Last night I was working with the TV on.  I do that when I work late at night - mostly for noise, or the companionship of noise.  I had the TV tuned to HGTV and I wasn't really paying attention.  House hunting somewhere I didn't want to live, or something like that...but then, Genevieve Gorder came on doing a NYC apartment renovation - her own apartment...and that caught my attention.

I've always liked watching Genevieve.  I was curious to see what she would do in her own home with her own budget, and she did some pretty cool things - and some weird ones.  This episode was on her kitchen/dining area - in white because it was in the middle of the New York brownstone and had no windows for natural light.  She thinks outside of the box a little, which is fun. She has 12 foot ceilings (ceiling envy big time) and a girl after my own heart as she took those kitchen cabinets all the way to the top... and then added a rolling library ladder to reach them.  Sweet.

One thing she did really well was pull the same touches throughout the space.  The room was basically white, but she had a red woven rope on the backs of her bar stools, and repeated that red in the tablecloth (family heirloom) and again with accents and accessories in the dining area.  It wasn't a whole lot of color, but it was just enough, repeated, to marry these areas together.  Creating flow.

When you are decorating your home, bear that in mind.  Repeat the same colors, in different variations and frequencies, throughout your rooms.  Pull the palette through.  It creates unity.  Flow.  Marriage. Whatever you want to call it - it makes sense and makes the rooms 'feel' like they belong together.

And check out HGTV - Genevieve's Renovation.  (It's older because I was watching reruns!)

-------------------------QUESTIONS FROM READERS-------------------------

Hi Claudine!
I just came across your website and blog and thought I could really use some of your great advice :)
This is our front room.  Excuse the clutter.... It's my music room, (hence the piano and cello), and it's also been used as a kids' room (hence the bassinet, the pram and the mess).  It's meant to be a warm, retro-style, cozy retreat for reading and having a nightcap after the kids have gone to bed.  At some stage I also intend to bring in a desk so that I can use it as a study as well.  To try and achieve my look I started bringing in the brown curtains, vintage suitcases etc to give it a cozy retro feel.
But then I got stumped.  The rug didn't seem to match with the couch or basically with anything; the curtains didn't seem right and no matter what pictures I put up on the walls it just didn't seem to all tie together.  I think the problem is that I don't have a consistent palette of colours.  I have burgundy red, peach, dark grey, brown, cream, black, blue, yellow and timber all in the one room!  But I'm having trouble figuring out what to change.  I'm pretty sure that I need to replace the rug, as it seems really hard to find anything that goes well with it.  

The paintwork is old and I definitely intend to paint the room - so I need to select a colour palette.  My question is - what colour scheme should I aim for in this room, to make it all look more tied together?  If I can pick a colour scheme and stick to it, then I can work out whether I need to replace the rug...or the couch....or the wall art...or all of the above.  

The less I have to replace, the better!
Kind regards
K. J. 
Adelaide, South Australia

Dear K.J.
I'm sorry for the long delay in replying - when work gets busy, I can't spend as much time answering questions.  You may have already solved your problem, but others may find this useful, so I will still answer.  

You nailed the problem.  The solution should be relatively easy as well.  You need a color palette. 

I'm thinking that the sofa may be the most expensive to replace - so lets pull the palette from there so that you won't need to.  It appears to be a soft grey or light blue/grey (I'm assuming blue).  I would paint your walls a shade of light grey, bring in some fresh white for baseboards and trim and then decide what you want to use as your second color (a compliment to the light blue/grey). 

In a small room such as this, I would stay away from strong contrasting colors in your large pieces - so I would replace the rug with a sisal or woven rug in a lighter color.  A natural sisal would blend more with the floor.  A soft colored pattern rug should extend the sofa's color palette.

The dark brown curtains are a little dark for this room, because the strong contrast breaks the room up and causes it to feel smaller.  Lighter colors for your window treatment are better.  The rest of the palette is really up to you.  Choose a color you like that looks nice with the sofa colors.   I would use lighter softer colors for the walls, rug and fabrics - and make sure you have a good smattering of white in the fabrics and/or accessories to keep it fresh.  Bring in stronger more vibrant colors in your accessories, pillows and decorations.  Your artwork is perfectly fine and will look great with the neutral background.  Best of luck!


I painted my kitchen red geranium.  But I'm having a very hard time on finding a color for the living room. There is a countertop that divides the kitchen in the living room. I really like beige but I don't know what shade of beige will go with or even will look good. Please, please help.

JOJO Daniel

You made a very bold choice for your kitchen color!  You must love red!  My husband has the same preference - red is his very favorite color.  It can be a difficult color to work with though, and my best advice to you is to stay away from the 'warm' or 'hot' colors for the living room (except in accessories or fabrics), so that your home doesn't feel too warm.  

That may seem odd, but warm colors tend to move toward you, making a room feel smaller and cool colors recede making it feel more spacious. Too many warm tones can have an overwhelming effect. Cooler colors that work with red are grayed down tones.  You like beige, and there are some very beautiful beiges with gray undertones, so they are on the cool side instead of the warm.  I've included a few pictures of rooms with red accents that would blend well with your red kitchen.








Hi, can you please tell me what paint color is used in this picture from your blog?
I have light gray chenille sofa with a brown leather arm chair, and a cow-hide rug over a sisal. I have Puritan gray in my dining room which opens to this room and I have gray owl in my kitchen. Thank you.  -Mary 

I believe the color to be Benjamin Moore HORIZON GRAY..  It has a hint of green in there which softens the gray-blue.  Good luck!







Decorating is always easier if you have a clear color palette in mind.
Even with an idea of what colors you want in a room, selecting paint can be a daunting task.
There are literally thousands of colors to choose from, and even if you have a general idea what you will be using in your decor, wall color is difficult.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help make it a little bit easier:

Kylie M Interiors
[Benjamin Moore GRAY OWL]

I'm not talking beige or tan here.  Neutrals are not limited to whites, tans, browns, grays and beiges. Nearly every color can be a neutral - It will be the muted down or grayed down version of that color, but that is actually the best version to have on your walls.  It will enhance but not overpower the rest of your decor.

Your wall color should not be the first thing you see when you enter a room - it should all pull together as one balanced look.  If your guests say, "Wow, now that's a wall color".... you've missed the mark. They should be saying, "What a beautiful room!..".


Paint some samples of the colors you are considering.

Instead of painting samples on your walls, paint two coats (letting it dry between coats) on poster board or foam core board. Leave a 2" white border around the sample, otherwise the current color on the wall may influence how you see the new color.  This allows you to tack the poster board to your wall and move the board around the room to see it in different lighting.

Clay Beige by Benjamin Moore
Paint often has hidden undertones that may not be immediately visible. That's important, because wall color is affected by light, and the light in your home is different from the light in anyone else's home.  Light changes throughout the day with the position of the sun and there is artificial light in the evening that differs with wattage and the type of light.  Natural light is also influenced by the direction your room faces and sometimes with the vegetation in your yard.  You may find that soft sage green that looked lovely in the paint store turns into pea soup in your home's evening light.  So live with your samples for a day or two - and see if it is a color you love.

Accessible Beige - Sherwin Williams

Paint is the easiest and least expensive design element to change.

Don't stress over wall color - if it doesn't turn out as hoped, just repaint.
Bennington Gray - Benjamin Moore

Woodstock Tan (Benjamin Moore)


(Valspar -Blue Arrow)

Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams

Benjamin Moore's color palette is truly exceptional.  (Pottery Barn also uses their paint for the catalog).   Sherwin Williams has a great selection of grays, cool beiges and grayed down greens and blues.  In face, gray is not limited to the lighter version of black you grew up with.  Today's gray includes a full spectrum of color and intensity and looks beautiful paired with your favorite color.

Gray looks wonderful with silver, and surpisingly just as elegant with gold.

It is beautiful paired with cream or crisp white

Gray doesn't overpower or fight with other colors.  It is the perfect well-behaved neutral.  It is perfect with warm tones.

It warms up with burnt orange or pumpkin

One of my favorite combinations is a soothing gray beige with cream and tan
A calm gray beige with white is a perfect palette for a soothing nursery
Gray-blue creates a cool, clean classic with white and chrome/silver
Revere Pewter (Benjamin Moore) accented with black

Fabric and Upholstery take on the gray tones in this design by Candice Olson

Darker greys create a more masculine atmosphere

and a more dramatic design

a combination of gray and tobacco with darker woods -
proof that gray works with nearly every color and wood tone

soft gray painted cabinets

Gray and white  -  a classic look

beautiful layers - light gray walls with deeper upholstery and rich wood tones
Centsational Girl
Benjamin Moore TRANQUILITY

paired with cream again - I'm liking this!

this soft gray with lavender is beautiful, airy and feminine

Stonington Gray (Benjamin Moore)
Willow Creek (Benjamin Moore)

design by Helen Green
Gray-greens sooth and calm - and look striking with white molding
Gray beige is often called Griege.

Since warm colors move toward you, they often make a room feel smaller or cozier.  A cooler color will feel more calm and expand the feeling of the room.  Beige is generally a warmer color - but when it is grayed down to a 'greige' is becomes a cool color.

Gray is a perfect cameleon - cool on its own - when paired with warmer colors it allows them to shine
there is nothing 'cool' about this room..
tell me you love the ledge behind the bed and the giant mirror as headboard that adds light and dimension to this room.  that's creating brilliant magic, baby!

the pale gold with that beiges-gray (greige) -  poetry

Taupe is basically grayed-down brown or tan.  

tan is the perfect compliment to this silver blue room

Sandy Hook Grey (Benjamin Moore)

Creekside Green (Benjamin Moore)

white washed (gray washed) woods

Like an overcast day, gray enhances the other colors around it. 

 I hope you have enjoyed exploring gray with me.  


link within

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