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!



Project Burnout: When Your DIY Stops Being Fun

Decision to Survive Unexpected Things

I love a good DIY project every now and then.  But sometimes the vision in my head isn’t the way it turns out.  And the number of Do-Overs is directly related to how burned out I get.  The joy in creating something new suddenly gets stolen from me… and the drudgery begins.  Has this ever happened to you?

This week a bargain flea market table became the project du jour.  The silly postcard of a Victorian women that had been glued on top, finally had to go.  The top was sanded, supplies were ready, and I was filled with excitement!

table with gel canThe gel stain can be used as stain on unfinished wood.  But on a painted surface, it goes on just like paint.  After two coats, with 24 hour drying time in between, it was time to apply the clear wax.  Love the color!!!!!

IMG_7360Adding clear wax is fun because you get to see the richness of color come through.

waxThe trick is to brush it on, wipe off the excess, and buff it until it shines.

finished topI love it!  The old crackle comes through to give it an aged look, which is exactly what I wanted.  So far, no project burnout.

Now I’m really excited to add a new color to the legs.  Since I have several different colors of Annie Sloan Chalk paint, I opened the first can and painted on a sample.

CocoYUCK!  The paint is too thin.  One coat is supposed to cover the surface.  I know that I shook the can, stirred the paint, and even let it sit upside down for a while to mix.  What happened?

Primer RedThere’s still time left in the day to finish this project, so Primer Red was painted on… but it’s not what I expected.  This is where project burnout set in. Clean up time was made longer when I sealed the lid to the Java stain and it squirted all over the tile floor!

Now the floor is clean, days have gone by, and my table still sitting in the same place on the floor. The excitement is gone for now. Maybe I’ll finish it tomorrow….

DIY projects can go awry no matter how big they are, or how experienced you are. When it comes to designing your remodel or renovation project ask yourself if you’re up for the task before you start.

My friend, Marla, recently completed her DIY kitchen remodel and reminded me that it’s not as easy as it looks on HGTV. After almost coming to blows with her spouse, she vows to “never look at a box of subway tile again!”

When Ashley, of Vintage Refined decided to use Java Gel on her kitchen cabinets, her enthusiasm turned to burnout when she realized it had to be painted over her existing finish.  Though she loves the results her comment was… “All I can say is our next house better have my dream kitchen, because I am officially burnt out with painting cabinets (at least for the next month)! “

Yes, the unexpected will always happen in life and the only control you have over it is how you choose to handle it. Do you choose courage, grace, or humor? After all, you’re the Queen of your own life, and the choice is yours.



Kitchen Design Tip #2: Back Splash Outlets

One of the last things to be finished in a kitchen remodeling project is the back splash.  So remember to save your energy and creativity for the final push!  Don’t do like some people who say “I don’t care anymore.  Just give me white!”  I know that’s how I felt when we built our first house. 

Now that you’ve put some time into finding the perfect tile for the beautiful new design, it’s time to think about outlet placement.  Most homeowners don’t even think about it.  They assume that their contractor will take care of it…and they will.   Soon the job is completed and you’re moving back in.  And immediately you realize that your beautifully designed back splash has a large, unsightly outlet in the middle of your accent border!  How could that have been prevented?  Let me share my tip…

Tip #2:  Outlet Placement


         I like to keep my outlets as low as possible on the back splash so that the cords don’t poke out of the wall at mid-height.  And to get them even lower, I always ask the contractor or builder to turn them horizontally.  By doing this, the cords are lower and the tile design will be uninterrupted.

Other options exist that do an even better job of hiding outlets.  Some people have had them installed on the underside of their wall cabinets.  But this requires the “box” to be inside the cabinet. 

     There are outlet strips that can be installed on the back splash, just below the wall cabinets.  If you’re using a light rail on your cabinets, the strip will hardly be visible.

No matter which option you choose, blending your switches and outlets with your back splash tile is a must.

If you would like to learn even more tips to help you create your dream kitchen, grab our FREE report by filling out the box on the right!

Little Things Make a Big Difference When It Comes to Kitchen Design Projects

island to sink vertical      Kitchen design projects should be fun and exciting.  But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, your DIY can suddenly become an OMG!  You didn’t measure correctly.  The overhead lights are not where you meant them to be.  And the counter stools you loved in the store won’t fit at your island.

     These mistakes are time wasters, and they can become expensive.  And we all know that saving time and money is at the top of the list anytime we start a new project!  When I realized that offering quick and easy design tips to clients has become part of my daily routine, I decided it was time to share them with everyone and, hopefully, stop at least one DIY project disaster.  Here we go……


TIP #1 – Pendant Lights

Pendant lights over an island, peninsula, or bar are used as much for aesthetics as they are for accent lighting.  There are so many styles and finishes to choose from that it’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed.  Though the most frequently asked question is “How high should it be from the counter top?” 

     You need to consider the height and diameter of the light, and also the height of the ceiling.  But a good rule to follow is always keep the bottom of the light between 30″-36″ from the counter.   Working with a partner is the best way to get the job done right.  Have someone hold the light in place while you step back to see how it looks.  Make sure it’s balanced within the space, and not so low that people will bump their head on it.


To learn more ways to have a successful kitchen design project, be sure to grab a copy of our FREE report by filling out the box on the right!