our professions create.homeimg2

Gray is the new white…or is it?

gasl_fawn_galli_013There’s a lot of talk out there about gray being the new wall color – replacing white as the neutral. Well, there are grays and there are grays. Where you live – the landscape and climate – will determine what gray – warm or cool; light, medium or dark will work in your home. For example if you live in a climate that has cold winters, or predominately gray skies you’ll want to choose a warmer tone. If you live in a sunny climate or a coastal area, a cool gray might be a better choice. 

Whatever gray you choose, the idea is that walls with color, in most cases, are better than white. White actually creates some pretty harsh contrasts. This is great if you are going for that look, but most rooms benefit for a bit of color. Color adds warmth and depth. Where mix and match furniture can look fractured in a white room, a soft wall color can suddenly pull it all together. So be brave and experiment. It’s only paint.

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