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Color Inspiration

Color Inspiration

Back in Black

October 22, 2007

“Back in Black”
By Rachel Perls of Hue Consulting, decor8 guest writer

Fall is finally here; our palette has turned to deep, rich, autumnal colors. With the colder weather approaching, we move indoors, looking forward to making our spaces warm and cozy for the months ahead. Light, airy whites and pastels are tucked away in storage, and denser, muted tones become more prevalent, ushering in a feeling of weight, comfort and stability.

Back in Black Via Domino magazine.

Back in Black via Location Works

Black is a strong, dependable color that becomes quite prevalent in home decorating during this season. It has a sense of permanence, and solidity that is reassuring. How decadent and glamorous is this room shown above? Black represents sophistication and substance. The ultimate chic color for cocktail parties and black-tie affairs, it can morph into a completely different interpretation with a simple change of context.

Back in Black Via Surround

People react quite strongly to this hue, which is actually the absence of all pigment. It signifies mourning in many cultures, as well as danger, or the supernatural. It is ominous, the fear of the unknown. Black represents power, which can be reassuring, or scary, depending upon whom wields it.

Back in Black via Living Etc

Back in Black via Living Etc

One combo that packs a punch is black and yellow. In nature, black and yellow color patterns communicate to predators that an animal is dangerous, like stinging wasps or poisonous snakes. We?re biologically conditioned to pay special attention to this color duo.

Back in Black Via CB2

Another popular match is black and red. It has a strong Asian flair, and looks amazing in lacquered finishes.

Back in Black Via West Elm

Back in Black Via Domino magazine

A fresh, modern variation of the red and black theme substitutes fuchsia for the red, lightening the mood considerably.

Back in Black Via Domino magazine

Or experiment with orange and black, another stunning combination.

Back in Black Via Domino magazine

Have you considered pairing black with kelly green?

Back in Black Via Domino magazine

When paired with other bright colors, black works as a unifying element. How fun is this treatment? I feel like I just stepped into a pop art painting.

Back in Black Via Purple Design

Back in Black Via Robin Bell Interiors

Bathrooms are a great place to experiment with dramatic tones.

Back in Black Via House and Garden magazine

Trend-wise, I?ve read that dark cabinets for kitchens are very hip these days, Susan from the blog The Kitchen Designer, is a terrific source for trend watching in this area of the home. But be forewarned about those oh-so-popular black granite countertops. Ergonomically, they are horrible for your vision because there isn?t enough contrast between the work surface and your kitchen items; this causes eyestrain.

Back in Black Via HGTV

Just by tweaking the texture, surface, and tone of black, you can create vastly different moods. This shiny kitchen by Miles Redd is really over the top, but I thought it was so fun, I couldn?t resist.

Back in Black Here, a room by Nicole Sassaman has a soft matte black wall of chalkboard paint.

Back in Black Via Living Etc.

Back in Black
If you don?t know where to start, accent pieces and dark flooring are great places to begin introducing ebony into your spaces. (Remember the Nate Berkus NYC Aparment reveal on Oprah?) Black can look great with almost any color, especially if it is used with contrasting lighter colors. You absolutely need the contrast, so don?t go too overboard with this inky tone.

Any questions regarding black that you have? Please leave your question or comment below and I’ll gladly do what I can to answer!

(images linked accordingly above. some links via desire to inspire.)






Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips

White Inspiration – Flickr Slideshow

September 20, 2007

If white hasn’t inspired you yet, I pulled together this set featuring 285 of my favorite mostly white photos for your enjoyment. I think it will do the trick! From products to rooms, animals to nature, I think you’ll like clicking through these gorgeous images. All of them have been featured on decor8 at one time or another, so for long time readers, you should recognize many of them. It’s fun to see them all grouped together!

White Inspiration - Flickr Slideshow
You can also view them as a slideshow against black right here and adjust the speed to slow, medium or fast in the lower left corner. I hope you like it. Have fun!






Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips

The Beach Studios

September 20, 2007

Let’s continue the theme of white for a moment with a glimpse into the properties offered to the film and photography industry by The Beach Studios in the UK. They have some of the most outstanding real estate where white is the “it” color and quite heavenly.

The Beach Studios
I enjoy looking at spare spaces, especially since I’m not sure if I could live in one without splashes of bold color and pattern, but for those that can I tip my hat to you because I don’t think I could survive amidst a white canvas without doing something to it. Again, it’s design ADD. At the rate I change things around in my own home, I think an all white space would last about a week for me. Funny thing is, I feel the most relaxed and focused in a white room. So why don’t I have at least one in my home? It’s a question I’ve asked myself for some time now.

The Beach Studios
Let’s enjoy these white spaces for a moment, shall we? Be sure to study each image, examine placement of objects and why white ‘works’ in each room. Perhaps there’s a beautiful view, various tones of white being used, texture, a slight burst of color…

The Beach Studios I’m not one to gravitate towards leather furniture, but this worn leather chair looks so cozy, it really warms up the space. I also like seeing twinkle lights around mirrors, I do the same thing but not for holidays, year round. I also arrange entire strands of them inside of large glass vases, they look pretty on top of tall cabinets, on the fridge, or in the corner of a living room. Just be sure to purchase the lights with the white cord, green looks dreadful!

The Beach Studios Shots of pink! Yay! This space is so glamorous, a modern day Marilyn Monroe. I picture a very successful leggy blonde at this table. Gwen Stefani, perhaps?

The Beach Studios More delicious pale pink. And a shot of seafoam green. Yum. Of course, these rooms all have the most amazing bones, from the floors to the ceilings, so how can you go wrong decorating a space like this?

The Beach Studios Now we’re seeing the space with black accents. Nice combination. Black and white consistently wins awards, it’s such a classic.

The Beach Studios More mini shots of seafoam green. Wouldn’t you fancy a spot of tea at this well arranged table? I see more and more bench seating at tables than ever before. I like a bench like the one shown above against the wall, paired with two chairs. I’ve been thinking of trying this look, it’s a nice mix. My friend Crystal in Montreal has a very rustic farmer’s table paired with a church pew and a few chairs. The pew came from a church that had closed, she grabbed it, cleaned it up a little, and made a cushion for it out of white linen.

The Beach Studios Not much to this simple shed space (perhaps that’s the appeal?), but I can imagine it transformed into the most lovely guest house or art studio. This setting speaks to me on every level. It’s so serene. I want to own a shed like this someday.

The Beach Studios A shot of blue overhead (canisters) gives this kitchen some personality. I like the birdcage on the back cabinet and the chandelier, but it seems a bit high for my taste. I wouldn’t be able to stop there though with my accessories, I’d stack vintage tea towels on the counter and add a colorful stripey rug beneath that table. Fresh flowers on the table in a vintage pitcher (yellow?). And a painting. Must have art.

For more on white interiors, click here.

(images from the beach studios uk)






Color Inspiration

It’s All White

September 20, 2007

By Rachel Perls of Hue Consulting, decor8 guest writer

White is the color of whipped cream and popcorn, of fresh snow and fluffy clouds. It is the presence of all colors in light, but the absence of color in pigment. White has the vibrancy to rival the brightest hues, so should not be considered a neutral. Think of whitewashed buildings in Greece overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean.

It's All Whitevia: Flickr

A common misconception is that white, in and of itself, will make a space bigger and brighter. Much of this depends on the lighting-just picture that small, dark hallway with white walls. It tends to look grey and dingy, doesn?t it? Without light streaming through a big window, it doesn?t work. I must admit, as a color consultant, trained in the psychological and physiological effects of color, I try to steer my clients away from using too much white. From a scientific perspective, studies have shown that it has little, if any, positive psychotherapeutic value. But, these articles on color are good exercises in learning how to embrace something that you might otherwise wrinkle your nose at. And so, without further ado, I bring you, white!

It's All White via: Location Works

Signifying purity, simplicity, and the barest of essentials, white is a favorite of designers and architects for sparse modern spaces.

It's All White via: It's All White via: Shabby Chic

It?s also been embraced for a more country feeling; think Rachel Ashwell?s Shabby Chic. Thought of as clean and pristine, you have to be careful not to over-do using white because it runs the risk of appearing cold, lacking emotional warmth, even clinical.

It's All White via: Homes and Gardens

It's All White via: Living Etc

To avoid this effect, off-whites such as ivory, cream, and whites tinted with colors can be layered in, adding texture and softness.

It's All White One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

It's All White One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

It's All White One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

It?s a great place to start with your big ?base? pieces: the couch, fireplace mantle and side chair. Then bring in other colors to really customize the space to your taste. Same basic elements, totally different feel to each.

It's All White Via: Elle Decor

White is great as an accent, to add contrast, and provide a unifying element through spaces. For instance, white trim, molding and floorboards. Or how about this great idea – artwork all framed in white-so sharp!

It's All Whitevia: GV Interiors

It's All Whitevia: Southern Accents

White kitchens are quite popular. As a super duper messy cook, my white cabinets and stove are my undoing; every tiny little splatter glares back at me. It sure does look lovely paired with some soft blues, doesn?t it?

It's All White via: Fired Earth
It's All White via: Living Etc

It's All White via: Beach Studios

Another way to avoid white?s side effect of sterility is to bring in different textures and natural materials. I love the bathroom shown above with soft, natural stone and creamy colored tiles. Just think about all the different materials you can use, all with vastly different looks- stone, ceramic tile, painted wood?

It's All White via: Location Works

It's All White via: Location Works

These rooms use the same color scheme, but look at how a few key pieces can completely change its character.

White is a blank canvas, and really is there for you to project your personal tastes and styles upon. How do you feel about white? How do you use it in your home?

{Thank you Rachel for stopping in with your post about white. To read more of Rachel’s insights on color, visit her blog or previous articles written for decor8 right here. -holly}






Color Inspiration

Sunday Inspiration

August 12, 2007

If you find yourself avoiding a particular color, try to experiment with that hue via photography. I recently set off to study purple and I am so glad I did because I learned something about myself. I don’t dislike purple. I dislike fully saturated purple, but I love the less intense shades, the muted violets, especially stunning when combined with pink, turquoise, and gray. Or with yellow and pale green. Here are a few photos that I took yesterday. When I uploaded them to my computer, I sat in my chair in awe. I’m a believer. I want to start working with purple more in my life. Can you see why?

Sunday InspirationSunday Inspiration
I don’t know if this exercise will work for you, but whenever you find yourself disliking a color, take out your camera and challenge yourself to photograph only things in the color you dislike. Keep at it for a few weeks. It’s usually not the color but the level of intensity of that particular hue that turns you off. A highly saturated color is quite intense, but a less saturated color is more on the muted side, far less vivid, and has more gray in it. Maybe your photography exercise will help you see your least favorite hue in a whole new way. Ha! I guess you can say that I needed to adjust my lens in more ways than one because my camera helped me to see purple, I color I avoided for years, in a whole new light!

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me, And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter…But maybe I ought to practice a little now, So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple?” – Jenny Joseph, Author

(image by holly becker for decor8)






Color Inspiration

Color Conversation: Podcast

August 3, 2007

Here is a link to the podcast that I told you about yesterday, the topic is color, and I interview Rachel from Hue Consulting during the first half and the second half, I chat with Marisa from Creative Thursday. All three of us really hope you enjoy it!

Color Conversation: Podcast
Tip: The podcast is 55 minutes long, so you may want to download it and listen to it in two parts. If I host a podcast in the future, I know to keep it to around 20 minutes next time, but if you love color and would like to learn more about it from the perspective of a professional color consultant (Rachel) and a full-time painter (Marisa), I truly think it’s worth your time to listen in. I played it while organizing my office this morning and really enjoyed what both ladies had to say. :)

To read previous posts on decor8 by Rachel on color, click here. She covered all of the primary and secondary colors so well. I should have her back to talk to us about white and maybe black now. Hmm…

Here’s a link over to the podcast.

(The above photo is part of a creative exercise I started yesterday, which was inspired by my conversation with Rachel and Marisa. I decided to photograph a mini view of a room I imagine, laying only very few items on a white surface and photographing them, almost in color tray style. For this one, I imagined a nursery since our closest friends in Germany are having a baby. Maybe you would like to try this creative exercise as well, taking a picture of a few things that you imagine in a particular room? If you do, let me know and I’ll start a little flickr group or something where we can deposit them. Just for fun.)

(image from holly becker)






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