Archive | Color

Theory, practice and inspirational ideas for using color in various ways on objects and surfaces throughout the house.

Ten Top Spring Accent Colors

Luxe wing chair in dusty rose from Crate and Barrel

Vibrant or subtle, an expected hue can embolden any room.

I’ve been thinking about color as I look around my house and consider what needs repainting. Because my walls are more or less neutral and I have a whole-house color scheme, I like to take a detour to check out new colors to throw into the mix. This year, it’s been hard to get by emerald green which, thanks to Pantone marketing, is showing up everywhere. Fabulously or hideously (perhaps both) I lived with a Chinese Art Deco emerald green rug for many years and still find it a challenge for home décor.… Continue Reading


Rainbow Staircase Runner

colorful striped staircase runner

A colorful striped carpet adds color to a stark interior.

Winter days in England are thick with gray skies.  Many homeowners counter the mind clouding darkness by painting interiors white, white or white.  Every flat surface in this entry hall is nice and bright – thanks not only to the stark paint choice but the colorful stair runner.  The bold striped floor covering is virtually the only color in the space, lifting the mood no matter the weather.

(Source: 1st Option via Decor8)… Continue Reading

Color of the Year 2013

emerald green goatskin console "bracelet" table in the style of Karl Springer

It’s official! It’s Emerald, the color of money – just in time.

Back many years ago, when I was a food writer at the Chicago Tribune and later at Newsday, I would produce the annual “in and out” list. I loved doing that because it was easy to see how things had changed thoughout the year. But unlike the world of fashion and restaurants, home décor trends move very slowly. You can be crazy for a color on a piece of clothing but it’s quite a different matter on a couch. That’s why the annual naming of “the” new color by the Pantone folks can be exciting or, like last year (Tangerine Tango) merely amusing.… Continue Reading


Russian Chintz

Early 20th century Russian floral textile

A casualty of the Russian Revolution and the Cold War, these vibrantly colored fabrics remain little known even today.

I first encountered Russian-made floral, paisley and striped fabrics from the early 20th century on the pages of a magazine. I was immediately drawn to the full blown rose motifs I also adore on Bessarabian (Russo-Romanian) rugs. Essentially, these fabulous fabrics are a Russian version of chintz (though not glazed). During the early 1900s, they were inexpensive and made in these especially vibrant colorways for export to Central Asia. Today they are collector’s items and the images are a sampling from the book Russian Textiles: Printed Cloth from the Bazaars of Central Asia, by Susan Meller (Abrams, $35).… Continue Reading


Dark Bedrooms

bedroom by John Minshaw with blue-violet walls and a black upholstered headboard

Dark walls make for such dramatic sleeping spaces.

I always believed that dark wall colors were best used in small rooms, those in need of visual downsizing, or places with little natural light. But using a “night-life” hue in the bedroom makes real sense considering all the light-blocking strategies we tend to employ in the bedroom. Lately, I’ve been trending on a night-life – meaning really dark – colors. Dreams of an elegant bedroom that evokes the blue night sky just before dawn are, for me, truly conjured by the blue-violet walls designer John Minshaw used [top] together with a slightly lighter hue and a black-upholstered headboard.… Continue Reading


Wintery Walls

deep gray dining room with white ceiling, floor and upholstery plus shamrock green curtains.

Gray and white rooms remind me of this stormy season.

When it comes to wall color, my instinct is to go with walls that reflect — rather than absorb — natural light. That means colors with light to medium values. Lately, though, as I’ve focused on gray in the kitchen (perhaps as a prelude to repainting mine) I started looking at how gray is used in other rooms, some of which are as dark as storm clouds.

There are myriad names for medium gray walls, apart from the generalized Gustavian gray (which varies from pale to dark) or pearl gray. Benjamin Moore offers Stormy Sky, Bullock Gray, Kendall Charcoal and Trout Gray to name a few that, in my monitor, looked close to the handsome winter-white-and gray hue [top and below] by Atlanta designer Amy D.… Continue Reading