Break Free of Your “Color Box”: Let Nature Choose Your Color Palette

Break Free of Your “Color Box”: Let Nature Choose Your Color Palette

     Have you ever walked into someone’s home and it is absolutely the perfect colors?  You want to curl up in a chair and make yourself right at home.  Maybe grab a glass of wine and a really good book.  And while you’re sitting there you begin to  wonder how they accomplished that daunting task?

     There are many tricks, tips, and secrets that designers use to create the perfect color palette for themselves and their clients.  And one of these is to let nature do the work for you. 

      One of my favorite things to do when I’m outside is to take a good look at everything around me.  I notice the textures of tree bark.  I look at the way light plays on a mountainside.  Maybe it’s the art classes or the quilts I’ve made that have created this awareness.  Maybe it’s just one person’s passion for color and texture.  But through each experience, I’ve learned that nature is the best form of color combination you’ll ever find.

      As I was looking at this beautiful lake photograph, thinking about Fall, and feeling nostalgic about leaving our lake home for new adventures,  I realized that most of my favorite colors are in that photo.  And, most importantly, I use these guides to help me with my own color selections.

Let’s look at the photo above to see how you can make it work in your home for your next DIY project. 

1.  Find one dominating color that really speaks to you and use it freely.  For me it’s the beautiful blues of water that range from deep blue to turquoise. 

2.  Next choose a secondary color from the photoRed would be my personal choice.  One of my favorite pieces of pottery just happens to include both of these colors!

raku vase in blues, turquoise and coral

3.  After that, choose one or two more to be accents.  These colors can be present in pillows, throws, towels, and any other accent piece you’d like to use.


4.  Finally select one color for a background and paint your walls. My go-to neutral wall color is usually Benjamin Moor Cedar Key.  It goes with everything and makes a good background for colorful art work.

      Take a look at these accent pieces found online.   They’re great examples of how you can follow the steps above to create your own color palette, and then shop on your own to find the perfect accents to pull it all together.

Ceramic Mood stones in Fall colors

    And, if you’re renovating, be courageous and step out of your neutral color box and just go for it!!!

Sky blue backsplash tile


If you’ve been thinking about adding some pizzazz to your home this Fall, don’t know where to start,  and are nervous you’ll make a costly mistake, be sure to grab our FREE report!



How to Avoid Bored Kids this Summer

Attention all parents and grandparents!  Now that school is out for the summer, it’s time to think about how to entertain the kids on those occasional rainy days that require indoor play. How many of you have a toy box in the corner of your great room or a cabinet that’s crammed with toys and games?  Do you long for a space that’s set aside just for kids?  A space that is neat and organized? I know how you feel because I’ve been there too.  As a matter of fact, I’m there again.  My 3 year old granddaughter loves to play with the toys that I have stacked in the corner of the room.  And she has so much fun in the make-shift art center in the middle of my family room.  But it would be so wonderful to have a space just for her (and her baby sister Reilly). Dreaming of this brought back memories of my past “career life” – the days when I taught preschool and designed child care centers.  So I thought it would be fun to share with you some play rooms that I’ve found.  They work well because they are organized with a place for everything.

This playroom has several great features – cabinets to store toys and games, a play center, a work center (at the table), and a quiet center on the area rug.  The colors are cheerful, and the large windows allow lots of natural lighting.

I love the large amount of colorful storage in this space.  Everything has it’s own location so it’s easier to convince the little ones to put their toys away.  I always found that if you make a game out of clean up time, the task goes faster.

What child wouldn’t love to play in this space, with the loft reading/quiet area and the little playhouse!  It isn’t easy to be quiet in a large open space.  When you’re designing a room for children, it’s important to vary the ceiling heights to create a nurturing environment that’s perfect for cocooning.  Niches are an ideal location for this.  One of my friends had a very deep hall closet.  They built a wall in the back and added a tiny doorway  for an instant out-of-the-way secret hideaway.  Their grandchildren loved it!

Here is a different example of ways to store toys.  The tilted bins make it easy to see inside, and make clean up easy too.    I just love the tent.  It brings back memories of covering tables and chairs with blankets and hiding underneath to watch TV or read a book.  Being in an enclosed, small space is comforting to children, and usually keeps them calm and quiet. Color and texture, storage and light are a few of the things to consider when you design your child’s playroom. How will you design your playroom this summer?  Don’t forget to include the kids in the planning!

7 Ways to Use Color With Confidence

I don’t know how you feel about this, but I love color!!!  I love looking at color, wearing color, and using it in my home.  Have you ever noticed that your color preferences change with the seasons or the mood you’re in?  I’ve discovered that certain colors can lift my spirits when I’m down, and ground me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and scattered.  In the winter there are colors that I love to be surrounded with (usually warm, cozy colors), but when the hot Georgia summers arrive, those same colors no longer feel right.

So how do you choose colors that work great in your home?  Colors that feel right for you and your family.  Colors that let your personality shine through.  I’ve put together some tips that I use when I want to select colors with confidence.  I hope you find them helpful!

Observe how colors are combined in nature.  I learned this little tip in a quilt workshop that I attended several years ago.  The instructor showed us slides of reptiles, bugs, exotic animals, birds, etc.  Some were beautiful, some were disgusting, but looking closely at the combinations of colors was fascinating, and a wonderful learning experience!  So…picture a blue sky against a turquoise sea next to a sandy beach.  Take a nature walk and notice the color combinations of insects, animals, flowers, trees.  Look at your surroundings as if you were a painter.  Visualize the colors in your home.

Study rooms in home decorating magazines. As you go through the magazines, look at the room design from a different perspective.  Instead of simply thinking “I love this room” or “I hate this room”, look at each room for the colors used.  How does it make you feel?  Does your heart sing when you see the colors?  Do they make you feel closed in, agitated, nervous, excited?  When a color combination really speaks to you, that would be a good place to start in planning your room.

Be mindful of how a color makes you feel. I know that I keep going back to this point.  But, to me, it’s the most important thing in selecting colors for anything… your home or a new outfit.  If it doesn’t make you feel happy or joyful, comfortable or cozy, think twice before using it.  Colors resonate differently with each person.  I am not a fuschia or ochre person.  When I see them, I want to shake them away!  But I attended a coffee last week where two women were each wearing fuschia blouses, and they kept talking about how much they love that color.  So no matter what the “hot” color of the moment is, if you feel uncomfortable with it, you should never use it.

Less is more! Be cautious of using too much color in your home.  Usually, one main color with 2-3 accent colors is a good place to begin.  Make sure that the colors flow throughout your house.  It doesn’t have to be the same exact shade everywhere.  Variations are good too.  Remember that the amount of color you use needs to fit your personality.  I’ve had a few clients that insisted on painting a different bright color in every room when we started.  Once we narrowed it down to 3 or 4 colors the design flowed much better.  By using small amounts of the colors in each room, we created unity.

Collect paint chips. Once you have an idea of color combinations you might like to work with, visit a paint store.  Pull several colors and play around with combining them.  Think about everything for the project, not just the walls.  Will there be window treatments, cabinets, custom bedding?  Find paint chips to represent the colors that you might want to use.  Better yet…add some fabric swatches!

Posterboard is your friend! When I’m choosing a new paint color for a project, I always recommend painting a large piece of posterboard.  Having a large painted area really helps in my decision-making.  Another great benefit is that you can move it around the space to see how the lighting affects it.  Some colors look totally different in light and shadows!

Be happy with your choice! Remember that pillows can be changed and walls can be repainted.