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Inspiration from Pottery Barn

Sometimes I surprise myself. I have nothing against Pottery Barn, but there isn’t much that they’ve offered in the past that grabbed me. Same goes for Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and the other chains that fall into this category that I call mainstream decorating stores. They appeal to the masses, but for those of us that are a bit less typical in our approach to design, we tend to go elsewhere for most of our finds or we repurpose what we have.


But lately I started looking at my Pottery Barn catalog again. I’m liking how they’re styling their rooms, the great paint colors they’ve rolled out to help many a home owner, and how they’re incorporating a bit more pattern and variety into their collection. I still wouldn’t buy a complete room-in-a-box from them because I’m far too eclectic and bossy — I need to incorporate a lot of me into my home and not someone else’s vision, but I don’t think Pottery Barn is trying to sell you on an entire room these days. I’m seeing lots of things in their rooms that you can’t buy in a PB store so seems they want us to mix it up a bit.

Know what else I’m liking about Pottery Barn lately? Their office furniture and accessories. The variety that they offer for the modern crafter or home office worker appeals to my taste because who wouldn’t love a huge linen pinboard like this or to sit on the Ryden desk chair with such pretty trim? And the sofia chandelier would totally work in a petite bathroom. Or for $49, this darling teardrop chandelier is perfect for an entry (marked down from $129) or over a bedside table.

Next time you pick up a Pottery Barn catalog, really get into the rooms they show and try to figure out the mind of a stylist. It’s a good exercise to help you spin your own creative wheels, especially helpful if you feel a bit rusty. Take for example this bedroom, the burst of these floral yellow branches coupled with a shot of pink at the foot of the bed looks really nice in this mostly neutral space. You can easily switch around these elements with each season with new colors to add a fresh new look to your bedroom. Simple swap out the flowers, a few pillows, and the throw. Try violet and green, violet and gray, blue and yellow, you get the idea. Another cool tip to steal from this room: the art over the bed. You can do something almost exactly like this by using your favorite wallpaper or fabric and mount it on wood or foam core.

Great example of a well styled wall. These objects all relate to one another via color and size and the groupings here are symmetrical. I remember learning years ago that in order to style a bookcase or shelf, you need to view it as a giant letter Z, in other words, the eye should follow the objects in that pattern, staggering from top to bottom. Interesting concept, isn’t it?

Foo dogs! Yay! Now this is a leap for Pottery Barn and I like it. Although I’m not keen on the desk and chair, I do like the turquoise glass and that wall of photos pinned to it (to the right of the desk). It looks very random and I like that. The grouping over the window makes the space feel a little too cramped in my opinion, so I’d leave it alone, but that inspiration wall looks great.

This desk is the ultimate for the modern crafter or even interior designer because you can work either seated or standing and you have lots of places to store your tools. Huge flat space for cutting, sewing, hand drafting, etc. Very nice. I also like the brightly painted accent wall. The rug and those large pictures on the wall — not so much. I’d put my inspiration board there so I’d have a spot for pinning everything.

This is a bit rustic for my taste but hello, did you see their doggy art wall? I mean an art wall in a Pottery Barn catalog? This is progress people. Maybe they found it all over on Etsy? :) Adorable. That tree coat rack isn’t bad though, I would paint it some crazy color or go all white with it, I don’t think black does it justice as you can’t really see what it is against the dark wood walls.

This blue headboard is really, really pretty. And if you get sick of blue, you can paint it because for me, I don’t feel nearly as guilty painting already painted furniture as I do painting over natural wood. I also picked up this idea here: if you’re not into bedside table lamps, opt for a mini chandelier.

Rug? Pretty but not for me. Curtains? Ditto. Desk? Yes! Especially with all those pretty things arranged inside. A great workstation option for those with laptops and no dedicated room at home for an office. You can use this for working and then when you’re finished, close up shop and no one will ever know that your china cabinet is doing double duty in your dining room. When you need to work, you can pull your dining room chair away from the table and open your cabinet and start visiting all of your favorite blogs again. ;)

This room is an example of what I meant earlier when I said that Pottery Barn is starting to mix color and pattern in unexpected ways. An animal print chair cushion with a modern floral blue rug? Although there’s several things I’d alter in this room, I can’t take my eyes off of that turquoise vase and those numbers. What is that anyway? A chalkboard? bag? calendar? I can’t figure it out.

I really like the medium blue wall behind the bed, the lamp, and the idea of a small bedroom functioning as an office simply by swapping a nightstand with a desk and an ottoman. Great use for a spare bedroom too. The duvet scares me a little for an adult bedroom.

And for those that are a bit color confused, PB has this clever section on their website that I think is extremely beneficial because they feature many painted rooms with the wall colors identified so you can run out and buy it. They even have an entire section devoted to kid’s rooms. Keep in mind that lighting plays a huge part in how these colors will look in your home, but still — it’s really helpful. There are 28 of their own Pottery Barn paint colors made exclusively for them by Benjamin Moore (great paint by the way) to choose from so you can click here to view them all.

(images from pottery barn)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, inspiration on February 05, 2008

Color Me Monday: Grassy Green

Fresh, energetic, natural, productive, green! Green has long been associated with many positives. It can mean brand new or renewed. Maybe you have a green thumb meaning that you’re good with plants. Green is also another word for cash so when you have a little extra green in your wallet that’s a positive. Going green is equally good, it means you’ve decided to live in a way that benefits the environment. And think back on some of our favorite childhood characters. Who didn’t like Mr. Green Jeans and Kermit? Still not sold on the color green? Watch this video. :)

Marimekko fabrics for Spring ’08.

From a cultural perspective, green is the color of Ireland and the traditional color of Islam because it’s a sacred color there. On the flipside, it also calls to mind a few negatives, poison for one. Remember Mr. Yuk stickers? It can also point to a lack of experience, jealousy or being green with envy. When I think of grassy green, I think of Ireland and Kate Spade. What about you? I’ve been thinking a lot about this color over the past few days and I’ve decided that it will forever be a positive color in my eyes and when it comes to the best rooms for it, I prefer seeing it in the bedroom, office, or bathroom. Here are a few of my favorite finds that may whet your appetite for this fresh Springtime hue!

Some of my favorite green finds for the home: Mariette pillow and the Inanda pillow both via Anthropologie, sowa salt + pepper shakers, STAACH Cain collection slatted bench, perry street frame from Kate Spade, and trellis green wallpaper fom Ballard Designs.

Other fun finds: Stella lamp, Lucy frame and alarm clock all from Pottery Barn. A lamp like this would look great on a lacquered white desk or console. I love the idea of green in an office because it gives me feelings of energy, calm, and balance. It’s particularly nice mixed with white and violet or turquoise.

And when it comes to paint, isn’t this Benjamin Moore stem green 2029-40 just beautiful on the walls?

Great dining room via Western Interiors magazine. Would you like to see more inspiring rooms in this color? Click here.

(images linked above)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, inspiration on February 04, 2008

Pantone Color Forecast {Spring + Fall ’08}

Many know about Pantone, the mega color standards company who unveils color forecasts for each season — today their Fall ’08 forecast was released to the public on their website. I always download mine and print it out in color so it’s handy. It’s important for all designers to preview the next it colors – from interiors to fashion, product, and beyond.

Spring ’08 Palette.
“Refreshing splashes of invigorating brights punctuate classic, versatile neutrals as designers offer a playful spring palette for endless exploration and creative combinations. Variations on popular colors such as energizing red, cool, waterborne blue and eco-friendly greens also play a key role this season.” – Pantone

Pantone scours advertising, magazines, movies, websites, and other facets of pop culture to unearth color cues, even surveys of socio-economic trends, art exhibits, and considering even the state of the global economy. After intense research and analysis, they sell colors to clients a few years in advance and then poll them to discern popular choices so they can then produce color planning guides that influence the multitudes. I walked around for years thinking these trends just happened for no reason at all. But oh no, everything is calculated. That’s why it’s critical for you to know what the color forecast is for each season because then you can use it as a guide in your design in order to stay current.

Fall ’08 Palette.
“Best described as a season of change, fall ?08 is defined by rich, elegant hues that offer a vibrant selection. New York’s fashion designers emphasize cooler blues, greens and purples in the top five tones used in their collections, followed by variations of warm red, orange and yellow.” – Pantone

Here are the Fall ’08 color trends in fashion. These trends are mirrored in home design, too. Here’s the Spring forecast in case you missed it. Now when you browse current magazines and catalogs you can look for these colors.
(images from pantone)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips on February 01, 2008

The Unsinkable Color Brown

By Rachel Perls of Hue Consulting, decor8 guest writer.

Ah, good ol? brown. Woodsy, earthy, dependable. It?s not actually a spectral hue, but a dark version of orange. All the same, rustic, wholesome brown is a staple in interior design and deserves its moment of glory.

via: LivingEtc.

What words come to mind when you think of brown? Snuggly, rich, comfy, natural, soothing, luxurious and warm may be a few. It?s also a safe choice, if red shouts, then brown is a soft hum. Brown’s pale sibling, beige, is a very popular wall color here in the states. No wonder IKEA targeted us with their popular “Be Brave, Not Beige” campaign including a fun website dedicated to encouraging the infusion of saturated color into the home, especially the ‘typical’ American one. While I believe strongly in the use of color in a space, I?m not entirely against beige and its milky cohorts. From buff to burgundy, rust to wheat, brown can give you a huge range of looks and whether understated or bold, it’s often a terrific canvas to work from.

Subdued colors shown here in Laura’s Bohn soothing
living room via the New York Social Diary.

Soft and cozy via: LivingEtc.

via: House to Home UK.

These neutral tones can work quite in supporting roles: to provide a backdrop to accent pieces, or maintain continuity between stronger tones. The warm mushroom chaise lounge works wonderfully here as a counter-balance to the soft grey wall.

Here, deep brown paint provides weight and a sense of depth in this sitting area. Chocolate also look lovely in smaller spaces, such as an entry, kitchen, or bathroom. via: Homes and Gardens UK.


Wood floors are a basic component of most homes. And wood furniture. Most people stop there, concluding that since wood is brown all wood furniture must match. Right? Have you ever considered that each variety, while still ?brown?, has a different undertone? Cedar, pine, oak, cherry wood tones range from red, to orange, blonde or even blush. via: Flooring Express.

Chocolate bread pudding cupcakes with toasted walnuts, homemade
toffee, and cream by Cheryl Porro, recipe here.

Think of the food craze for a moment, chocolate and coffee. Ranging from milky caf? au lait to triple shot espressos, cupcakes, and cookies. Not only does chocolate taste great, but it can create a genuine sense of warmth and security, while stirring up your appetite. No wonder that it’s called Comfort Food. (Now I?m hungry!)

Speaking of food, aren?t these walls below simply edible? Brown is an excellent choice when you want to set off a more saturated hue. Think about contrast – dark against light, muted against bright. Brown and orange, or turquoise, or pink…

Think Martha Stewart brown and the baby blue craze via Domino magazine.

via GV Interiors.

How?s this for a decadent feeling Kelly Wearstler-esque space?
via Domino magazine.

All grown-up in this variation with cerulean blue seating
and textured walls. via: LivingEtc.

Here?s a nod to the brown and pink fad. via: Zia Priven Lighting.

A passion for purple? This unexpected combination really
works in this space. Warm brown is rustic, while purple adds
a modern playful touch. Love it! via: The Rug Company.

You can also go light and airy with a touch of vintage.
This seems to be all the rage at the moment. via: LivingEtc.

via: LivingEtc.

Or you can try brown with a little navy and lilac, a bit more masculine
and sophisticated while still providing relaxation and comfort. via: LivingEtc.

via: West Elm.


via: Domino magazine.


Texture and pattern are important considerations when you?re mixing monochromatic (one color) elements. To dabble in brown, start with accent pieces: a throw pillow or piece of artwork. Amenity Home has a beautiful range of textile pieces to bring nature inside.

By combining lights and darks, and layering different textures together, basic brown spaces can become anything but boring. Do you like using it in your space? I bet you have more of it around than you realize!

[To read more of Rachel's posts on decor8 about color, click here. Thank you Rachel for stopping in today, with chocolate lining all the aisles of stores, your timing is great!]

(images all linked above to their source.)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, guest bloggers on January 28, 2008

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