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!

10 Simple Ways to Make Your Home Warm and Inviting

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Sometimes the simplest changes to a living space can have an immediately noticeable effect. With the holiday season right around the corner, we thought we would share some simple ways to warm up the rooms in your house. These 10 changes or additions will make your guests feel right at home.

  1. De-clutter the entryway. When you first step into your front door, what do you see? If your front entryway has become the catch-all for mail, bills, all-weather gear, and a pile of shoes, take the time to clear up the clutter. Use hooks, a hall tree, or an armoire if there’s room, to keep things organized.
  2. Make the fireplace a focal point. Whether you light the fire or not, fireplaces can take up a significant amount of wall space, which makes it worth your effort to make it an attractive focal point. Adding a large piece of art or a mirror above the mantle, and seasonal decor on the mantle shelf, will draw the eye. Arrange furniture so it faces the fireplace. If you never light the fire, use art, candles, or other accents where the fire would be so it isn’t such a dark hole.
  3. Mix-it-up. Purchasing a matching furniture set can seem good in theory, but it can often make a room look too formal or cold. Try mixing up your furniture and textiles a bit to make the space more interesting.
  4. Spruce up the paint. Living in our homes day to day can make us oblivious to the small signs of wear and tear. Take a fresh look at your paint and see if touch-ups or a re-do are in order. A fresh coat of paint works wonders.
  5. Freshen up the color. When was the last time your home or room was re-designed? Give it a quick overhaul on your own. Changes can be as simple as purchasing colorful new window panels or accent pillow shams that add a new dimension to your existing design.
  6. Go white. Do you have a room with dark walls? Consider changing them using a high-quality white paint. White reflects colors, so it can pack a powerful punch. Without changing any of your furnishings, you can end up with a more open and welcoming space.
  7. Add throw blankets. This time of year, throw blankets can add a little color and style, plus they provide a warm and cozy cover for guests when you are enjoying one another’s company on cold weekend days, and after your traditional holiday meals.
  8. Be yourself. Let your design and style reflect who you are, not what you admire or what you want your home to be. Make sure that your elegant or modern interior has a bit of personality and is an expression of your taste, and your family’s.
  9. Test the furniture. There is nothing worse than sitting down on hard, uncomfortable dining room chairs, or having to perch awkwardly on a low-backed modern chair. In order to avoid this experience for yourself and guests, thoroughly test furniture before you bring it home. It may be beautiful, or it can seem like a deal that’s too good to pass up, but if it isn’t comfortable once you get it home, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
  10. Just add Mother Nature. Use fresh cut flowers, branches, fruit and other living accents to tables, countertops and book cases. These bursts of seasonal color always add a warm and cheerful ambiance to any living space.

How to Increase Your Storage Capacity

If you are an interior decorating aficionado, you understand the importance of creative storage. We decorators need room to store all of our seasonal decor, textiles, and favorite items when they are relaxing in the off-season. Plus, I don’t know a serial designer out there who doesn’t also love to entertain, which means even more storage for platters, dishware, and glasses. Sometimes, interior design is just as much about what you can’t see as what you can.

Here are some room by room ideas for how to increase your storage capacity in some of the most unlikely spaces. This can help you to store all of the extras that tend to become cluttered if you aren’t too careful.

The Kitchen. If you are planning a remodel, forget about the color wheels and cabinet door styles for just a moment (I know, it’s hard to do!). Instead, focus on how your cabinet and wall spaces can be functionally upgraded to the limit. Smart and organized kitchen storage is a reverent sight to behold, and we all shake our heads in wonder when we see it in person. The time you spend to be thoughtful now, will pay off for years to come.

Your Staircase. What? The staircase? Yes! The staircase is one of the most overlooked storage opportunities in the home. It’s vast, and it has lots of empty spaces that could be full of specialty cocktail glasses, seasonal cook books, and interior decorating accessories. If you happen to be in the process of designing your home, bully for you because you can begin working with your architect or contractor to modify the planned staircase. Otherwise, you can hire a contractor to take a look at your staircase and some of these pictures, to determine how your staircase(s) can be amended.

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The Laundry Room. Don’t let a single wall or nook in your laundry room or mudroom go un-purposed. If you see a blank space, think shelves. If you see a drawer space, think pull-out organizers. If there is a wide open closet, determine how the space can best be used. It’s amazing what well-planned storage (even in a small space) can do to reduce clutter in your interior decorating plan.

The Bathroom. If there is one room that is the most prone to clutter, it is probably the bathroom. We are usually in there in a flurry, and there are often deep-set cabinets that quickly become a mish-mash of stuff if you aren’t careful. However, just like the kitchen, you can create pull-out drawers and organized shelving and cabinetry that will help you keep things neat, stored, and clutter-free. Also, in an open floor plan, walls are usually a part of the building’s structure. However, bathrooms are the one spot where interior walls may only be functional, in which place they can be used for more hidden storage opportunities.

Closets. It can’t be emphasized enough what a difference an efficiently organized closet is. You will gain loads of usable space by making the investment in a professional closet design. Or, you can spend time at a local home improvement store and buy pre-made closet organizers that will also do the trick. Either way, the more space you have to store things, the less visible they will be in your actual living space.

Taking the time to redesign functional storage spaces will pay off in the form of an organized, clutter-free, and spacious interior design.

Whether you need help with interior decorating, or are looking to redesign your storage spaces, we can help. Contact Kristina Wolf Design, Inc. for modern interior design expertise.

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.

The Don’ts of Living Room Design

Your living room urgently needs a revamp, but you’re not sure of the best way to decorate it. Once you know the living room design mistakes to avoid, it should be plain sailing.

The first big mistake you can make is to rush out and impulse buy. Make sure that you have a plan (measure the room!) and some ideas about what you want your living room design to look like when you’re finished.

Other areas where the most common blunders are made include:

Paint

  • Painting walls white. Go for gentle neutral shades or mid-tones on your walls, rather than pure white. A white background can be harsh, and it tends to make the furniture in front of it “float” rather than integrate into a cohesive whole.
  • Painting first. If you to introduce a particular color, buy your soft furnishings first. Matching paint to sofa fabric, pillows, and throws is easy; finding the correct color materials to go with your paint is tricky. Get full-size paint swatches from your supplier, and attach them to your walls to see how they look at different times of the day and night.
  • Placement of dark and light hues. You may know the color that you want, but you can’t decide which hue (brightness or darkness). Dark colors are positioned low; baseboards should be dark, walls lighter, and ceilings the lightest hue.
  • Unintended stripes. Narrow baseboards and trim look better when painted the same color as the walls or you’ll end up with an unattractive stripy effect. One color for walls, crown moldings, and baseboards will also visually raise the height of your ceilings.

Furniture

  • Furniture placed around the walls is boring and unfriendly. Place your furniture in natural conversation clusters, and don’t worry if you have a sofa in the middle of the room as it can form a convenient dividing line.
  • Underwhelming can be as bad as overwhelming. Keep the size of your furniture in proportion to the square-footage of your living room. If you have a large room, don’t be afraid to furnish it with big, comfy chairs, but don’t squash an enormous sofa into a tiny room.

Soft Furnishings and Accessories

  • Nothing looks worse than a rug that is too small for the space it occupies. There should be a 12- to 16-inch border of floor around a living room rug, and the front legs of your chairs and sofa need to be resting on the rug.
  • Beautiful, elegant fabric made into skimpy curtains. Window dressings are an important part of your living room design, so choose materials with care, and be generous.
  • Artwork that is hung too high. The bottom line of your artwork should sit between 8 and 10 inches above furniture. Anything higher than that tends to make eyes drift away from the visually pleasing groupings that that you want to create in your living room.

An additional mistake you may make when creating your living room design is not checking the green antecedents of the products that you are going to purchase. The American Society of American Designers (ASID) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) have drawn up a green product checklist so you know what to look for and what questions to ask before you buy.

Finally, don’t be scared to ask for professional advice. Most interior designers charge on an hourly basis, and if you know you’ve got expert backup it’ll make your living room design project fun!