Month: June 2011

The Magic of Paint – For Wood Paneling

June 30, 2011

After: Light and AiryCoastal Living

Are you still stuck in this man’s world?


Do you still have walls or ceilings in your home with wood paneling?


Before: Outdated Living Room

Are you still afraid to paint over?


After: Polished and Modern

Today it is actually very easy to paint over the wood.

Before: Distracting Elements

A fresh coat of white paint ( and a downsized fireplace):

After: Simplistic View

Pretty amazing what paint can do.

Space-saving Kitchen: Before

Space-saving Kitchen: AfterCoastal Living

So, you decided you like the clean, white surrounding instead of the dreary, dark wood background.  Look how easy the steps are today:

1)  Clean. You MUST clean the paneling well first.  It is not a waste of time, you never know what is layered on that old wood!  TSP is a good product I use that cleans surfaces in preparation for painting.  It removes grease, oil, sooty dirt and prepares painted surfaces for repainting.

Homeowner’s used to want to fill in the cracks of paneling with compound and then sand it down to get that smooth finished wall.  It is a very time consuming job plus it runs the risk of cracking in the future.  My advice is to leave the cracks and wood defects alone!  I would simply paint the paneling for a look of added depth and texture.

2)  Prime.  Another step you can not skip. (that’s right, I know who you are).  The primer is important because it helps to cover the wall’s imperfections, provides a better surface for the paint to stick to and keeps fresh paint from soaking into patched areas.  My top choice for primer is ‘Stix’.


“STIX Bonding Primer A waterborne urethane acrylic bonding primer that strongly bonds to hard, glossy paints and other challenging substrates such as PVC, vinyl, fiberglass, glazed block, tile, pre-coated siding, and galvanized metals. It levels to a smooth film to dramatically improve the topcoat appearance. May be topcoated with latex, alkyd, epoxy, urethane, or lacquer coatings. May be used in interior or exterior applications.” (company ad)

3) Paint.  Which color looks best?  My favorite painted paneling I have seen in homes and decor magazines are white or cream. To help you narrow down your choices be sure to look at the undertones of your flooring.

apartment therapy



Look how beautiful this entry is:

Now do you think it’s time?


It makes the room look so much brighter, cleaner, and full of life.  Don’t you agree?  Comments?

If you would like to see more photos of painted paneling, visit my Pinterest board here.

If you need help updating your home, contact me today!

How to Make Your Porch House Beautiful Worthy

June 28, 2011

decks/patios - white cane chairs outdoor dining set orange cushions white chandelier pink green tufted cushions deck patio  Suzanne Dima via

House & Home

Sometimes decorating can be so simple. The decorating principles are the same outside as they are inside the home.

decks/patios - pink gray deck sofas chairs table pink gray deck  Thanks to HB!   Another great outdoor space!  Gray and pink is so pretty! GrayHouse Beautiful

These patios above are very pretty and they all have a little something “extra” that is making them look so special. Do you know what that is?

It is the pops of color!  The bright and clean pinks, oranges, yellows, greens and blues are what makes the space come alive!

This setting below would be pretty boring without the pops of pink:

decks/patios - outdoor sectional exterior curtains  Outdoor living space  white and pink striped pillows and outdoor furniture.decorpad

Love this porch below!:

decks/patios - blue faux bamboo chair white glossy lacquer block table pillows ivory settee blue white outdoor pillows white West Elm Moroccan accent table basket lanterns deck patioHouse Beautiful

Just a couple pretty pillows and a set of old painted chairs can instantly add beauty and character.  So simple and so pretty!!

decks/patios - black wicker outdoor sofa orange cushions black wicker chair green cushion black wicker octagon table black lantern  Jean Randazzo

Sometimes you can just add bunches of flowers to make a space look ‘wow’:

decks/patios - hydrangeas outdoor furniture  Thanks to Kelly Hoppen.  Bountiful hydrangeas! Modern outdoor furniture!Kelly Hoppen

decks/patios - lounge outdoor deck  Outdoor lounge  outdoor furniture, red home exterior and trees.decorpad

Do you see the cute little dog peaking out?  In the Fall they probably switch out their pillows to more muted shades of sage greens, autumn golds and browns.

Now look how easy it would be to copy this look below:

decks/patios - deck sofa table lantern blue white  Thanks to HB!  Great outdoor Mediterranean space!  Love the pops of blue! Blue white outdoorHouse Beautiful

We can do this!  Buy a few bright, bold colored pillows and lay them out on our chairs.  Maybe hang a coordinating towel nearby on the railing.  When I have outdoor parties, I like to hang out a Mexican blanket or two for color.  Bring in a couple pretty pots of flowers and  ta-da!  You too will have a beautiful put together outdoor space! Calling House Beautiful!Comments?  Would love you to share a picture of where you relax outdoors.

If you need help making your space fabulous, contact me today!

Updating Your Chocolate Brown Furnishings

June 23, 2011

Bobby McAlpine

It feels like just yesterday, most of our homes were decorated in the autumn colors of brown, beige, gold and burgundy.

Color Scheme with #663300 #CC9900 #333300 #CC6600

Now the traditional brown is quickly turning into a ‘outdated’ color next to the clean, fresh and gray look.  Quite a few of us still have the chocolate brown sofa and can not afford right now to buy new modern seating. So how can we modernize our existing furnishings?

In my opinion, paint is still the quickest, least expensive way to transform a room.


Chocolate brown and blue is still a popular combo. The coolness of the blue freshens the warm browns:


Turquoise blues, baby blues and navy blues work beautifully with brown.

Color Scheme with #400D12 #4FD5D6 #FF0000 #CDFFFF

Color Scheme with #79BEDB #593E1A #6B78B4 #266A2E

Color Scheme with #1F1209 #003366 #FFF8DC #834C24

Color Scheme with #005099 #7C7062 #1A62A3 #B4A28F #F7F6F4

If painting the room is not in the picture right now, start by removing all the gold and burgundy items in the room, especially the pillows. Then start introducing fresher colors in to the room.


What other colors beside blues work beautifully with brown?

bedrooms - David Hicks La Fiorentina Fabric Pillow kelly green nightstand chocolate brown velvet headboard bed skirt brown lattice pillow green throw cork lamp white faux bamboo chair green cushion chocolate brown silk drapesRoger Davies Photography

Try beautiful greens for another great color option.  I posted here how to update a room using fresh apple green.


Color Scheme with #595F23 #829F53 #A2B964 #5F1E02 #E15417 #FCF141

Color Scheme with #9DAF72 #566047 #562F32 #462D44 #859731 #640E27

Fern greens and apple greens work best.

Or how about ceylon?:

Bringing gray together with brown:

Ken Pursley


Color Scheme with #660033 #E0E6FF #777B88 #330033

Or try clean crisp white and brown:

David Greer and Andrew Halliday

Another way to update and freshen the room is with your flooring. Grasscloth, bamboo, and sisal rugs will work well with your chocolate furnishings.

dens/libraries/offices - brown grasscloth wallpaper tan linen modern sectional sofa orange leather square ottoman cocktail table burnt orange silk pillows chocolate brown throws espresso built-ins bookshelves ladderdecorpad

So, I think we can keep our brown sofa and just make a few inexpensive updates with color.  Who knows, brown might be the next ‘new’ color in a year or so!

Comments?  Other colors you might suggest to modernize chocolate brown?

If you need helping updating your home, contact me today.

Related posts:

Are Bedroom Accent Walls (Out)dated?

Faux Painted Walls? In or Out?

Bringing Back Your Dining Room, part 1

Bringing Back Your Dining Room, part 2

Review of the Ben Moore Color Capture App

June 20, 2011

Over this past weekend, I thought I would give the Color Capture App on my new iPad a test run to see how it worked.

This application is simple and easy to use! You can ‘capture’ (take a picture) of something you would like to find the colors of  the product and the image will upload into the program to start.  You can also use a picture from your photo album you have saved and upload it into the app.

I am thinking of painting a dark blue color behind my bedroom screen, so I started with trying to ‘capture’ the blue in the bedding.

bm capture-19

Very quickly the app gave me a couple great color suggestions.  Depending on the  light/brightness of the photo, you will receive various color readings.  It is up to you to determine which color is the best match.  *An important note: to find the best results, you should have Ben Moore color fan decks with you to be able to  check the color suggestions against the captured object (in my case, it was my comforter).

bm capture-43

The app gave me the color of midnight navy, 2067-10.  I thought it was a good suggestion.  I even looked through the fan deck to see if I could find a better match but I could not. You have a choice to look at the color in the strip or harmony. I really liked the feature of harmony because it gives you color suggestions to coordinate with your color choice.  I would not have thought to try green with the blue, but look how well green works with the bedding:

bm capture-36

bm capture-39

So then I went on to something more complicated:

bm capture-23

The green read perfect:

bm capture-50

The brown and red came in as a perfect match:

bm capture-47

The teal was a bit trickier:

bm capture-51

It is not a perfect match but again I tried to find a better color sample and I could not. Maybe Ben Moore does not make that particular color and this was the closest match.

My next test was to find out if the app worked better or differently based on the brightness of the object.  I first ‘captured’ a picture in the sunlight:

bm capture-13

bm capture-45

The colors were all reading beautifully:

bm capture-04

Then I tried the shade:

bm capture-08

bm capture-31

The colors readings were not coming out very accurate in the shade.  They were reading darker which makes sense because the colors are darker in the shade. I  would stay with the sunlight/bright lighting for a more accurate match.

One last test.  The color capture app was working great with fabric, but what about with neutral wall colors?  This is how they all came out:

bm capture-09

The color above is supposed to be honeymoon af-345.  Same thing happened with alexandria beige hc-77. All gray.  Next I tried a wall painted raisin torte 2083-10:

bm capture-21

And it read as this:

bm capture-44

I tried with blues also, no luck.  It has to be the reflective value of the walls. The app was suggesting colors based on reading the walls as the picture came out- which was correct, just was not the same as the wall color.

My conclusions of the Ben Moore Color Capture app experience:

1)  I was really impressed with how well it worked with different fabrics. However, I was not impressed with the accuracy of painted wall colors.

2)  The color suggestions are most accurate when picture is taken in bright light or sunlight.

3) You should have the Ben Moore fan decks with you to check accuracy of color suggestions.

4)  The only problem I found that I was disappointed with was the combo and saving feature. I tried to save a few favorites and then when I tried to retrieve in ‘combos’, the program would automatically shut down and bring you back to your home screen. I tried to find support but could not find help anywhere on app or online.

5) I really liked the harmony feature.  It gives you other coordinating colors to work with that you might not have thought of yourself.

Overall, I really like the app and will continue to use with fabric.  Plus it was free! What more could you ask for when looking for help in selecting a paint color?

Comments?  Have you tried this app yet? Did you think it was accurate?

If you need help finding perfect colors for your home, contact me today!

Are Greige & Taupe the Same Color?

June 17, 2011

Would you say the above wall is painted taupe or greige?  What about the one below:

Jean-Louis Deniot

The first photo is painted griege.  The second photo is taupe.  Doesn’t the greige and taupe look like the same color?   They are both beautiful neutrals aren’t they?   Taupe:




Let’s investigate! The definition of taupe according to Wikipedia is: taupe is a vague, unscientific color term which may be used to refer to almost any grayish-brown, brownish-gray, or warm gray color.  The definition of greige is not found in the dictionary (recent word) but designers explain the color as a color between grey and beige.  Well, that does not help much.  Let’s look at the undertones:

Taupe Undertones:   Red(pink) & Green

Greige Undertones:   Gray & Beige

Ok, starting to make a little sense now why sometimes a greige color can look gray. Isn’t it interesting that taupe is described as a grayish color, but there are no undertones of gray?  Gray and beige undertones:

Gray Undertones:       Green, Blue & Mauve

Beige Undertones:   Green, yellow, red(pink) & orange.

So the greige and taupe colors can look similar because of the undertones of beige in the greige which are similar to the taupe undertones.  Are you still with me?  And they are different because again the undertones are not the same.


taupe room

Patricai Helling & Daniel Barsanti


1)  So both taupe and greige are gorgeous neutrals.

2)  Taupe and greige can be warm or they can be cool.  Warm greige has a yellow undertone (from the beige).  Warm taupe gets its warmth from the red undertones. Similarly, cool greige has blue undertones (from the gray) and a cool taupe comes from their green undertones.

In conclusion, greige and taupe are not the same color.  They can look similar but because of the undertones they are not.  I now see that a lot of designers actually are not seeing the difference and calling a color greige when it is actually a taupe.

Aren’t you happy I clarified that for you? 😉 I have to tell you that since I came back from Maria’s training, I have been undertone obsessed!

Let’s take a test!  Taupe or Greige:


                                                        via decorpad

living rooms - gray beige greige walls taupe silk drapes bronze sunburst mirror white gray bergere chairs brass glass coffee table floor lamp black marble fireplacevia decorpad

bathrooms - greige walls glossy black chandelier Ikea Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's canvas print tan black roman shade  Amoroso DesignAmoroso Design

living rooms - Serene Living in warm taupe chocolate brown. and robin's egg blue...  blue & gray trasitional living room design via BHG.  Serenevia decorpad

Photo’s #1 and #4 are taupe.  #2 and #3 are griege.

What are some great taupe’s?  Ben Moore Cedar Key 982, Smokey Taupe 983 and Stone Hearth 984.

Designer greige favorites: Ben Moore Revere Pewter HC-172, Grant Beige HC-83 and Bennington Gray HC-82.

Well, what are you thinking?  Agree or disagree? Do you understand a little better now?  Or more confused?

If you need help selecting colors, contact me today!

Other similar posts you may be interested in:

What I Learned at Color School

Finding the Undertones in Gray Stone

Understanding Beige Undertones

Online Dining Room Color Help

June 13, 2011

Pinned Image


Last week I had an online color consultation with a sweet, young girl named Meg.  Her and her boyfriend had just moved into their first apartment and did not have a lot of money to spend. She had written to me asking if I could give her suggestions for her apartment dining room.


“I think any advice on how to clean up/brighten/freshen up the dining room would be great! We don’t really use it that often, but maybe if it was more welcoming, we would. We do have the Ben Moore color Cork (2153-40) painted in the living room.”


That is a good thing the landlord allows them to paint. Obviously we had to work with the cork color because the living room is so visible from the dining room.  The first color that came to mind was black.  Black and cork look so great together!  But I doubted she wanted black dining room walls.

One suggestions is to go lighter on the color strip to desert tan 2153-50 or rich cream 2153-60.

Desert Tan                                                     Rich Cream

Another suggestion would be the complementary color(the color opposite on the color wheel)of yellow-orange which would be a blue-violet color such as wild orchid 2072-40:

Wild Orchid                                                         Cork

I love the orchid but we will have to see what the boyfriend thinks!  Another color I think would work beautifully is a bluish gray called Solitude AF-545:

Pottery Barn-benjamin moore aura paint solitude

(Color here looks bluer than actual color)

I also gave her suggestions for great looking, but inexpensive window treatments:

Product ImageTarget- $19.99

Look at this great Dwell tablecloth at Target For $19.99 here:  Love it!!DwellStudio® for Target® Blossom Tablecloth - 90" Round


Saxon Table Runner and Four  $23.99

For future projects (when money allows), I suggested to change the chandelier lighting fixture to something a bit more updated:

Three Tone Leaves 13 1/2" Wide Black Swag Chandelier  $129.99 (free shipping)


George Kovacs Etched Glass Diffuser Mini Pendant  $130.91 (free shipping)

For this wall, I suggested trying the large black armoire currently on the other side of the room to this wall:


If that doesn’t work, a buffet or console table on this wall would be great with a lamp and mirror that will also work in her new home someday:

Avington Console Table - Dark  $119.99 or:

Lachlan Glossy Black Sofa Table  $104.99

Cut-Corner Square Mirror Edge 21 1/2" Wide Wall  $99.98

lampsplus- $69.91 (free shipping)

I also gave her a good tip for now and future use: The pictures you have hanging on the wall (below) should be brought together to make them more of an impact instead of just floating on the wall separately.  I usually suggest leaving a 2” space between them.


Do you see that funky crown molding?  This looks like an older home.  She has it decorated so cute!  I think painting the walls would be my top suggestion to really make the space come alive, and freshen and brighten up the room like she requested.  Then as the budget allows, purchase a tablecloth or runner that she loves and window treatments. I tried to give her different inexpensive solutions.  I remember when I lived in my first apartment, I could barely afford food!  I feel she has a good head on her shoulders that she trusted herself to pay for a consultation knowing that in the long run it will save her a lot of headaches, money and time.


If you need affordable help updating your space,contact me today!

Related posts:

Bringing Back Your Dining Room, part 1

Bringing Back Your Dining Room, part 2

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall