Warm white

White on white
The colorless shade has so many variations that can make spaces and furnishings appear stark, shabby chic and modern. But most don’t think of adding white to warm up a room. Let me show you the ways:
white church
Scott and I recently visited the island of Hvar in Croatia. And while I was taken with the tiny city of Hvar Town’s Renaissance and Gothic architecture, I was more impressed with the color (or lack thereof) of the buildings. Shades of white, cream, ivory, alabaster, pearl, chalk, milk and snow wrap stone buildings, blanket cobblestone streets, cover windows and shade outdoor markets.
white hotel
I was totally inspired by so much non color. Scott’s not a huge fan of decorating with white. He prefers color and pattern, but I suspect if I created one of these inviting vignettes at home, I would change his mind.
Warm Welcome
Create a warm welcome
Lay something soft but durable at the entry, like this striped dhurrie rug. Place a bench on top, a place to sit and put on or take off shoes–and a place to drop your bag. Make it cozy with a small sheepskin rug and a few textured throw pillows, like these linen and cable-knit designs. Add a decorative coat rack. And a few cozy items, like this shearling vest and wood bead wreath. And something whimsical and fun, such as this vintage cowbell.
Create a comfy nook in the office
Make a comfy nook in the home office
Start with a comfortable but inexpensive couch, something with a removable slipcover if possible. Add a small end table. Add a few throw pillows for additional comfort. I couldn’t find any white-and-metallic-gold pillows that I loved, so I would buy this metallic linen fabric and this geometric pattern and make my own. Shed some light on the space for reading. And finish the space with one-of-a-kind art.

Add instant warmth to a room

I don’t believe in changing out decor and furnishings with each season, but I do think it’s important to cozy up a room for fall and winter and delayer come spring and summer. I also don’t believe in spending buckets of money for a seasonal switch or addition, so here are five easy–and quickish–ideas to cozy up your place.

I always say that the quickest way to dress up a look is to paint your pout a classic red. And the easiest way to warm up a space? Red. It’s a statement but one that comforts. Santa Clause, hearts and nostalgia-creating Radio Flyers all share the shade. I wouldn’t advise letting the bold hue samba all over your home but start with the entrance. Paint the front door. Try any hue from a soft orange-y Nantucket red, like Farrow & Ball’s Blazer 212 to something bold and flaming, such as Benjamin Moore’s Moroccan Red.
Farrow & Ball Blazer 212Moroccan Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick. Think of your fondest memory? Does it take you to a warm safe place? Is it from your childhood? Use those memories as inspiration for your home. As a kid, I loved playing games with my family. We’d have family game time on every vacation and on all holidays, and it always created lots and lots of laughter. To incorporate this fun into my home, I might frame and hang a series of vintage board games, fill a small glass bowl with wooden game pieces or take a whack at these mallet hooks from the very creative KariAnne at Thistlewood Farms.
Vintage game boardsVintage game piecesMallet hooks

 

 

 

 

 

Leather is fantastic for summer but can feel pretty cold in the fall. Add lots of comfy textured pillows. Some of my favorites for fall include off-white knits , dark turquoise velvets and a jacquard weave.
Comfy sofa
Fill space with favorite tomes. For me, cold, rainy days mean curling up with a good book. Stack novels or decorative books on nighstands, entertainment centers, even entry tables (like I did here).
Styling the entryway
Fixing drafty windows, doors and fireplaces can be a costly endeavor. Keeping several throws in easy reach is way less expensive. Fill this graphite tweed bin with throws like this coral one and this woven stripe.

new bin shotcoral onewoven one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make an impact with neutrals

Neutrals are not boring. Grays, browns and whites come in such a variety of shades (from light to saturated, matte to metallic), textures and patterns that they can add more visual interest to a room than a single bold color.
Michelle's before
Lots of espresso decor and not a ton of natural light made this space very dark, but the furnishings were still in great shape so there was no need to toss and start new. Instead I lightened things up with lots of light accents and surfaces with different finishes, like replacing one of the end tables (and repurposing it in another room) with a white pedestal marble table.
A neutral and bright living space
I started in the living room. I removed all of the oversized brown pillows and added new decorative cushions in gray tones made from materials like wool felt, silk and metallic cotton blends. I also added a white cable-knit throw to the mix.

To eat up a good chunk of the large wall behind the sofa, we commissioned one of the clients’ friends to take this fantastic black-and-white shot, then blew it up on a canvas at Costco. The smaller sketches came from a British artist on Etsy. I loved the touches of red each had because the room needed a little pop. I framed each print in a different black frame and created a small collection.
A neutral and bright living space
My clients didn’t have a dining room in their previous apartment so we went with a light wood farmhouse table (a Craigslist score) and repainted the chocolate stools the same light gray we used on the console table in the entryway.
Michelle stools before
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I hung a floating shelf to take up space in the dining room, then layered handmade artwork. You can read how to create my crackle paintings here. To make a few sophisticated chalkboards for the room, I purchased thrift-store frames in different sizes and spray-painted the glass with chalkboard paint. The clients use some of this art to let friends and family leave their mark when they visit.
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A Parisian-inspired foyer

Parisian-inspired foyer

An elegant chair, round table, classic mirror, stacks and stacks of fashion magazines and a few edited objects greeted Scott and I when we entered the lobby of our hotel in Paris. I was immediately inspired.

Parisian foyer color inspiration

And meandering through Paris’ romantic streets, we stumbled across this little bistro, which led to my color scheme for a Parisian entryway I would create.

Parisian-inspired foyer final

My little entry starts with a curvy chair and a table that I would paint Cathedral Gray. I would opt to remove the top and replace it with a carrara marble remnant cut to size. Check your local stone manufacturer or distributor. The vintage gold mirror would be hung low, and I’d make simple chalkboard art (just paint glass frames with chalkboard spray paint) to prop on the table against the wall. On the table, I’d place a weathered gray lamp, a faux antiqued bust, a silver bell and an aquamarine Eiffel tower figurine. To light this lovely little vignette, I’d hang a gold French chandelier, of course.

Styling an entryway–for less than $100

A neutral and bright living space

Entryways may occupy the smallest square footage in your home, but the small space should not be overlooked when it comes to decorating. I partnered with the incredibly talented Jennie Sullins of BeautyHive Studios to illustrate a few ideas for making an entrance, whether you prefer a relaxed reception or a fashionable foyer.

There was one long wall in this entry, so I found an inexpensive long and slim console table on Craigslist and painted it Cathedral Gray. I decided on a gray, white, silver and gold palette for this project and painted the new hardware gold.

How to style an entryway

Think symmetry when it comes to creating order–even if you’re faking it–in the entryway. These matching starburst mirrors hang at the same level just outside the edges of the table, creating the illusion of a grander foyer and reflecting extra bits of light from the front door.

Styling the entryway

To add some personality to this passageway, I used what Michelle, the homeowner, already had–a collection of black-binded books, a blue vase and a pair of bookends (they used to be bright yellow!), which I painted with the same gold-leaf spray paint I used on the hardware.

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