Category Archives: Color

STAGING A PURPLE PASSION

DINING ROOM LIVING ROOM AFTER

DINING ROOM LIVING ROOM AFTER

You have to share the rest of the world with everyone else.  But, your home is yours alone.  So you get to decorate it the way you want, right?  Absolutely!  Until you are ready to sell that is!

If you’re planning to put your property on the market you have to take your personal decorating preferences out of the equation.  Even though your home may be beautifully decorated, you have to remember your taste might not be the majority’s taste.  Nothing personal…. it’s business.  While it’s hard to separate years of memories and personal style from it, real estate transactions really are purely business or should be.  If you’re having a hard time seeing past your decorating preferences and all those fond memories, hiring a professional stager is a great way to help you gain needed perspective on this important financial transaction.  We’ve just had the pleasure of working with mom and daughter in South Elgin to do just that.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE

LIVING ROOM BEFORE

LIVING ROOM AFTER

LIVING ROOM AFTER

Starting with a staging consultation a few weeks ago, we determined just what needed to change in order for their updated, single family home to appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers.  Beautifully decorated, clean and largely de-personalized, this home had one glaring problem.  We’ll just call it the purple elephant in the room… and the purple paint, purple rugs, purple sofa, purple towels, purple shower curtain, purple accessories.  Well, you get the idea!  While a lifelong love of purple had made this house a home for our client, we decided it might not serve her as well while trying to sell her home.

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE

FAMILY ROOM AFTER

FAMILY ROOM AFTER

After agreeing on a staging budget, we went to work crafting a plan to subtract as much purple as possible while making the rest appeal to buyers.  We picked neutral paint colors to address the purple walls in the master bedroom as well as other areas that needed a fresh coat.  We also had the forest green fireplace tile surround primed and neutralized for a more updated look.

DINING ROOM BEFORE

DINING ROOM BEFORE

DINING ROOM AFTER

DINING ROOM AFTER

While that work was being completed, we went shopping for things we could layer in to create even more visual appeal and to play down the purple elements (like the sofa) that couldn’t be removed.  New ‘staging’ art, a couple of slip covers, new window panels, throw pillows, shower curtain and accessories were just enough.  On the day of staging, we rearranged furniture and removed area rugs to show off the beautiful hardwood floors and maximize the visual square footage.  We repositioned many of the homeowner’s things while layering in jewel tone teal and cream accents to compliment and “distract” from the purple.  Purple is an awesome accent color on its own and one of my favorites as well.  In this case, however, we needed to introduce an even stronger accent like the rich teal so the purple would act more like a unifying neutral.

OFFICE BEFORE

OFFICE BEFORE

OFFICE AFTER

OFFICE AFTER

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER

GIRL'S ROOM BEFORE

GIRL’S ROOM BEFORE

GIRLS ROOM AFTER

GIRLS ROOM AFTER

BOY'S ROOM BEFORE

BOY’S ROOM BEFORE

BOY'S ROOM AFTER

BOY’S ROOM AFTER

HALL NICHE BEFORE

HALL NICHE BEFORE

HALL NICHE AFTER

HALL NICHE AFTER

The end result speaks for itself.  With selective editing, improved flow and furniture placement and the additional pops of color and texture, the “neutralized” purple now shines in this home.   In a great location with great curb appeal and a beautiful back yard and pool, this purple elephant won’t be on the market long!

 

 

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GROWING INTO A HOT PINK BEDROOM

AFTER

Kids grow up so fast.  Tastes and personalities mature & change as they should, usually faster than we might want.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with a child’s ever-changing taste and it can get expensive, quickly.  So, it’s really important to repurpose when you can and make the most of what still works while still representing the child’s “current” personality.

Who better to know the changing moods and tastes of a soon-to-be teenage daughter than a mom?  A repeat client called me for input on a bedroom redo she had started for her daughter for Christmas.  Her little girl was growing up quickly and she wanted to transition her away from the pastel pinks of childhood into a more suitable palette she could grow into as a teen.

Mom had scoured Pinterest.com, Houzz.com and other home decorating sites for inspiration for the project.  And continuing with her daughter’s love for pink, she’d been inspired by numerous photos of rooms built around hot pink, black & white.

BEFORE

BEFORE

A neighbor friend had already painted the dressers and bed off white.  Hot pink drawer fronts and repurposed hardware, spray painted black, finished the furniture update.  Since a little hot pink can go a long way, especially in a bedroom, I suggested we calm the pink with neutrals in white, gray and black to anchor and balance the energy of hot pink.  Appropriately-named “Repose Gray” SW 7015 by Sherwin Williams seemed like a logical choice to replace the pastel pink walls in the new big girl bedroom.

After painting, new black window panels were added.  New bedding featuring hot pink sheets and pillow cases calmed by a white quilted cover, matching shams and black throw pillows were perfect for the new look.  A zebra skin rug, matching throw and pillow added some much needed pattern without introducing unwanted colors.  Before the restyle, mom and I had spent some time finding new art, lamps, and “blingy” accessories to pull the entire look together.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

The end result, which only took a few hours to pull together, is sure to be a hit on Christmas morning when the “banished” daughter is allowed back into her bedroom to see what Santa’s elves have been working on for the last few weeks.  I can’t wait to get a report!

AFTER

AFTER

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

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TEAL-ICIOUS COLOR MADE SIMPLE

Decorating around a favorite color is the best way to be sure you’ll love the end result.  Of course, there is a fine line between done and overdone.  So, it’s important to find balance!  A good color story for any space will always consist of at least three colors.  Using the foolproof 60-30-10 color formula to help bring balance to your color palette will keep you from making unnecessary mistakes.

What’s the 60-30-10 formula you ask?  First, 60 percent of the color you see in the space  should be your background or base color (usually the wall color).  Next, 30 percent of the visible color palette should compliment and coordinate with the base color (usually found in window fashions, rugs, carpet or upholstery).  Finally, the remaining 10 percent generally contrasts and “fights” with the base becoming a punch color in decorative accents like art, pillows and accessories!

BEFORE

BEFORE

 

AFTER

AFTER

In the case of this recent family room project in Huntley’s Talamore community, we found ourselves working with walls already painted our client’s favorite color…a soft teal.  Making a strong color statement with a “background” color like teal, it was important to compliment it with a coordinating color that calmed it.  In this case, we added our 30% in drapery panels and an area rug with a neutral, cream background.  Our punch 10% color ended up being the trendy teal partner… chartreuse green.  As you can see from the After photo, the green is represented sparingly in the rug, throw pillows, window panels and accessories.

BEFORE

 

AFTER

AFTER

Starting from scratch when picking colors can be a daunting task for many homeowners. Using the 60-30-10 formula to create a space that you love grounded in your favorite color guarantees success!

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs!

 

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NOT SO SLEEPY HOLLOW

It’s funny what some people think of interior decorators without ever really having worked with one.  Maybe the presumptions come from watching too many HGTV reality shows.  Or, maybe it’s a horror story told by a friend of a friend about some rogue designer with a penchant for snakeskin.

We’ve recently been working on a project in nearby Sleepy Hollow, IL not to be confused with a different horror story set in the spooky hamlet of Washington Irving lore.  But, it’s still kinda fun to tell people you’re working in Sleepy Hollow, especially this time of year.

During our meet & greet prior to consulting the job, my client admitted that she had never worked with a decorator/designer.  And while she was excited to see what I’d bring to the project, she wanted to make sure that her family’s eclectic personality and taste would shine through.  It was especially important to her that her love of color wouldn’t be ignored since she’d been told by “someone” that a decorator would neutralize everything.  I must have answered all her questions correctly since we set up a color consult for the entire house (inside and out) that same day.

Love of color is a great thing.  So many people are afraid of it.  In reality, most spaces share the same elements like furniture, art & accessories.  Apart from style, the use of color is the key element that distinguishes a space.  The trick is finding the right balance between decorating with color and DECORATING WITH COLOR.  Too many people try to decorate primarily with wall color and then match everything to it.  In reality, it is far easier to simplify your color palette for the walls and then accent them with colorful window treatments, artwork, pillows and accessories.  These items can be changed far more easily when the mood strikes than re-painting a room.  That doesn’t mean wall color can’t play a part in your design.  But it shouldn’t be the only thing that makes a statement in your space.  And it shouldn’t be so bold that it detracts from everything else.  So, that’s exactly what we did for this project… neutralizing where necessary and accenting with color where appropriate.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

After the entire house was re-painted, we brought in the finishing touches that unified the look and played with the client’s existing eclectic decor.  With bold punches of color that complimented the paint job, we were able to layer in the elements that made the wall colors “make sense”.   With accents of coral, teal, lime green, sherbet orange and bold yellow, the wall color choices throughout the home were tied together into a color story that is uniquely theirs.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

While too colorful for many, the blend of vibrant colors was just right for this family.  The husband, who is generally attracted to more neutral colors, admitted that he “wouldn’t change a thing”.  Especially, when he saw how well everything worked together and how happy his wife was with the results.

Tweaking furniture placement and styling the rooms made a difference in the end result.  But the real eye-catcher in this home is the bold use of color that makes our client happy.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

 

 

 

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HOT COLOR COMBOS FOR 2015

Color trends are ever changing.  What is popular one day may very well be dated and tired the next.  Well…not quite that fast usually…thank goodness!

Haven’t you ever wondered why certain color combinations remind you of a period in time just as much as a particular song or piece of clothing?   If I mention “harvest gold”, what decade comes to mind?  Or how about teal paired with mauve?  Forest green & burgundy?  Or more recently, chocolate accented with pale blue?  Color, in fashion and design, is one of the key elements that touches almost every business in some shape or form.

So what’s on trend for 2015?  You need only pick up any home decor magazine or catalog to notice a strong trend in the last year or two toward gray.  Gray is dominating as the new neutral and is being paired in fresh, fun ways with lots of hues.  From robin’s egg blue, to chartreuse green, to coral, gray is a flexible neutral that balances and calms.  More specifically, warmer grays (ones with a hint of brown) are trending because of their versatility with so many accent colors.  Paired with another neutral like cream/off-white, the sky is the limit with an unlimited number of possible combinations.

When picking a color palette for your room, always follow the 60-30-10 formula used by designers for guaranteed results.  60% of the color in the space is your primary or “canvas” color (usually walls and/or floors/ceilings).  30% is your complimentary color that contrasts with but also enhances the primary color.  Finally, every space should have at least 10% of that punch color that seems to jump out and demand attention yet plays nicely with the first two.  Don’t be afraid to build on this formula using different tints/shades or tones of the same color to create a more dynamic, layered effect.  In other words, for example, not every blue in the room needs to match exactly.  But they do at least need to be similar.

Here are just a few of my favorites, many have snuck their way into projects I’ve done recently.  From city to suburbs, these colors are fresh, yet sophisticated… young yet timeless.  Which are your favorites?

BM075 Flamingo Orange

BM075 Flamingo Orange

SW6414 Rice Paddy

SW6414 Rice Paddy

BM976 Coastal Fog

BM976 Coastal Fog

SW7044 Amazing Gray

SW7044 Amazing Gray

BM730 San Clemente Teal

BM730 San Clemente Teal

SW7008 Alabaster

SW7008 Alabaster

SW6332 Coral Island

SW6332 Coral Island

BM555 Oreilly Green

BM555 Oreilly Green

SW6464 Aloe

SW6464 Aloe

SW7043 Worldly Gray

SW7043 Worldly Gray

 

 

Don’t let a fear of color or how to use it keep you living in a world of “builder” white!  Paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to completely change the look and feel of any room in your home.  Have fun!  Show some personality!  Let your unique sense of style shine through!  And, if you need a little help pulling the trigger, we’re just around the corner.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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A CITY ROOM WITH A VIEW

Sofa 1 Before

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

City living has its ups and downs… especially if you live on the 37th floor! Today’s redesign was all about adding those finishing touches to a condo with spectuclar views of the Chicago skyline, Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park.
While our client had a lot of the necessities, she wanted to add warmth and coziness to her space.
Drawing inspiration from the charcoal gray sectional, we had the one bedroom condo painted using SW Amazing Gray and SW Worldly Gray. SW Anonymous was used as an accent for the window walls to frame the city views.
After the painting was completed, our team brought in the finishing touches in artwork and accessories and a few furnishings to fill in a few blanks and enhance the great things our client already owned.

BEFORE

BEFORE

Turning the sectional to face the windows was a no-brainer, taking advantage of both the stunning views but also making the long rectangular space feel wider and more cozy. The clients desk could then move to the back doubling as both a sofa table and work space facing the view. A new accent chair finished the seating group.

Sofa 6

AFTER

Accents of trendy chartreuse green and sky blue add just a punch of color to the warm gray neutrals. A cream throw (made by grandma) and furry pillows finished the color story.
To further frame the city views and soften the edges of the windows, we added ready-made panels on the concrete exterior walls with Command™ brushed nickel hooks and coordinating cafe rods. A large mirror over the sofa reflects the views no matter where you are in the room.

Sofa 3

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

To say our client was pleased with the transformation is an understatement. “Life-changing” and “speechless” were just of ways she described her finished space!!! What an inviting space to spend your down time living life at the top! Happy Decorating from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433!

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

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HUE TINT SHADE… TALKING COLOR

Sample Paint Color Palette

Color is one of the first things you notice when you walk into a room. So is it any wonder that color, and how you use it, is one of the most important decorating decisions you’ll make in your home? The latest colors and the way they’re applied give voice to your personality and décor. Since color is always a topic, no matter what decorating job you’re doing, let’s review the basics of color terminology:
Hue is simply another term for color. “That HUE is so bright and cheerful!”
Tone refers to the amount of gray in a color. “I’d prefer a more muted TONE of blue”.
Tint is a color to which white is added. “That TINT of red looks very pink.”
Shade is a color to which black has been added. “That SHADE of green is more subtle than the other one”.
While no one expects you to get it perfect every time, trying to use these words correctly better communicates your desired result and will help avoid costly mistakes.
So, the real question becomes, is it “fifty shades of gray” or “fifty tones of gray”?
Happy Decorating!

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A HEALTHIER HOME BEGINS WITH NO VOCS

red paintGot an upcoming home decorating project that requires painting? Well things have changed a lot in the paint business in the last few years and not all paints are created equal. If you are concerned about your health and the environment, check out a few of these ideas before selecting your paint.

Environmental pollutants called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can affect your family’s health. VOCs are emitted (off-gassed) by paints as they are applied and dry. To limit your exposure, here are three general categories of no (or low) toxicity paints. Of course, calling paint “non-toxic” is a relative term since, with paints and stains, it’s more a matter of degree of toxicity. The three categories are:

NATURAL PAINTS These paints are made from natural raw ingredients such as water, plant oils and resins, plant dyes and essential oils, natural minerals such as clay, chalk and milk casein. If they are water based, they generally give off almost no smell. Those that are oil based take on the fragrance of the essential oil used. These paints are largely the safest for your health and the environment.

ZERO VOCs Any paint in the range of 5 grams/Liter or less VOCs can be called Zero VOCS. Be aware that some manufacturers may claim Zero VOC but these paints may still contain tints, biocides and fungicides that contain some VOCs. Adding colorant (tint) alone can sometimes add up to 10 grams/Liter (still quite low).

LOW VOCs Water based paints are obviously a better choice than their petroleum based counterparts when it comes to VOCs. Low VOC paints contain no or very low levels of heavy metals and formaldehyde. While they may still emit an odor when applied, that usually disappears quickly once dry. The amount of VOCs can vary greatly between brands and manufacturers and should be listed on the can. Low VOC paints are generally those with 50 grams/Liter or less.
New and improved paint that is more healthy and environmentally friendly is making a big splash in the market. Make sure you ask for it at your local paint retailer.

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FIXING UGLY…ONE ROOM AT A TIME™

In business and especially advertising circles, you often hear the expression, “What is your elevator speech?” The idea being that you should be able to quickly and effectively communicate to a total stranger what you do for work in a matter of minutes or even seconds. You leave them with just enough information to be memorable while wanting to know more. So when people ask me what I do, I tell them that “I fix ugly, one room at a time!” I’ve even started a Facebook page by that name. Feel free to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/fixingugly

Purple Nightmare Room

Of course, there are variations on ugly. I thought of that again this week when a friend shared a real estate listing for a home in the UK. Every single room in the house was decorated with nothing but shades of purple, gray and white. Not just any purple mind you… Barney Purple! Her question for me was what I’d do to fix this?

Well there’s ugly. Then, there’s UGLY! I honestly don’t know how anyone could live in such a space. But never being one to turn from a challenge, I’d give it my best shot. I love Purple… Check out the swirls in my company logo! But, Purple is one of those colors that should be used sparingly because of the powerful statement it makes, much like it’s “father” Red and “cousin” Orange.

So how do you use a bold color like Purple? For me, picking one element in the space and making that purple would have been sufficient. Either wall color, carpet, window treatments, or furniture… one major element alone would have been all the purple anyone could ever need in a room. More than likely I would have reversed the room, making many of the other elements white and gray and using the Purple as a powerful accent color in pillows, art and accessories.

As they say, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Far be it from me to suggest otherwise. I just hope this realtor has the patience of a saint. I doubt this property will be under contract any time soon!

Happy Colorful Decorating!

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CHIPPING AWAY AT PAINT CHIPS

Nothing is more frustrating than picking paint colors, especially if you aren’t aware of some of the tricks that can help make it easier. One of the best tools for picking paint is a Professional Color Fan Deck from the major paint manufacturers like Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Behr etc…

With a rainbow of hues and related tints at your fingertips (and in the space to be painted), it’s far easier to narrow down choices. Fan decks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Some are specialized (designer palettes etc…) while others contain the full spectrum from a particular manufacturer.
Paint strips

Since I continue to run into people who don’t understand the basics of color selection, I thought it might be helpful to review a traditional fan deck. Understanding it will make color selection both simple and foolproof.

So let’s take a look at this photo of a typical color strip. If you look at each strip, you see that the intensity or saturation of the color/hue increases toward the bottom of the each strip.

“Value” is another term that describes how light or dark a specific color may be. In general, color strips are arranged with lighter values at the top, mid-tone values in the middle and darker tones at the bottom.

The first value at the top is generally the “off-white” version of a color while the one at the bottom is the most saturated or “true” color on that strip. While they may look different in certain lighting, they are ALL the SAME color, just varying in saturation. With each successive step, and by adding 100% more pigment to the base (usually “white”) paint, as you go down the strip the various tints are achieved.

Combining colors from the same color strip is a fault-free and easy way to accentuate architectural elements in a space without introducing an entirely new color. Logical starting and stopping points along the walls give you an opportunity to create visual interest with variations of only one color.

When in doubt, it’s best to chose from the mid-tone values from any strip for walls (vertical surfaces). And go slightly lighter on floors and ceilings (horizontal surfaces) since the same colors in these areas will always appear darker then they do on your samples.

TIP: If you decide to use more than one value on a strip (especially in adjoining spaces), it’s a good idea to skip at least one on the strip so your color transition looks purposeful and doesn’t simply appear as shadow.

As simple as it may seem, taking the time to understand a Professional fan deck can help take a lot of the guesswork out of picking your paint colors.

Happy Painting!

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