Color Combinations that Always Look Fabulous

color-combinations-that-always-look-fabulousDeciding to change your interior color scheme can seem ambitious, especially for those who are new to it. While no changes are absolutely permanent, it’s not necessarily cost effective to re-paint an entire interior or purchase new furnishings should you decide you’re unhappy with the final outcome. Fortunately, there are a few time tested, tried-and-true color combinations that always look great together.

What’s the deal with color relationships anyway?

First, let’s talk a little bit more about colors and their relationships. Many moons ago, artists put together The Color Wheel, which helps to show color variations, as well as the relationships that exist between various colors. For example, complementary colors live directly opposite one another on the wheel. Analogous colors live in triads right next to one another. Both of these color relationships are considered harmonious.

Then, you have your neutral colors. These are colors like whites, creams, beiges, and browns. They can provide a backdrop that remains consistent while your accents, furnishings, and textiles comprise ever-evolving color schemes.

All of these terms, complementary, analogous, and neutral are thrown around willy-nilly in the world of interior design. But, at the end of the day, the important thing is that you are happy with the color combinations you select.

5 Examples of Tried-and-True Color Combinations

  1. Blue and White. This color combination explains why Blue Willow and Delftware are timeless china collections. It is clean, bright, and can work with any design motif – be it antique traditional or über-modern. Depending on the balance of blue and white, you can create a light, energetic seaside living space or a soothing bedroom retreat. Throw in a pop of bright yellow if you want to energize it a bit.
  2. Brown and Blue. Brown is a neutral color, and it is also one of the most common colors found in nature, which is why it pairs so well with blue. From bright blues to more earthy gray-hues, you really can’t go wrong. You can also swap your blue accents for green ones, without ever changing your brown backdrop should you want to refresh your look down the road.
  3. Black and White. From black and white checkered flooring, to striped walls and floral motifs, black and white are a classic color combination. One of the most fun aspects of using black and white in an interior design is that they pair well with almost any other color, especially, primaries, and you can safely layer different black-and-white patterns without worrying about clashing.
  4. Turquoise and Red. The first three examples are safe and lean toward the traditional. For the last two, we’ll feature color combinations with a little more pizzazz. Turquoise is an energized blue-green combo that will liven up any room. Pair it with red, and you have a striking combination. If turquoise walls seem too bold for your taste, then use light neutral wall colors and add your turquoise and red via furnishings, artwork, and accents.
  5. Green and Yellow. This combination is a citrus palate: greens, yellows, and oranges all work well together and you can add some blue too. Earthier versions of these colors, as seen in this retro-inspired backsplash can be provide a more muted aesthetic, or you can add a vibrant, warm energy to a space by using them in their full glory.

When in doubt, hire an interior design professional to help you select the color combinations that best reflect your style. What are some of your favorite color combos?

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Creating a New Space on a Budget

If you are feeling the itch to redecorate, but don’t necessarily have the time or budget to scratch it, these tips and tricks can breathe new life into your living space in no time flat, and without breaking the bank. From touch-up paint and accent walls to changing accent pillow shams and reupholstering key members of your furniture family, you can get a whole new look without spending much at all.

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Painting grants a new lease on wall life

There are two options for sprucing up the paint colors on your wall: touching up the paint you have, assuming you like it, or repainting your walls entirely.

Touch-ups. You may find that re-painting isn’t necessary if you simply touch up your existing paint. The steps to completing a professional-quality touch-up paint job are:

  • Clean the wall first: You may not notice it but your wall has probably developed barely-there layers of dust and grime you’ve grown accustomed to. Then there are the more obvious smudges and marks. Use a damp cloth and wash the wall before painting it, otherwise there will be a noticeable difference when you add a fresh, clean patch of paint.
  • Fix any holes or dings. Take a piece of fine sand paper and go over the area to be repaired in order to get rid of raised or flaking drywall fragments. Use spackling compound and a putty knife to fill the marred spots in and let it dry completely.
  • Use primer. Most people skip this step, which can lead to an noticeable, uneven finish. Use a small to medium-sized paint brush and only prime the area that is going to be touched up. Let the primer dry completely.
  • Paint. Ideally, you will have stored extra cans of the paint in question. This will always be the best match. Otherwise, you may have to work with a paint professional to match it. Use the same type of applicator that was used before to match the texture. If brush strokes are visible, use a paint brush and feather the touch-up out from the center of the repair. If no brush strokes are visible, use a roller.

New paint. If you are willing to do the job yourself, re-painting can be quite affordable. However, a great alternative to repainting your walls is to locate a wall or two that could be used as an accent wall. In a fraction of the time it takes to re-paint an entire room you can have a whole new look and feel.

Re-upholstering is the ultimate way to re-use favorite chairs or sofas

Have a favorite chair or couch that is fraying around the edges? Start shopping for durable fabrics you love and plan a reupholstering project. Reupholstering is easy, really! Start with something simple, like a dining or living room chair, and work your way up to a sofa. This article from Mother Earth News is a wonderful resource.

Replace a few textiles for a re-vamped look

Much of your design is created by the textiles you use to decorate your living spaces. Changing out your window panels, duvet covers, and pillow shams can make it feel like your house was entirely redecorated. Even swapping furniture and textiles between rooms, or rearranging your furniture can update your look and won’t cost you a penny.

Need help breathing new life into your interior design? Contact Kristina Wolf Design. We make sure that your living space reflects your family’s style and needs, and we can work with just about any budget. Start 2014 off in updated style!

Decorating Your New Babies Nursery

decorating-your-new-babies-nurseryDecorating a nursery is such an exciting and tender interior design project. It is a chance for parents to channel their enthusiasm while waiting for the newest member of their family to arrive. That being said, the days of “pink or blue?” have faded into the past. Parents in the modern era are faced with a bevy of decisions: traditional or contemporary? Gendered or neutral? Theme or no theme?

We’ve put together a series of questions that can help you to decide the best way to decorate your nursery using a style that complements your home, your lifestyle and your taste.

Are you a serial decorator?

Or, how much do you enjoy changing the aesthetics of your rooms or living space? If you can’t keep your eyes away from design magazines, are always up on Pantone’s annual color palates, and love nothing more then to spend a weekend taping and giving new life to painted walls, you can design ahighly-stylized nursery today knowing you will look forward to changing it again within a few years. If you would prefer to create a nursery that will easily transition into a young child’s room, or guest room, you may want tobe more conservative in your selections.

What’s your design style?

What style do you want for the nursery? If you are a modernist, you may want something a little more minimal, free of the frills, bells, and whistles that so often become a part of a baby’s nursery. If you are a traditionalist, you may want a “no restrictions” clause in your interior design plan so you can incorporate the canopies, curtains, and prince- or princess-like accessories that will transform the room into a world of its own.

Do you want a theme?

You can create any theme under the sun, and it can be an easy way to build your nursery design by providing an intrinsic color palate. However, a theme can also lock you into a very specific look. Your child may love it once he is old enough to express his own tastes, which happens sooner than you would think. Or, your 2.5 year old may tell you she wants a fish bedroom instead of a princess room, which will take you back to square one. If you aren’t a serial decorator, as mentioned above, you may want to keep walls or wallpaper relatively versatile and leave themed items to window treatments, area rugs or pillow shams, which can be easily changed out down the road.

What furniture is necessary?

If you want to go all out and buy new nursery furniture, go ahead. However, many nursery items, such as changing tables and rocking chairs may only be used for the first year, or less. You may find that, other than the crib, there are smarter ways to go about acquiring ideal nursery furniture, and for the room it will become later on. For example, a dresser is easily converted into a changing table with the right pad and will transition back to a child’s dresser within the first two years. Rather than a rocking chair, you may find it’s better to reupholster an old chair in the garage, or one you find at a thrift store, that will become a favorite reading chair or comfort spot for your child throughout childhood.

Wallpaper vs. Paint

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There’s nothing like being cooped up in the winter to get those redecorating juices flowing. One of the first questions to tackle when changing the look of your living space is Wallpaper or Paint? This primer will help you decide which wall treatment is best for your home. You may find the answer is both!

Before we compare the two, let’s start with some general information.

Wallpaper. Wallpaper was “out” for a little while but then it came back, and with a vengeance. Not only that, we should really be saying “wall coverings” because today’s trendy homes are using linen, high-end chinoiserie coverings, and textured fabrics to transform walls into works of art. Unless you are an artist (or you hire one), paint rarely compares to the textured and patterned potential of wallpaper. That being said, highly stylized patterns can quickly become dated and can turn off future potential buyers with different taste.

Paint. Paint is the default wall decorating medium for a reason. It’s relatively easy to apply and can be custom-mixed to any color preference. While most people do choose to paint their walls a single color, you can get creative. Two-toned walls, stripes, and multi-color designs are all a potential, but their execution must be fairly flawless to be successful.

Now onto the categorized comparisons:

Cost

Obviously, if you choose a high-end professional painter and expensive paint, it will be more expensive than most DIY wallpaper jobs. That being said, paint is usually the most affordable way to go. There’s one exception – if you pick a wallpaper you love and live with it for 10 or more years. Most paint needs to be redone every few years to look fresh. A high-quality, well-installed wallpaper can last a decade or so.

Labor Intensity

If you’re attempting a DIY home improvement project, wallpaper is the most labor intensive. While taping before you paint can be time consuming, it is very straight forward. For a monochrome paint job, you can get the whole family involved in the middle parts, and adults can take over around the edges. Wallpaper, on the other hand, must be very precisely measured, cut, and applied. You have to get the adhesive balance just right and be meticulous as you smooth to avoid bubbles, wrinkles and to prevent edges from peeling. Removing wallpaper is also very labor intensive.

Permanency

Well-applied wallpaper probably wins on this one, assuming you haven’t installed it in a bathroom (more on that later) and that the job was well-done. Quality wallpaper can be occasionally washed and will retain a fresh look for years. Paint needs to be refreshed every few years to really look its best.

Best Applications

Paint: Get familiar with paint finishes. While paint can be used in any room of the house, glossy finishes are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, where wall washing is more common. Scrubbing marinara from a flat-finish kitchen paint is no laughing matter.

Wallpaper. Ideally, you should keep wallpaper out of rooms that experience high and/or transient moisture levels, like the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. It will begin to curl and peel pretty quickly. Also, if you have kids or pets, keep the wall paper out of their reach. Yes, it can be washed, but intensive scrubbing for crayons, dirty smudges, etc. will make it ragged.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to use them both. You can use wallpaper as an accent wall and get the best bang for your holistic buck. How about you? Do you prefer wallpaper or paint?

How to Decorate with Gold

better-decorating-bible The luxurious metallic shimmer of gold has been making a comeback in interior design. There are a wide range of ways you can bring gold into your own home designs, from simple gold embroidery on a throw pillow to broad, gold leaf accented furnishings. Depending on your design preference, you can use gold as the theme of a room, or you can incorporate a sprinkling of it here and there to add warmth and elegance. Fall is the ideal season to add a little gold to your interior decor because it blends well with other autumnal colors like deep reds, firey oranges and chocolaty browns.

Here are some tips and tricks for using gold accents to enhance your living spaces.

In the dining room. Your formal dining room is the ideal place to begin playing with gold accents. The dining room is a place where time stops, and we remember the etiquette and traditions that have surrounded formal meals for centuries upon centuries. In this dining room, the only permanent gold accent is the stunning chandelier. Now, the homeowners can choose to use centerpieces or place settings to enhance the gold ambiance. Adding agold leaf silk screen as a wall hanging is a non-permanent way to add a dramatic burst of gold that can be removed when you are ready for something different.

In the living room. If you find the right hue, a gold-tinged paint can set a warm and bright tone for your living room space. It will soften the light and works well with a variety of other furnishing colors. If a gold paint color is too much gold for your taste, then you can work gold into other furnishings and accents. In this living room, the gold printed window treatments make a beautiful contrast with the deep blue furniture.

In the bedroom. The bedroom is another wonderful place to add gold accents. It’s warm and sensual, creating an environment that can be as relaxing or as mood enhancing as you want it to be. Like the living room, you can choose to make gold the predominant theme, by using gold paints, a gold patterned wallpaper, and/or gold textiles. Your room can ensconce you with golden energy if you like, and by choosing the right mix of pale golds and non-metallics, the effect won’t be overwhelming. On the flip side, you can add gold accents to a blend of other metallics to warm them up. From the gold wall “head board” frame, to the subtle gold accents in the wall paper, this guest bedroom has a tasteful blend of metallics and neutrals.

DIY Gold leafing. Gold leafing is actually a relatively simple process, but it does require time and patience. If you want to begin adding gold accents to your home design, you can start by dressing up old picture frames and mirrors, using gold leaf. Even that old, plastic honey bear can be gold leafedand transformed into a vase. Here are instructions for a DIY gold leaf frame. You can build your gold leaf repertoire from there.

What are some of the ways you have incorporated gold into your interior design? Share your comments below – we’d love to hear them.

5 Simple Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Living Room

Sometimes, we need a major interior design overhaul. Other times, some simple fixes are all that are needed to breathe new life and energy into a living space. If you are looking for room decor ideas that will give your living space a face-lift without breaking the bank – or your back – here are some ideas for you.

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5 (Relatively) Simple Room Decor Ideas for a Whole New Look:

  1. Add Wall Art. Painting a room is a tried and true way to change it up. However, wall art adds a completely different dynamic. It can even be 3-D. Whether you choose to draw a design freehand, use pre-made wall art decals, or trace stencils or pre-made forms, wall art can add a conversation-worthy element to your room decor. Here are some examples:
    • Whimsical. These lavender walls, adorned with a hand-painted, gold, bare-branched silhouette of a cherry tree add a magical feel to this small dining room.
    • Creative. This urban apartment mimicked the skyscape outside, adding a creative element to the living room. Best of all, the wall art is a decal, ideal for the non-artist decorators out there.
    • Patterns. Add an ornate pattern to a wall by using large stencils. They are easy to do on your own, using a level to ensure the lines are straight.
  2. Never Fear Stripes. Stripes are definitely in right now but they can be a little daunting for the first-time DIY striper! If you would like to add stripes to a room, take it easy. Tackle a striped accent wall, rather than the whole room, so you aren’t overwhelmed. If you feel confident, go ahead and use bold colors. If you feel more conservative, stripes in muted shades can create the texture and visual interest you want without the risk of creating visual chaos.
  3. Reupholster Your Furniture. Reupholstering is one of the most savvy things a homeowner can learn to do in order to get a whole new look from a solid piece of furniture. Plus, repurposing household linens or fabrics into new chair covers or slipcovers is good for the planet too! Look at what a little paint and new upholstering did for this chair – it went from Granny’s House to Swank Central.
  4. Go Shopping at Home. One of the best room decor ideas for a new look is to simply go shopping at home. Go through boxes of trinkets and textiles you tucked away in the garage or a storage unit. Walk through your rooms and consider how different pieces of furniture, accent pieces, and artwork might look better somewhere else. With a little rearranging and switching around, you can have a whole new look without ever leaving your house or spending a single penny.
  5. Invest in High-Quality Pillows and Shams. Accent pillows can completely transform the way a living room looks without changing much else. Make an investment in high-quality accent pillows and changeable pillow shams, and you will be able to make a change from conservative, to eclectic, to contemporary in a matter of minutes. Another quick change? Look for window curtain panels when they go on sale. Purchase a few sets in various styles and colors, and that blend with your pillow shams. In less than a half an hour, your room can have a whole new feel.

If you are interested in professional assistance for room decor ideas that will change your living spaces, contact Kristina Wolf Design, Inc.  We can give you the complete interior design overhaul you have always wanted, or can suggest and implement simple changes that will transform your home.