Designing with Color – Creating the Perfect Room

A design that works - by Eddie Ross for Elle Decor

With the event of spring fever a lot of people have been reading about the Pantone Spring / Summer 2012 Color Trends.

Getting color is less scary than you think. My mantra about color is: Decide how much you can live with and whether it’s 10% of a room or 100%, color it you.

Here are 10 ways + 1 to make it work:

1. Pick a paint or wall paper with  presence. Add a few bold accessories – bright pillows or an area rug that makes a statement can create
instant style.

Pillows from by Designers Guild

2. Make an art statement with stripes.

Stripes are a great way to create modern art without stress! A large-scale format creates
great over the sofa art, and creates design weight to counterbalance that
large flat screen TV, or can be applied to furnishings to re-purpose what you
have and stretch your design dollars. Here’s how:

a)       Consult any one of the Pantone Spring/Summer 2012
Color Forecast articles, and pick the pallet you respond to.

b)       Go to the Lowes nearest you – I suggest Lowe’s
for their $3 Valspar samples that are nearly the size of a quart – best deal
anywhere! Ask an associate to mix the Pantone Colors of your pallet. I have
given you all the numbers, and Pantone is a color standard that all paint
stores know.

c)       Tip: To get that yogurt consistency of a low
splatter high-end paint, leave the tops off for 1-2 hours.

d)       Use this link to my article on how to paint
perfect stripes and follow the instructions:–-painted-…-the-right-way/    voila –

Patterns mixed in keeping with Pantone Color of The Year, Pantone honeysuckle. Products from, include a Surya Area Rug, Design Legacy Pillows, KoKo Pillows, Merben Pillow and BlissHome living

3.  Mixing Patterns can make your room – or break it. If you are unsure about mixing patterns use pillows that speak the speak the same color language, and pick up one of those colors in a large patterned rug. If find this scary, stay with zebra stripes in the color of your choice.

Image from Country Living Magazine

4. Add some fluid, organic shapes. A round lamp with bottleneck, sculptural end tables and glass vases for shape and transparency to soften those stripes.

5.  Create destinations for clutter. Streamline your space
with practical multifunction pieces, like a storage ottoman for a
guest, or a coffee table that converts into extra seating or offers a pop-up
table top so you can enjoy sushi or pizza with your favorite flick.

6.  Create an updated transitional or Bohemian style, by mixing calming
hues with some vibrant pops of color, mix patterns with pillows with your
striped art, and create a display using eclectic pieces like hard cover
books, Terrariums, candles and funky table or mantle accents. Don’t forget
fresh flowers in unexpected containers!

Secrets From a Stylist, Ep 3, Sofa After

A Bohemian eclectic space by Emil Henderson - image from HGTV

7.  Create a display that has strength in numbers. Hang different-size mirrors or framed art pieces together in a pleasing arrangement creates the illusion of something much larger. You can even do this with your striped pieces, simply by varying the
orientation of the stripes (horizontal, vertical or angling your art, hanging
in a “diamond” format. Collected prints, art or photos are an invitation to create
a space that’s warm and welcomes all.

A display that mixes every day items, creating an exceptional whole - image from House Beautiful

8.  Think “mixing” more than “matching.” Don’t pigeon-hole your style with matchy-matchy end tables or lamps. Designers like Candice Olson (Candice Tells All and Divine
Design) mix accents furniture and lighting up routinely, creating glamorous yet effortless and welcoming rooms..

This design by Sarah Richardson would lose significant style points if all the seating matched! Image from

9. Keep everything in balance. This is to say that if you pair 2 large club chairs,  lean a 6′ floor mirror against the adjacent wall. If you have a large piece of wall art over a substantial sectional sofa, balance the sofa with a wall of built-in shelves – you get the idea!

Modern crystal chandelier from

10. Add a bit of sparkle. To make your room look like a million dollars, you need only to give it some sparkle! One of the best ways to add sparkle is crystal – and it doesn’t even need to be faceted. Transparencies, both colored and colorless are huge in the 2012 Home and Furniture Trends.

11. The Finishing Touch – Don’t forget to add something unexpected! An accent furnishing, a lighting fixture, glass fireplace tile, or vinyl pillows add that bit of “je ne sais quoi” or indefinable edge that makes good design great!

 A funky and unexpected chair pattern from House of Turquoise Blog