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Real Simple Reports: Mixing Florals

I really enjoyed the feature in Real Simple on mixing florals with patterns; I think they nailed it when they said, “Mix them with colorful stripes, polka dots, and gingham checks in complementary tones.” That really sums up the process, the key word being ‘complementary’.

Many fear the process of mixing various patterns and prints in a room. Layering is actually quite painless. Grab a color wheel and a good book on color combinations, and/or take a color theory class at your local art school. Introducing yourself to new ideas via classroom instruction enhances your life in so many ways, especially in the cold months, it helps fight creative stagnation and feelings of depression. You’ll also make new friends and tap into parts of yourself you never knew existed.


Of course, visual learning through the pages of your favorite magazines doesn’t hurt, either. The more you expose yourself to beauty and good design, the more your brain starts to pull all the pieces together and you find your own creative voice, you develop your own ‘eye’ for style. I do believe that people are born with talent, but I also think developing a good eye can be trained if you’re not one who was born with the ability to effortlessly throw things together to result in something pleasing. Try, try, try, again!


(images from real simple)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, diy, tips on February 28, 2007

Beachy Blues

By: Rachel Perls, decor8 guest contributor

What color makes you feel calm, peaceful, and serene? I?m betting for many of you, it is the color blue. Something embedded deep within our psyche is drawn to it. It represents what we cannot live without: air and water. Blue makes us think of the ocean and the sky, ever ebbing and flowing, limitless and ethereal.

Outside, your world might look cold, grey and uninviting, like this:

You can still get that feeling of ‘a perfect summer day at the shore’ inside your house by using a palette of blues, like this:

The “Beachy Keen” blues are serene, tranquil, and dependable. Try a splash of powder blue on your walls (or ceiling!), a soft blue-grey striped rug, or a cobalt blown glass vase. Mix it up with blues carrying red undertones, like periwinkle, and green undertones, like aqua.

A word of caution about the blues – too much of this hue can appear cold, sterile, or depressing. Avoid this by balancing your blue with a touch of warmth from the other side of the color spectrum. This can easily be accomplished by adding punch with orange art, colorful Mediterranean tiles, wicker or wood furniture.

Looking for inspiration to complete your ocean-feeling space? Remember Diane Keaton?s Hampton house in the movie “Something?s Gotta Give“? This is a classic example of elegant, beach styling. The design was so popular that people were having their interior designers use freeze frames from the movie to copy for their own homes.

via SDSA. Set Decoration by Beth Rubino, SDSA.

via SDSA. Set Decoration by Beth Rubino, SDSA.

So take cues from these inspirations and your favorite beach vision. Juxtapose blues against crisp whites, grays and neutrals, and you will have your perfect beach retreat, even if you are stranded far inland!

To delve further into the world of color, please visit Rachel?s blog Hue.

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, guest bloggers on February 23, 2007

For the Love of Reds

Rachel Perls, a decor8 reader, an artist, and an IACC accredited color consultant, wrote in recently to tell me all about what she does and how color consultants help people chose just the right mix of hues for their home, office, product design or marketing. I thought it would be fun to have her write a bit about color and how it affects our mood, starting with Red, often known as the color of love and passion. Rachel, take it away…


For the Love of Reds

By decor8 contributor: Rachel Perls

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re paying tribute to the color red. Ever notice how this color gets all the attention? Ah red, so passionate, so fiery. Like that crimson velvet sofa you can’t help but drool over. Reds make statements, whether a brilliant ruby, understated burgundy, or sexy fuchsia. A study in contradictions, they can represent love or hate, sex or innocence, power or passivity.

(images top left clockwise: Design Assistant, Domino, House + Home, Miles Redd.)

Why does red tug on your emotions? Scientific studies have shown that the color can actually induce physiologic changes. As a visual stimulant, red can accelerate a heart rate and cause an adrenaline rush. As such a dominant color, red works great as an accent: a rich scarlet Oriental rug, cheerful cranberry throw pillows, or cluster of persimmon-hued candles can really perk up a space. And for bigger spaces, by first understanding the different personalities of this stimulating hue, it can be used to its fullest potential. A heart-pounding fire red will evoke a dramatically different response than that of a cool, regal wine red or a soft, romantic pearl pink.

More than any other color, red has the ability to stir up emotions and set a mood. Because of its incredible power, take care in its application to avoid over-stimulating your audience.

For professional advice on effective use of color, please visit Rachel?s blog Hue.

(images top left clockwise: Ralph Lauren, Eastern Accents, CB2, Pottery Barn.)

Any questions for Rachel regarding Red? Ask her by commenting below.

[Update: Reader Vanessa pointed us over to a fabulous article on Red over on NPR. It examines how Red has been used throughout the ages, and for those who haven’t taken a color theory class, I think you’ll find it rather fascinating. Thanks, Vanessa]

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, guest bloggers on February 14, 2007

Inspiration Saturday

From bakeries to grocery store aisles, stationery boutiques to window displays, pink is everywhere, and so pretty! And if you’re feeling the love, don’t fight it – think pink and dress your table for that perfect romantic meal for two. Here’s a bit of inspiration to get you started…


(images from country living)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, inspiration on February 11, 2007

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Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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