Home Décor: Will My Color Palette Hold True?

I’ve moved a lot.  Detroit to Chicago to Greenwich, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Armonk… In the early years this usually meant having to fork over several paychecks to purchase all new furniture that would work in each new apartment.  I am hoping that with age comes wisdom and that some of my better pieces I now have will be flexible and space neutral.  No matter what, there are always special needs with each new home, usually having to do with addressing storage.  So I am certain to be visiting the Container Store and IKEA – a lot.

What will be the true test with this move is color.  In the last couple of places I started to settle in on a more consistent color palette for walls, furniture and accessories.  But I have also been living in an open-concept space and will be moving to a traditional divided space with lots of rooms.  I am wondering if my choices will still work.  For example I like dark furniture pieces, and they worked well to ground my current place since it was so large.  Will they work in my new home or will they feel too heavy?

My Current Color Palette

Here is what I have settled on in my last two homes:

a winning home decor color palette

  1. Trim = white.  Super easy to clean and touch up if little chips happen over time.  White is just fresh and goes with about any decoration style you can think of.  I like Behr brand’s Ultra Pure White.  My gut tells me this will still be true in the new house.  This is a classic for a reason.
  2. Walls = beige.  Beige is not boring!  First of all beige is soft and reflects light, which is critical to making small spaces feel more warm and inviting.  Second, beige is the perfect canvas for even the craziest and brightest of artwork – which puts the emphasis, rightfully so, on the art and not your sheetrock. Beige is a proven safe bet for staging, and when the time comes to sell or move, means there is no frantic rush to repaint the whole place.  And my favorite part is that there is a little magic in the combination of beige plus white trim when used in older homes that have seen some wear-and-tear.  Soft beige is one of white’s nearest neighbors color-wise and this helps to hide many of the wobbles where a wall ends and the trim molding begins. My absolute favorite paint is Bear’s Informal Ivory.  Later this week a fresh coat of this color will be going up in my new living room.  I have 100% confidence in it.
  3. Floors = medium brown wood.  To begin, hardwood is one of the best things you can do for the resale value of a home (true the prize goes to having a new/renovated kitchen and bath).  Wood is fantastic for anyone who suffers from allergies (take it from me carpet is evil.)  While not everyone has a choice in this regard, a classic brown wood tone with a hint of golden red in the grain really warms up a space.  My new place has a combination of some rooms in wood and some in laminate all roughly the same medium brown tone.  The only room that is carpeted is the living room which I will have to live with.
  4. Furniture = dark brown/black wood?  Like I said this is going to be the test if my current style will hold true in the new home or was a of-the-moment option.  I am hopeful because the use of a few dark wood furniture pieces really shines against the base palette described above.  But I think I might need to lighten things up with some white or upholstered pieces.


This is where things always get interesting in a new space.  I have toggled between two different styles for the most part.  The first because is is so comforting and calm and the second because of my love for Hawaii.

Chic Retreat / Soothing Spa:

touches of pink interior

Japanese Style Point:  The asanoha pattern on the pillows.
  1. Celadon blue – While I think this was slightly overdone in around early 2000, I still adore the soft and soothing feel of celadon.  I have several Asian vases this color and they are so calm and yet so refined.  I also have a beautiful rug in this color that currently was in my sewing room but I think will transition to my new bedroom.
  2. + Soft pink – I love it.  However, the trick is to keep this to a very small quantity, we are talking about an accent here, so I will need to show restraint.  Its OK if it explodes inside the closet, just not in the rest of the house. 

celadon spa interior

Japanese Style Point:  The ceramics look like a modern version of kokeshi.

Modern Tropics:

  1. Navy blue & white –  I first picked up this color scheme from Asian vases, but quickly learned when applied to curtain valances and other accents really adds a rich and sophisticated feel to a home.  These colors can work in either a traditional setting or a very modern style.  This combo also has a cooling effect in the summer, something the Japanese have known for ages and have applied to both their interiors and fashion.
  2. + Sage/lime green – This is what gives the nod to the tropics.  You see this color in most tropical fabrics – the color of plants and palm fronds.  But I prefer to use it sparingly.  A vase here and there.  A candle stick holder.  And mostly the real deal, in live plants.

modern tropics interior

Japanese Style Point:  The entry way is from my favorite book, Blue and White Japan.

Current Thinking

I’ve been scouring Pinterest for inspiration and these three photos really spoke to me.  Soft, relaxed and clean.  Like I said, might need to drop some of my dark furniture pieces and mix in more white.  At least that is where my head is at right now.  Will only know for sure once we move in and I can start playing around.

new home mood board 2013

Japanese Style Point:  The floor cushions and table are reminiscent of zabuton and chabudai.
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