Tag Archives: colors

A Gem of a Year: Pantone Picks Emerald for 2013

It’s official. According to the style gurus at Pantone, Emerald Green should be the colour we all crave in the New Year.

Image: Times Online

I must admit, I’m not entirely convinced. Last year I wrote about the lauded 2012 hue, Tangerine Tango, which I adore. But I tend to be attracted to warm colours. While I like greens, I have avoided them in my home décor.

Image: Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry

I find Emerald to be particularly difficult, because the only thing it reminds me of besides the actual gems (which are lovely, but I can’t afford them) are wild St. Patrick’s Day celebrations (a day upon which fashion is the last thing on anyone’s mind). Thankfully, Pantone’s hue has a little blue to it, so it’s not so in-your-face.

Image: Brunch at Saks

I must admit, it pairs well with bold patterns, the whole becoming more elegant than the sum of its parts.  And, when coupled with pink, it provides a preppy punch to a bedroom.

Image: Doug & Gene Meyer via Nok Hoo Hoozits

As part of a jewel-tone palette, Emerald can be overwhelmingly luxurious. This is the kind of room that I could hibernate in all winter.

Image: Splendid Sass

But I think it is most sophisticated when matched with a pale charcoal grey. You could style this combination to match either a traditional or contemporary home.

Image: Lamps Plus

However, if you are like me and an entirely Emerald room is too much, choosing a few well-chosen accessories will keep you current without breaking the bank.

Image: Capel Rugs

Lamps, throw rugs, pillows, and linens are all great options. It’s not the easiest colour to find right now but my guess is that it will be everywhere in a few months. For example, JC Penny has announced that a Pantone-inspired bedding collection will be released in February, 2013.

Image: Little Green Notebook

If you really want to adopt the gem-like colour, look for lush accent pieces made from the semi-precious stone malachite.

Image: Q Weddings

But if your budget is limited, pick up some Emerald Green vases, which can look as chic as the real thing.

Image: Cocoonwonen.nl on Pinterest

So, does Pantone’s choice leave you green with envy or green around the gills? Will you be adding this colour to your world in 2013?

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Passion for Plum

Front door via Maria Killam

Plum is purple’s moodier, sultrier, darker cousin and it’s a big colour trend for this fall. It’s a versatile colour that can be powerful in both masculine and feminine environments. It’s the perfect colour for adding luxury and sexiness to any space.

It’s not too often you come across a purple front door, but the effect is definitely striking. Plum is the perfect surprise colour, because you don’t see it used as frequently as other colours. Here are some rooms that take advantage of plum in all its purpley goodness and use it in unexpected ways.

Image via Sarah Kaye

Plum and white are a mod pairing that is effective because of the contrast. When choosing a shade of plum to use as a wall colour you may want to go a touch darker than you first think; the effect will be more dramatic. The shade on the baseboards in this room is a deep, rich, almost-mauve that works beautifully with the dark floors.

Dining room via Apartment Therapy

Plum that almost borders on black is a great way to add unexpected colour to a room. Sometimes colour doesn’t need to make a drastic statement and is better left understated, as is the case in this clean and modern dining room; the subtle colour in these dining chairs adds depth to the space without overwhelming it.

Bathroom via BHG

Another great pairing for a masculine use of plum is to match it with espresso coloured woods and dark browns. Nothing about this bathroom is girly, despite the use of plum on the walls, and once again we see white being used to brighten up the room to prevent the combination of dark colours from becoming too heavy.

Catalina in plum via Anthropologie

For a more girly use of plum this duvet set by Anthropologie is sexy, feminine and luxurious.  The ruffled texture of this duvet reminds me of actual plums. Soft textiles are a simple way to use plum in the bedroom, living room and bathroom.

Image via Design Sponge

Plum doesn’t have to be dark and sombre, the plum walls in this mid-century inspired living room  are sophisticated, and not too intense. The Plum walls and the grey sofa are a stellar match, and we’ve already seen how well plum and natural wood shades work together, which this homeowner has used to their best advantage.

Kitchen via Style Files

This rustic kitchen uses plums and purples in clever ways.  The stained plum cupboard doors and the ornate rug really stand out in this primarily white kitchen. The key to this look is combining texture and colour so you don’t feel like you’re looking at too much of one colour.

Happy Friday Everyone!

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Colour Trends For Fall

Colours for Fall from Pantoneimage via Pantone

For many, the coming of fall is a time of rejuvenation and renewal. If you’ve been putting off a big home makeover now might be the time to put those plans into action.  Pantone has just released its fall colour report for fall, and although there aren’t many surprises in the collection the colours look perfect for the season and will easily transition into home decor.  Here are a few of our favourite  colour trends and how to incorporate them into your home.

French Roast, Pantone 19-1012Pantone 19-1012

French Roast

A rich coffee brown that is warm and luxurious when paired with other deep colours. For a  more modern feel mix it with bright colours like fiery orange or white.

French Roast Dining Room via BHGimage via bhg

How to use it:

On the walls in the dining room, or in a hallway for a decadent atmosphere. The richness of this colour will be intensified under the right lights, so sconces and chandeliers with a warm glow are great options if you are planning on changing up your lighting.

Rose Smoke Pantone 14-1506Pantone 14-1506 TCX

Rose Smoke

Pink has been on trend for awhile now but the newest shade is a mere whisper of pink that borders on grey and beige. Feminine without being too girly, this colour can be used in a broad range of decor styles.

Rose Smoke accents in a living roomimage via apartment therapy

How to use it:

The bathroom and bedroom are the expected places to find this colour, but you can also try experimenting with it using textiles and accents throughout your home.

Bright Chartreuse Pantone 14-0445pantone 14-0445

Bright Chartreuse

A chartreuse that is almost electric is an exciting way to liven up a room. This is the colour to add if you want to update an existing space without spending too much time and money.

Bright Chartreuse Door via Elements of Stylevia elements of style

How to use it:

If you’re feeling bold you can use it as a paint colour in just about any room, but as a safer alternative it will be easy to incorporate via accents and textiles. This bright chartreuse door is a great example of how powerful this colour can be when used in the right way.

Olympian Blue Pantone 19-4056Pantone 19-4056

Olympian Blue

For those still suffering from Olympic withdrawal there is even a colour for you in the forecast; Olympian blue is sporty and fresh, not too dark and not too bright.

Olympian Blue bedroom accents via Lennoxximage via the Lennoxx

How to use it:

In the bedroom this easy to live with colour looks great mixed with different shades of blue, and paired with white to keep it from getting too dark or moody. I think this would also be a great colour for a bathroom or kids room.

Titanium, Pantone 17-4014Pantone 17-4014


Titanium is the perfect neutral to pair with any of Pantone’s fall colours. It’s a modern metallic that is a touch on the sombre side, so try punching it up with brights.

Titanium coloured wall and furniture via Desire to Inspireimage via desire to inspire

How to use it:

On living room walls, or in the bathroom combined with white cabinetry. Although this look might be a little too much grey for most people to live with I love the effect stylist Camilla Krishnaswamy has achieved by layering the shade in this room. So dramatic.

For more info on all of Pantone’s picks you can go here. I find the whole colour forecasting thing to be fascinating, and it’s always amazing to see how quickly these colour start popping up in magazines and stores.

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Nailed It: Fun and Fabulous Nail Art

I am not a girly-girl. Much to my mother’s chagrin I was a tomboy as a child, more likely to be mucking around in the dirt than playing dress up. I haven’t gotten much better as an adult but, after six years in Kentucky, a little bit of Southern femininity has rubbed off on me.  Now I rarely leave the house without some makeup on and at least once a month I head to the salon to get my nails done.

opi nail colors

Photo: A Guide to OPI Collections

I’m pretty conservative when it comes to nail colour; a pale nude pink for my fingers and something slightly brighter for my toes will usually suffice. But the plethora of polish colours that is now available has me itching to be more adventurous.

gold flecked nails

Photo: Fab Fatale via Pinterest

I used to think of nail art as being either really childish or kind of trashy. But celebrity manicurists have helped to create classy new styles that copy fashion trends and are still wearable in everyday life. For example, I love how Fab Fatale layered Deborah Lippmann’s Boom Boom Pow, made with 24k gold dust and chunky glitter, over a subtle nude shade to give it a bit of bling. I think this could be my gateway polish to going a little more glam.

Photo: Canadian Beauty

For even more texture, fashionistas are turning to the Ciaté Caviar Manicure, for which tiny beads of colour are applied to a basecoat. This was originally created for a magazine cover shoot and it doesn’t last very long, so it would be best for special occasions. I must admit, I’m intrigued by the look but I think that having textured nails would drive me crazy.

Photo: Running in Heels in Not Fun

Another fashion trend that has been used in everything from clothing to hair colour is the ombré effect, a subtle gradation of colour from light to dark. The easiest way to do this with a manicure is to pick five shades of one colour and paint one on each nail from lightest to darkest. If you are going to go this route, it’s best to pick colours that you really like so that you can wear them individually. Another way to achieve this effect is to buy one polish along with a bottle of white; simply pour the varnish into five small containers and add increasing amounts of the white to create custom gradations.

Photo: The Buyble

It takes a little more work, but the ombré technique can also be done on each nail.  This tutorial from Beautylish shows how you can do this at home, using two colours and a makeup sponge.

Photo: Refinery 29

Neon has made a big comeback this year. I’m old enough to have worn it the first time it was in, so I’m not going there now. But I might try Refinery 29’s Neon Splatter Manicure, which manages to incorporate the bright hues without being overwhelming.

Photo: If It’s Hip It’s Here

I’m a little obsessed with text art so I was over the moon when I saw this Newspaper Transfer Manicure on If It’s Hip It’s Here. I’m really horrible at applying my own polish, hence my trips to the salon, but this is so cool I might have to bust out tools.

Photo: Daily Something

If you are also a little challenged in the nail polish application department, you might want to start with nail decals. Companies like Nail Fraud offer dozens of patterns. Styles range from subdued to show-stopping, so there really is something for everyone. Their biggest advantage? They take only a few minutes to apply and there is no drying time!

Photo: Nail Side

The secret to keeping nail art looking cool is to keep your nails short and file them in a slightly rounded shape. So this weekend, take some time for yourself; grab your favourite polish and create some art!

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A Love of All Things Asian: The Freer Gallery’s Peacock Room

I tend to think of the influence of Asian art on Western design as being a recent trend but in fact it has had a significant impact for over 150 years.

by Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai, South Wind, Clear Sky (1830-1833)
Photo: The British Museum

In the 1860’s, Japan opened up to international trade, which provided Europe with greater access to the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints that were gaining popularity in France. The style of artists like Katsushika Hokusai was completely different from the realism found in traditional European painting at the time.

Painting by Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt, Maternal Caress (1891)
Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Artists of the Impressionist and later movements emulated the clean lines and bold colours of the Japanese masters, as well as the scenes of everyday life and landscapes.

Japanese inspired Van Gogh painting

Vincent Van Gogh (after Eisen), La Courtisane (1887)
Photo: Hokusai Online

People in Paris and London went crazy for all things Japanese, including ceramics, bronzes, and clothing items like kimonos and fans. As interest in the East grew, so too did an interest in the art of other cultures, like China.

Kimono fabric in European dress

19th Century Dress Made from a Kimono
Photo: The Dreamtress

Perhaps the greatest example of this fascination with incorporating elements of Asian culture in 19th century design is The Peacock Room. Originally created for British shipping magnate Frederick Leyland to showcase his Chinese porcelain collection, it was redecorated in blue and gold by James McNeill Whistler in the 1870’s to reflect the patterns of Leyland’s ceramics. Whistler even installed one of his Japanisme paintings, The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, above the mantle.

The Peacock Room

The Peacock Room
Photo: Picturing AmericaMIAC

In 1908, Charles Lang Freer purchased the room and it shipped to America and installed in his house in Detroit. Like Leyland, he used the space to display his collection of Asian and Islamic ceramics.

The Peacock Room
Photo: The Freer Gallery

The room has once again been transported, this time to the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., complete with its ceramics just as it stood in Detroit. I recently visited the Freer to view its collection of Islamic art but ended up spending almost an hour in this room. I was mesmerized by the rich gold and bluish-green colour scheme; it was both overwhelming and comforting and if I didn’t have a train to catch, I could have spent the rest of the day there taking in the many wondrous details.

The Peacock Room
Photo: Smithsonian Studio Art Blog

Since then, I have found myself a little obsessed with this space, wondering if a modernized version might be possible. Peacock blue has been a popular paint colour in recent years, and that would be the easiest fix, with added touches of gold and a few Asian accessories.

Photo: House of Turquoise via Vignette Design

If you want to go really bold, you could use vintage-style wallpaper, like this damask print.

Photo: Kaboodle

I think the Victorian horror vacui wallpaper/painting is a little much (and who can afford to have someone like Whistler come and paint their living room?) but a screen with a peacock design would help to evoke its spirit.

Photo: Whitehaven Interiors

Perhaps the easiest way to replicate the Japanisme décor of the original room is with groupings of Asian ceramics or other collectables.

Photo: Greentea Design

These don’t need to be precious antiques and in fact I think it would be far more interesting to use modern items, perhaps set on gold lacquered shelves against a bold blue background.

Photo: Greentea Design

If you are in Washington, I urge you to visit The Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery. If you can’t, you can at least take a virtual tour online. But what I would really like to see is your interpretation of this Western take on Eastern style. Have you mixed East and West in your décor?