No Fail Paint Color Pairings (Part 2-Warm Colors)

While temperatures dip below freezing in the Northeast, writing a post on warm paint color palettes could not have come at a better time!  Dreaming of sun, sand and all things warm is a nice respite from this frigid weather.  This might be my longest post yet; so, buckle up, Babydolls!

I find that warm colors are more tricky to work with and harder to pair with other warm colors.  The undertones of warm colors vary so greatly making it difficult to find other colors that marry well with them.  That being said, there are a few tips I like to use when pairing these colors together.  But first, let’s start with some color palettes and pictures that illustrate these palettes before I launch into my tips. As a caveat, most computer screens and the screens of hand-held devices are all calibrated very differently.  This great effects the way these colors are viewed.  Please take paint chips home or buy paint samples to try out in the space you are looking to use them (viewing them during both the day and night) to ensure the color is right for you.

The colors below are colors we all know and love with a few updates.  Those who follow fashion know that when trends emerge from past trends, they are always tweaked to make them more current; paint colors are no different.

As I stated in my last post on this topic, try to use a dark, medium and light colors in each room adding a pop of color for interest and depth.  The palette I highlighted below features Springfield Tan, Yosemite Sand, Rustic Taupe, Nightfall and Cork.  A nice combination to use might be to have Springfield Tan on the walls, Yosemite Sand on the ceiling (this would look amazing), Rustic Taupe and Nightfall as your accent color and Cork as your pop.

The room below features sand colored walls with white trimmed box molding and pops of yellow and black.  Unless you have a high threshold for color and contrast, it is a good idea to limit your pop of yellow to accent and accessories that can easily be swapped out.  Yellow is one of the hardest colors to work with; therefore, when it comes to yellow, muted is best.  In my opinion, pastel yellow only belongs in a nursery.

2016 Warm Paint Colors


Image via Houzz

Here is a palette using a medium tone beige, a deep brown, cream and cherry red as an accent color.  I love this bright, almost pink pop of red.  This is a beautiful and more current red than was used 10 years ago. It is bright and saturated, yet still refined.  In designing a room using these colors, I would use the medium color, Baja Dunes on the walls; the dark and light color, Fallen timber and muslin, as accents and Rose Parade as the pop of color.  The dining room below is a very dramatic use of these colors.  This designer chose to paint the walls a very deep shade of brown, with white moldings, trim and mirror.  The pop of cherry red is used only on the upholstery, area rug and wall decor.

Image via Houzz – Tobi Fairley Interior Design


The deep brown (almost black) walls looks so rich with this shade of cherry red!

My last palette using warm colors features a color that a lot of people are afraid of: Orange.  I can understand one’s hesitation to use this color.  When searching through Designer portfolios for images using orange, I found more badly designed rooms using this color, than I did of rooms that used orange successfully.  I have a few tips just for this color alone.  When using the right shade of orange, in the right places, this color can add a fun pop or add a warm, comforting vibe to your space.   The palette below features a crisp white, White Dove; a light beige, Manchester Tan; a rich brown, Brown Horse and a saturated orange, Pumpkin Spice.

Tips for using orange:  Use orange in a space that gets a lot of natural light.  I would also suggest limiting this color to one wall.  Orange is a secondary color, it is a blend of red and yellow.  Choose an orange that has more red than yellow in it.  Therefore, I would opt for a medium to deep shade of orange over a lighter shade of this color. In addition, when incorporating metals with orange, I would suggest using gold over silver.

The rooms below use this color as an accent color to add depth to the space.  They both limit this color to strategically placed pops of orange.  The first room uses a deep dramatic brown for the wall color, adding a deep orange throw at the bottom of the bed and orange Hermes boxes on the nightstands.  The second room uses a lighter wall color with orange as the accent on the rug and upholstery.  Most importantly, the designers of both rooms kept the intensity of the orange (deep and rich for the first, rich and bright for the second), consistent with the other colors in the room.



Image via Houzz-Gary McBournie Inc.


Image via Houzz

Image via Houzz


Below are my pairings for those of you who like things a little bolder 🙂  These palettes are deep and dramatic.  There is much less variation in the intensity of the colors used in these spaces.  This palette features Sherwin Williams paints.

Bold Color Pairing-Sherwin Williams


Image via Houzz- Salins Group

Image via Houzz – Leigh Olive Mowry-Olive Interiors


Image via Pinterest – Blogspot

In the image below, I love how this designer created drama using the same color intensity for all colors.  Although this room is too dramatic for most people, it is really well done!  Green is a versatile color in that it plays well with both silver and gold.

Image via Pinterest – Studio M Interiors

This last room illustrates a classic black, white and red palette.  This palette will never go out of style.  However, this is a fresh interpretation that I love.  Most elements in this room are kept light and bright.  The use of black on the window grills adds a dramatic and upscale element.  It is as though this designer used kohl eyeliner to line the “eyes” of this room.  The designer showed restraint in leaving the window treatments simple to highlight this feature.  The red chairs are a perfect use of dramatic symmetry.  I am loving this dining room right down to the blown glass orb chandelier!


Image via Houzz-Spinnaker Development

Image via Houzz-Spinnaker Development

Ok, here are a few tips on warm paint pairings:

  1.  According to House Beautiful, warm colors are best used in south and east facing rooms.  South and east facing light is warm and will enhance warm paint colors.   To determine what direction your room faces, you can download a compass app on your phone.  Be sure to keep your phone (or compass) flat for most accurate results.
  2. As a general rule of thumb, gold is the best metals to use when accessorizing rooms using warm colors.
  3. Be cognizant of the type of light you are using in a room with warm paint.  Florescent light bulbs (never recommended) emit a very blue green light and will completely change the way your paint looks at night.  Incandescent light (most light bulbs) If you have nothing better to do, you can click here for more info on this topic 🙂

I will wrap this post up by expressing my deep appreciation for all of your kind, enthusiastic and supportive feedback. I appreciate each and every comment and private message I have received. This blog is a labor of love, and it is my hope that I am able to lessen the frustration and challenges that arise in home design.  Your feedback is immensely helpful and lets me know what you are interested in reading about.  Keep the suggestions coming 🙂

xo Laurie

No Fail Paint Color Pairings!! (Part 1-Cool Color Palette)

It is hard to get paint wrong when dealing with gray and beige.  Yet, one should not limit oneself to gray and beige alone.  Color is the fastest way to give any room a lift! Below are some NO FAIL color schemes to add interest to your rooms.  Every great paint palette consists of a dark , medium , light and pop of color.  With any of these palettes, the colors can all be used as paint applications. However, most of the time two to three paint colors are used and the other colors are brought in through furniture and accessories using these pops color.  As with any changes you make to your home, know thyself!  If your threshold for color is low, stick to the schemes in the first half of this post.  What you wear is a great indicator for your color threshold.  Take a look in your closet.  If you own very neutral (black included) clothing and very little color or pattern, you probably have a low threshold for color.  If you are looking to dip your toes in the “color pond”, start simple by adding only one pop of color to your room.  Painting (and wallpapering) the ceiling is one of my favorite design tricks for adding interest to any room.  However, I would recommend starting a little less ambitiously by keeping dark or accent colors to the bottom half of the room.

Part 1 of this post deals with the color schemes using cool colors such as gray, beige, blues and pinks.  It is impossible to get it wrong with these schemes.  At the end of the post, I will showcase a few bolder palettes for those of you who are more daring.  All of the paints used in the first part of this post are Benjamin Moore colors.

In the room below, the throw pillows and blanket are the dark color, the headboard features the medium color, the walls are the light color and the pillows and bench showcase the pop of color.

paint palette gray pink beige


This paint palette features Chelsea Gray as the dark color, Waynesboro as the medium Taupey color, Muslin as the light, fresh color and Melrose Pink as the pop of color.

This next palette showcases white, gray and blue.  The first room is a bold look that uses the pop of color liberally.  Painting the ceiling using the accent color creates major drama and visual interest.  The second room uses a softer palette with the pop of blue used on the pillows, art and ottoman.  The deep color is used on the rug to anchor the room, and the light color is used on the wall.

Beige, Navy, Gray and Pink Palette


Below is a gray, beige, cream and yellow paint palette. In these rooms, the pops of color are featured using accessories.



For the more daring, here are some pairings from BHG that will really take any room up a few notches.  Notice that all of the colors used are the same intensity.  Choose one color to serve as the main “anchor” color, and use the others as accents and pops to add visual interest.

A caveat to using a really bold color palette like the ones above is that any contiguous rooms should feature a neutral more subdued palette.  In addition, those rooms should have accessories which feature a few of the colors in your bold color room to create coherence.  There is nothing worse than every room featuring a different bold color.  It should never look as though Crayola had too many RBVs  and came home and vomited all over your home……..not good!!  Choose colors like Muslin and Carlisle Cream for the rooms that lead into your bolder rooms.

Next up is Part 2 of this post: Paint Color Schemes using warm colors.  STAY TUNED!!!  Let me know if there are any colors that you have been dying to use, and need help pairing with other colors.

Thanks for reading!

xo Laurie

7 of the BEST Home Design Trends For 2016

Home design trends are usually born from social or economic events or movements.  It was no coincidence (or surprise) that a more modern, clean and clutter free trend arose shortly after the economic crisis of 2008.  Some trends are fleeting (faux paint treatments and laminate floors), while others have more longevity (kitchen islands, dark stained floors & stainless steel appliances).

Traditional decor with skirted sofas, hunter green and bouillon fringe are long gone.  Traditional style has moved to a more streamlined and less fussy look.  That trend seems here to stay.

In recent years transitional design has been the ‘belle of the ball’.  Transitional design merges modern and traditional design.  This look appeals to those who want a cleaner, fresher look that still maintains a timeless quality.

Kitchen design is having a major moment in design this year.  Three of the top seven trends for 2016 are kitchen trends. Kitchens play a large role in the value of one’s home, so making this room a show stopper translates into a higher asking price (I’m sure my realtor friends can chime in on this topic).

Here are are the best trends for 2016 that will be here to stay:

  1. Mixed Material Kitchens –  Using different color cabinetry for perimeter cabinets and islands is not a new trend.  However, in 2016 there will be a lot more painted cabinetry in soft shades of blue, gray and  beige on perimeter cabinets with either a wood tone island, painted island in a complimentary color or a more rustic or industrial material.

The soft gray base cabinets ground this kitchen. The white upper cabinets look fresh and bright in this traditional kitchen.

2016 mixed cabinet kitchen 3

Gray perimeter cabinets provide a soft back drop. The dark stained island serves as the anchor in this transitional kitchen.

Kitchen Trends 2016

This soft color palette of white perimeter cabinets with a light gray island looks clean, airy and fresh in this transitional kitchen.

2.  No Upper Cabinetry – A trend that is emerging is the look of a more open kitchen.  These kitchens have very few, if any upper cabinetry.  I love the second look that has a row of windows above the counter tops.

Kitchen Trends 2016

No upper cabinets in this kitchen creates an open airy feel.


Kitchen Trends 2016

Love this look of having the windows right above the counters!

3. Black Stainless Steel Appliances – Stainless steel has pretty much taken over the look in appliances for quite a few years now.  It lends a professional look and adds just enough sparkle to the kitchen.  For 2016, black stainless steel is very on trend.  Although these appliances boast fingerprint-less design, they carry a pretty hefty price tag.

Kenmore black stainless steel fridge-Kitchen Trends 2016

Kenmore black stainless steel fridge

Kitchen Aid Black Stainless Steel Stove-Kitchen Trends 2016

Kitchen Aid Black Stainless Steel Stove

4.  Return of the Formal Dining Room –  Both Elle Decor and Houzz agree that people are no longer turning their dining rooms into home offices or media rooms.  People are ready to sit in a beautiful space to eat and reconnect with friends and family.

Interior Design Trends 2016

Everything from the geometric ceiling molding, to the monogrammed linen chairs is perfect. The proportions are spot on!!

Interior Design Trends 2016

5.  Outdoor Fabrics For Indoor Use – It seems as though we want to live in a beautiful and stylish space in 2016 without having to worry about keeping everything pristine.  This trend is great for creating a beautiful room that can withstand wear and tear from children and pets.

Interior Design Trends 2016 North of Chic6.  Statement Fireplaces – Every room needs a focal point.  Fireplaces create presence.  Below is a picture of my living room with a two sided fireplaces that leads into the dining room.  I placed it at eye level so it can be enjoyed from any seat in either room.



Statement Fireplaces-Design Trends 20167.  Bathrooms That Feel Like Living Spaces –  Adding seating or other furniture to relax on creates a spa-like atmosphere in a Master Bath.

Interior Design Trends 2016

A white narrow upholstered chair, furniture style vanity and hide rug create a chic Master Bathroom.

Interior Design Trends 2016

The dual frosted glass shower doors and blush upholstered chair lend a spa-like feel to this Master Bath.

Many trends have emerged in the last few years.  Already the list of trends that are no longer “in” is long.  Some of these are kitchen desks, whirlpool tubs, over the stove microwave ovens and the “keep calm and _____” signs (that should have never been “in” in the first place).

I am here to help you navigate through the trends in design.  As with any trend, ultimately you have to do what feels right for you.  Surround yourself with what you love and find appealing.  Let me know which trends for 2016 you like, or if there are any trends I’ve missed.

Next up is Paint Trends for 2016…..STAY TUNED!!

Xo Laurie


Show off your Shelves….Shelf styling secrets!

Since bookcases and shelves serve as a focal point in a room, it is important to get the styling of them right.  They create an opportunity to show all those who enter your home about you, your hobbies, family life and travels.  These displays help to put the finishing touches on your home, just as jewelry does for your outfit.

I won’t bore you about the horizontal and vertical planes of one’s home, and the importance that bookcases play in this balance.  So, I will jump right into my tips:

  1. decide on a color scheme (which should coincide or complement the rest of the space).
  2. keep color scheme limited to 3-5 colors.
  3. Provide an eye catching backdrop to add some drama to your displays.  In the pictures from Houzz and Pinterest below, this is illustrated beautifully.  Paint adds a pop of color (robin’s egg blue is my favorite), and wallpaper adds instant texture and dimension to your display.

Tidbits and Twine

Houzz- Erinn V Design Group

4.  If your shelves are adjustable, adjust the shelves to create different size openings to add accessories that you would like to showcase. The shelves can be set to different sizes like the first picture below, or can be set to different sizes in a more symmetrical pattern as shown in the second picture.


Houzz-Jamie Keskin Design


Houzz-Brooke Wagner Design

5.  Vary the height of the items you put in your display. Keep balance by keeping roughly the same number of tall items and shorter items used throughout.

6.  Add some texture to your display.  Add something shiny, bumpy, rough, spiky etc… The eye is drawn to texture as much, if not more, than color.

7.  Lastly, and most importantly, DO NOT CROWD your display.  Negative space is a beautiful concept in design!! It is the presence of negative space that allows your objects to shine!

I hope this helps when styling your bookcases! Let me know if you have any questions.  There are infinite possibilities in how you can style your shelves.  As with my post on patterns, I will post again to elaborate more on this topic!

xo Laurie