Simple trick for determining the undertone of white

I think for many people the most difficult color to choose is white. So often you think you are picking a “clean white”  and you get it up on the wall and it looks green or pink or blue. Well here is my super easy trick for determining the undertone of white.

Take a look at these three different whites.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

When you bring home sample chips from the paint store and you look at them on your wall, can you tell what the undertone is?  Can you tell which one is “whiter? Probably not. However, ask the store if you can take a look at the fan deck and simply look down the strip and you will easily see the undertone.

Linda Holt Photo

Now I’m not saying that these whites will go on the wall and look blue or green or orangey/gold (but they could) but notice that the first two are cool whites and the one on the right is a warm white. The bottom line is that most whites have undertones so it’s better to find out before you get it up on your walls and it turns blue or green or yellow.

If you are still uncertain and struggling to find the “perfect white” give me a call!

How about you? How do you choose the perfect white?

 

Which wall is best for a painted accent wall?

I recently received this question from a reader who was painting her family room and wanted to know which wall would make the best accent wall. She was confused as to whether she should pick a solid wall that was a side wall, the fireplace wall, or the wall behind the sofa which had a window and a door.

Regardless of how you feel about accent walls (many designers and decorators see them as dated) they are still very popular here in the north east and quite a few of my color consulting clients ask for them. When choosing an accent wall, remember it will be a focal point in your room, so be sure there is a good reason to draw attention to it. A random “side wall” doesn’t make for a good accent wall just because it’s a solid wall. Also, don’t default to an accent wall just because you don’t have the courage to paint all four walls your accent color, otherwise it will just look like you haven’t finished painting.

So, which wall is best for a painted accent wall?  Here are the three things I look for when deciding on an accent wall.  

1. A solid wall with no breaks or interruptions. A solid wall behind a sofa or a bed is always a good choice. It is a great place for a pop of bold color that adds visual interest to an otherwise lack luster room.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

2. A symmetrical wall. If you must use a wall with windows or other architectural features it will look best if the wall is symmetrical.  A wall with various sized windows or windows and a door is not the best choice.

symetrical accent wall

In the photo above, the accent wall is symmetrical with the two matching windows and sconces. The dark gray also relates to the sofa and draws you visually through the room while adding some interest to what looks to be a long narrow room.

3. The ceiling. Painted ceilings are very on trend right now and since the ceiling is the 5th wall it is a great place to add a pop of color.

blue painted ceiling

image via Apartment Theraphy

Similar to solid walls, a painted ceiling works best if there are clearly defined boundaries. In other words, if you live in open concept house, a bold turquoise ceiling may not work for the whole house. Bed rooms and bath rooms are my rooms of choice for a painted ceiling.

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

This morning I stopped by a client’s home who I had helped with choosing color a few weeks ago. She had recently moved to a beautiful new condo and her main floor was one very long and narrow single room (approx. 60′ x 20′) that was kitchen, living room, dining area.

We decided on an accent wall for the far back wall for two reasons. She wanted to tie in the orange accent from her rug, pillows, fabric and art work and we also wanted to visually shorten the room with the advancing orange wall. Here is the result.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Here is another view of just the wall

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

She told me it is her favorite thing about the condo and just loves walking in and seeing the pop of bright color.

As always, I love feed back…What do you think of accent walls?  Do you have an accent wall in your home?

The final word on paint color and small rooms

Seems like everyone has a different opinion about the best paint color for a small room. Like I wrote about in this post here, there really is no magic color that will make your small room bigger. However, I was quite amused yesterday when I opened the brand new issue of House Beautiful Magazine. Look what I saw on page 89.

color article from HB

July/August House Beautiful magazine

Look at those two quotes; even the designers disagree! Well I will tell you that I have lived in homes with small rooms. I have painted them light and I have painted them dark. Based on my experience this is what I have learned. It really doesn’t matter what color you paint your small room; light or dark it is still going to be small. You just need to decide based on the usage of the room if it would function and feel best as a small light room or a small dark room. It’s really that simple. A small light room will bounce the light around and feel more airy, while a small dark room will feel more cozy and cocoon like.

I personally like to paint small rooms a lighter color. I have tendencies toward claustrophobia and a small dark room is just not comfortable for me. The one exception is a powder room. I LOVE a dark jewel box like powder room. After all, you are only in it for a few minutes so why not make it feel cozy and/or dramatic.

dramatic black bathroom

Pinterest

Whether you opt for light or dark walls the final word is contrast. The lower the contrast between the wall color, furniture, molding and the ceiling, the less chopped up the room will feel…and hence the bigger the room will feel.

So there you go. Keep the contrast low and your small light room or small dark room will FEEL as spacious as possible.

low contrast small room

niagaranovice.blogspot.com

Low contrast light room

small dark room with low contrast

Pinterest

Low contrast dark room.

 Hope that helps clear up some confusion. What’s your preference; light or dark small rooms?

BIG color news from Benjamin Moore and Brimfield

Hello again! I am finally back to my computer after almost two weeks of design and blogging related travel.  I have so much design and color info to share with you from both Brimfield and Blogfest.  I will start with Brimfield and the big color announcement made by Benjamin Moore.

Drum roll please….Benjamin Moore has released a whole new line of paint colors called the Williamsburg Collection.  According to Benjamin Moore this new palette is “historic American colors derived from classic American design. Based on original pigments developed more than 250 years ago, Colonial Williamsburg’s curators have re-created this rich, authentic palette.”

Benjamin Moore Williamsburg color deck

williamsburg collection

The 144 new colors are absolutely beautiful and timeless. Another perk is that since all the colors have similar saturation the colors are meant to blend seamlessly with one another. In other words, you can mix and match these colors in your home and not worry about anything clashing. Of course you still need to get the undertones right so you still may want to hire me!

I am so excited about these new colors and they came at a perfect time as I get ready to repaint to the entire “core” of our house. I have my eye on several of the soft neutrals and plan to paint up sample boards soon. I’ll let you know what I pick.

I also just happen to have an additional Williamsburg fan deck to give away. If you would like to have it simply comment on this post and I will choose a winner next Monday.

What do you think of these new historic colors and do you think you would try them out?

 

 

Coastal Inspired Family Room Make Over

I recently worked with a wonderful client who’s family room that was in some serious need of updating.  She had originality decorated it in the 1990’s and everything was right on trend back then; the sponge painted walls, the elaborate (and very expensive) custom window treatments, and the 90’s color pallet. Since her BEFORE and AFTER photos were so dramatic she was gracious enough to give me permission to share her family room transformation with my readers.

This is how her family room looked when I first arrived to give her some help. (Click photo to enlarge)

Family Room Before

Her goal for her new room was to have a very light and bright, coastal inspired family room. Following that vision she had recently purchased two White and Navy checked chairs and a neutral colored sofa as her foundation pieces for the room.

Two new checked chairs

sponge painted walls dated family room

new sofa

One of the biggest design challenges of the room is that it has peaked angled walls and a very tall slanted ceiling. The current way it was painted with dark walls and a bright white ceiling accented the rooms irregular shape and gave the appearance of a chopped up room. It was certainly not the calm and restful space my client envisioned.

tall angled ceiling

When you have a room like this with slanted ceilings and angled walls there are several ways to paint it as I wrote about HERE.  Since my client’s number one goal was to “lighten and brighten” up her space, we wrapped the entire room (walls and ceiling) in the same soft neutral.

By painting the whole room in one light color the room now feels more calming and connected. I also had her flip the furniture so that the sofa was now in the bay window facing the new wall mounted TV and the 2 chairs were at the other end of the room for reading and conversation.

The room now feels like one continuous space and the many angles become much less noticeable. Being in the room is now much more calming and restful.

 My client is still working on accessorizing and plans to purchase art work but we are both so happy with how it turned out.

Photographers trick. I pulled the two club chairs up for the photo 

Pretty dramatic transformation don’t you agree?

If you would like help choosing color or updating a room in your home, give me a call.

 

 

 

My Olioboard Guest Bedroom Comes to Life

One of my favorite design tools that I use for both myself and for my clients is Olioboard. In case you haven’t heard of it, Olioboard is an online design program where you can create 2D or 3D  inspiration or design boards simply by clicking and dragging an almost endless library of real life products. It is super easy to learn and so much fun to create a  fantasy room or try out how an actual room would look with your chosen furnishings.

olioboard purple bedroom

Linda Holt Interiors

 Being a photographer I love the fact that Olioboard is actual photographs. It really helps my clients visual the entire completed room. It also makes me look so professional even though Olioboard really does all the magic.

Recently I created an Olioboard for a very small guest bedroom I was decorating. My client already had the bed, asked that it be very simply furnished and preferred Red and Cream as his colors of choice. I put together this board below as inspiration and much to my surprise he said he loved it all and to go ahead and decorate the room exactly like the board; rug, fabric, storage bench, art work, bedding…everything! (click on photo to enlarge)

designing a bed room with Olioboard

Now that the room is finished I thought it would be fun to show the Olioboard come to life. (click on photo to enlarge)

small guest bedroom

I made just a few small changes at the client’s request such as one big statement pillow rather than a bed full.

I also decided to have my friend Susan Siefer paint the two side tables with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to add a pop of blue and also to make the room a little more custom.

Susan custom mixed the Blue to match the Blue in the fabric shade and the Red accent stripe is Annie Sloan Emperors Silk.

Even though it is a very small room it was still fun to put it all together on Olioboard and also easier for my client to visualize how it would look once finished.

How about you? Do you use Olioboard?

If you would like help decorating or help with Color, give me a call.

7 Tips to Create a More Soulful Home

I just read an interesting article about how Oprah is redecorating her Montecito California home. In the article (you can read it here) Oprah shares  how even though she has decorated many beautiful homes over the years not one of them ever really felt like her home nor did she ever feel completely comfortable in them.  Oprah says rather than decorating around who she really is, she fell victim to decorating with what was trendy, in style, or what she “thought a famous person’s home should look like”.  Case in point; if  I had to guess who lived in the room below, Oprah would most likely not come to mind.

Oprah’s home

This time around, Oprah says she is finally focusing on creating a home that feels like her home.  She wants to put her feet up (with her shoes on) and not worry about scratching an antique coffee table.   She wants her dogs to cuddle on the sofa with her and not worry about drool on the fabric. She wants to create a home that reflects her life style and functions for how she lives…she wants to have a house with a Soul.

If I could talk to Oprah I would share these 7 tips for creating a Soulful Home.

1. Make note of how you REALLY live and be totally honest. If you eat in the family room in front of the TV every night then maybe you want a table in the family room or a coffee table that lifts up and doubles as a tray table. If you rarely use your formal dining room but desperately need a home office or a play area for your children then go ahead and turn the dining room into an office or play space.

turn your dining room into a library

dining room library

2. Don’t buy all your furniture from the same store. Even though you might love the look of a particular trendy store think about what you like about that store’s particular look and create it with a mix of different furniture from different sources. Nothing has less Soul than a room that looks like a page out of a catalog.

mix of furniture sources same feel

Pottery Barn look and feel with furnishings from various sources

3. Add in something handmade, vintage or unexpected. A great way to bring Soul to a room is to add in something that is hand made or something with a little history. This could be original art work (even your children’s artwork), a custom made piece of furniture, a vintage basket … something that doesn’t say  “made in China” on the back.

In the room above, the contemporary sofa and fabrics get some added Soul with the addition of the painted vintage dresser and vintage lamps and chair.

4. Family Portraits. A great way to add a Soul to your home is to show visitors who lives there. Tip: Rather than scatter family photos around the house, display them all together for greater impact.

family portraits add personality and soul.

group family portraits for best impact

5. Books. Books that reflect your interests and books that you actually read tell visitors who lives in the home, what they are interested in and gives the home personality and  Soul.

books add soul to a house

6. Collections. display what you love, collect and treasure and your home will be filled with  Soul. Don’t worry if your collection isn’t trendy or if it is unusual, all that maters is that it speaks to you.

collections add soul to a room

hat collection reflects personally of who lives in the home.

 7. Choose color based on what you like and not the trend color of the moment. I can’t stress this one enough. Just because shades of gray are currently trending doesn’t mean you should paint your walls gray…unless you love gray! I painted my sitting room walls blue/green because it is a color I love and makes me happy…not because of any color trend.

green living room

Linda Holt Interiors

So how about you? How do you like to add Soul to your home? Can you think of anything I missed?

 

 

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