Colors Set a Mood

How do you decide what colors to use in your home? You may have a favorite color that you want to incorporate into your home, or you could prefer to stick with neutrals, but color choices are more complex than that. Colors affect our emotions, and the right choices can make your home more inviting and comfortable. Here are some of the basics of how color affects us.

Red: This is an energizing color. It’s a great color to associate with food and entertaining. It’s flattering to people’s complexions and encourages interaction. That’s why it’s a particularly effective color in dining rooms.

Yellow: This color makes people’s complexions look sallow, so it’s a bad choice for bathrooms. It is an optimistic color, however, and helps build self-confidence. That makes it a good choice for many other rooms. Its energizing nature, though, means that it’s a mistake in bedrooms and a really bad choice for nurseries unless you want your baby to be up all night.

Blue: The most relaxing color of the spectrum, this color is an effective choice for bedrooms. This also means that it’s a bad choice for dining rooms, unless you want quiet and boring dinner parties.

Green: As a natural tone, it’s a stress-reducer that can help people keep their emotions balanced. It’s a good relationship color, which makes it great for living spaces.

Orange: A stimulating color, it’s best used sparingly in a home. It creates a lively mood. This makes it a good choice for restaurants because it will stimulate conversation and enjoyment.

Purple: This is actually a good color for quiet thinking – it can help create insights.

When you plan the colors in your home, you may want to consider what you want to accomplish in terms of mood, and let your colors reflect those choices.

Cool Colors for Hot Days

We’re halfway through the summer and as our utility bills rise and the sun never seems to set, there are things you can do with your home’s decor to help you and your family beat the heat. Here are a few suggestions.

Bring cool colors into your home. Cool colors include blue, green, purple and pink. These colors help us perceive a space as cooler in temperature. Most rooms have a combination of warm and cool tones. Consider removing some of the warmer color accessories, pillows or linens – red, yellow and orange – and replacing them with cool colors for the summer. A few small changes can make a big difference in the color balance of a room.

Add more white. White is a cool tone, and the more white you have in a room, the cooler it feels. How about covering your sofa or upholstered chairs with white canvas slipcovers? These can be washable, making summer spills less of a problem. Take a look at the room below to see an example of how fresh and cool white can be.

Eliminate clutter. What looks warm and cozy in the winter can feel stifling in the summer’s heat. The less your eyes have to rest on, the more open and cool a room feels. You may also want to remove a few accessories or even small furniture pieces.

Add fresh elements. Flowers, plants or even fruit in a bowl can help a home feel cooler. You may also want to put those fresh items in vases, pots or bowls made of cool materials such as crystal or silver to double-up on cool images.

With just a few design changes, you can help your home feel cooler all summer long. Look for opportunities to bring a cool feeling into every room of your home.

Decorating for Teen Girls

The old adage that boys are easier to raise than girls is perhaps never truer when it comes to decorating their rooms.  Teen girls can change their style as often as they change their outfits—and that can be a lot. Decorating a room that will keep our teenage daughters happy can be tricky but isn’t mission impossible. Getting input from the teen is important but you have input too. After all, it is still your house.  Working together on decorating your teenage daughter’s room will make you both happy.


Keeping the major things neutral and timeless will help the room to grow and change as your teenager grows.  If you are investing in new furniture and flooring be sure to select pieces that can work for several different styles.  Wood floors will never go out of style and can be topped with area rugs that suit this year’s color scheme.  Wall color is a great way for your daughter to express herself. And paint is inexpensive and easily changed as her mood or style changes.


Forcing your modern loving daughter into a traditional room won’t work for either of you.  Start by having your daughter pull together images from blogs or magazines of rooms she likes. Create a dialog about what will be possible.  Set a budget and allow her to make some of the design decisions. Bedding and accessories are great for adding a certain style and look.  Keeping furniture to classic forms means you can have more fun in the fabrics and colors of the room.

Classic White Molding and Trim

Some design elements are classics because they’ve withstood the test of time and trends. White painted molding and trim are classic because they work in so many different types of interior styles.  White painted trim can make both the wall and floor color pop, acting as a frame for a colorful wall. Painting baseboard molding white also helps transition the floor color to the wall color. The white molding acts as a palette cleanser between the floor and wall or two different colors if used as a chair railing.


Of course there are other options for molding and trim colors besides white. Some styles like Craftsman or Mission prefer that wood trim, molding and paneling be kept natural stained wood.  There was a time when painting wood molding, wainscoting or trim was considered a design faux pas. That isn’t the case in today’s design world.  To make molding blend in with the wall color or wallpaper it can be painted the same color. It can be painted a highlight color from patterned wallpaper or even a contrasting color to the wall color. These approaches will have a very different visual effect than white painted molding, but can be equally as beautiful.


The type of paint used on molding is typically a gloss or high gloss oil paint.  These types of paint can stand up to the wear and dirt better than a flat paint.  The shiny, glossy surface will also draw your eye to the architectural detail created by the molding, baseboard or trim.

Home Decor – Purple Grows Up

Purple is becoming a popular decorating color in all areas of the home.  You may have never considered decorating in purple but it is a big trend.  Yes, lavender and pink have been a popular color combination for a girl’s bedroom as long as girls have loved purple, but now purple is growing up.


Sophisticated shades of purple from deep plum to whispery silvers with lavender hues are showing up in living rooms, dining rooms and master bedrooms.  This color can work in either masculine or feminine or gender neutral spaces.  It is lovely in a room with a cool, tonal color palette such as this dining room.  Or it can be paired with its cool color sisters of blue and green.  Mix lavender with gold accents for a complementary color palette that feels sophisticated and serene. Plum and browns create a rich, dramatic feeling room.


The lavender chairs in this modern dining room have a little more pink or red in the color than the walls and this allows them to pop despite this being a monochrome palette.  The pendant lights have more blue undertones and being a darker hue helps them stand out.


Even monochrome room needs a few neutral shades to help balance the color.  The light wood and jute rug in this dining area act as both a neutral shade and a contrasting color because they have yellow undertones that give them some warmth.  Black or white would also work in this space.  A white parson’s table would be great with the modern chairs and pendant lights.


Home Decor – Paint It Red

The primary color red is one of the strongest colors on the color wheel. Red can intimidate some people for its bold, rich color. Small doses of red can be used as an accent color to spice up a room. Buying or painting a single accent piece of red furniture is a fun way to add a pop of red to a room.


A red chair or ottoman in a living room or a red console table in the entry will create a focal point. Red accents can be in furniture, rugs, lamps or soft accessories like pillows and throws. A red bowl on the dining table or kitchen counter is a nice way to incorporate the color into a room. Even a bowl of red apples can add a little burst of red to a kitchen.


If you want to make a bigger statement, use red on furniture or the walls. Red area rugs or or multicolor rugs that have red in the pattern are less overwhelming than red walls.


Red painted furniture can be done with spray paint or traditional oil based paints for furniture. To get a good saturated color, multiple layers will need to be applied. A red lacquer is great for its deep color and hard surface—perfect for a coffee table or dining table. The shiny, glossy surface of lacquer can be imitated with a high gloss enamel paint. Durable enamel paint is a good choice for chairs and surfaces that will get a lot of wear.

The Power of Paint

We are all aware of the power of color.  For both our personal fashion and homes, color can be transformative.  While neutrals and black and white are great foundations for a wardrobe and home, nothing changes the look and feel of a room like color.  This is the reason that paint is such a powerful decorating tool.


Paint is one of the easiest ways to decorate a room.  Paint can open up a room, make a space feel cozy, raise or lower the ceiling, and personalize a space. When you paint your walls, you will transform your space.  This is true even if you are painting in neutral colors.  Going from a deeply colored wall color to white is just as transformative as the other direction.


The power of paint doesn’t stop with walls.  Painting the ceiling can also change the feeling of the room.  A darker color on the ceiling will lower the feeling of the ceiling and make the room feel cozier.


Beyond the architecture of the home, paint can change the look of furniture, fabrics, and even solid colored rugs.  Painting furniture is a wonderful way to give it new life.  Inexpensive solid neutral fabrics can be turned into interesting patterned materials with textile paint; the same is true for area rugs.


Next time you get the urge to change your room, start with paint.  A new paint color on the walls or old dresser can give you a new look without spending major money.