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When it comes to decorating, what are the three safest and most obvious neutrals? Mmm hmm…beige, taupe and cream — BORING! Believe it or not, there’s another kinda-sorta-neutral most people are super scared of — red. Have you ever noticed that this scarlet showstopper pretty much goes with every other color? In fact, the bold, beautiful hue is so versatile and gender neutral, it’s made cameos in many of my own clients’ homes.

After four years of working as a self-proclaimed professional decorator, I’ve discovered that this super color works highly successfully in small doses. Sure, I’ve splashed walls floor-to-ceiling with red pigment and/or wallpaper, but I prefer just a few high-energy bursts of crimson to add instant drama. To show that I somewhat know what I’m talking about (or not), here’s a few examples of spaces caught red-handed.


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What do Barbra Streisand and Jonathan Adler have in common? Well…

  • Streisand is star of stage and movie screen. Adler, star of the TV screen and design scene.
  • Streisand and Adler both have adorable dogs in neutral hues (Samantha and Liberace).
  • And they both love interior design and color.

Except orange. Barbra…not so keen on orange. Her favorite color? Burgundy. Adler…he LOVES orange, along side pink, turquoise, brown and navy. Something else they have in common? New books, available in stores now.

Read On

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Holiday season has arrived! Those of us hosting the Thanksgiving festivities this year know that there are many things that go into preparing for such an event. And what’s at the top of every holiday host’s checklist? The dinner table. Colorful, artful styling, like my sister does so well, can help you make your Thanksgiving feast a delight for all the senses.

House Beautiful: photo by Alexandra Rowley

My sister makes a grand production of her tabletop design for our family’s annual Thanksgiving feast. She starts planning months ahead of time, devising a color scheme and purchasing special linens. And her creation always inspires awe.


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Religion and politics: the worldwide dynamic duo of topics unwelcome at dinner parties. Known amongst my social circle as the designated diplomat, neither subject gets me heated since I see the pros and cons of each. However, bring up beige at my table and you’ll be sent home before supper.

A world without color is like a song without sound; it baffles me that bold, high-energy hues are often perceived as juvenile, garish or over the top. Although I love a muted blue-gray as much as the next guy, I also love me some turquoise.

However, instead of going on and on all about MY particular thoughts on color, I turned to two design bloggers who are just as passionate about haute hues: the UK’s own Will Taylor from Bright.Bazaar and Atlanta’s “oh-no-she-did-not-just-write-that” Jenny Andrews from My Favorite and My Best. Proof that color/colour has no boundaries: both the Atlantan female blogger and European male stylist/blogger have the same favorite room — that’s in New York.

The Great Color Debate

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Our editorial team has loved Jeanine Hays’ blog, Aphrochic, for years, and we bounced with glee when she launched her home decor collection in 2009. We thought it couldn’t get any better…and then she said yes to our invitation to become our Color + Textiles guru.

Jeanine kicks off her weekly column today with insights for layering color, a simple technique for experimenting with palettes until you find one that fits. Come back every Monday for more of Jeanine’s design vision. I hope you’ll love her modern, soulful style as much as we do.

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Color is deeply personal. We all have our favorites (mine is fuchsia) and those we despise (green just isn’t my hue).

Photo Credit: Domino Magazine

For some it’s all about beige, and then there are those of us who go wild and paint a whole room blue.

(Yes I am referring to that episode of HGTV Design Star).

Bring Color Home, Your Way

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In September, we gave Color of the Month status to the bright, beautiful persimmon. It seemed to perfectly epitomize the point between summer and fall and, oh, the delicious accessorizing possibilities! That choice took two meetings and lots of wrangling. Though by the end, it was obvious what the color should be.

For October, the choice was much easier. It was a color our team loved for September, which met all our rules except being available in stores. (Remember, our criteria for picking colors are: (a) it has to be seasonal (b) up-and-coming (c) and easy to find.)

October’s Hue, Unveiled

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It’s September, and in the Northern hemisphere that means the return of crisp mornings, football games and school supplies. It also means our staff is poring over magazines, blogs and websites, and talking with color and shopping experts about this season’s hottest colors.

So what’s the Color of the Month for September?

design-happens-restoration-hardware-beddingIs it the runway-fave camel, translated into bedding, like this from Restoration Hardware?

design-happens-erinn-valencich-gray-bedroomOr this season’s new neutral, gray? (Design by Erinn Valencich)

design-happens-horchow-tufted-sofaOr do you prefer a more traditional autumn color like wine, as illustrated by Horchow’s beautiful, tufted sofa?

Maybe it’s an unexpected hue like peacock, blush or olive?

We’ve got an idea, but before we lock it in, we want to hear from you.

Need a jump start? How about 10 fall color schemes?

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Colors for Your Home: 300 Designer Favorites (Hearst, 2010) is a go-to guide to help you easily select colors for your home. Based on House Beautiful’s monthly color column, this book brings the color specialists straight to you. It includes more than 300 paint formulas with fun, inspiring names like Smashing Pink, Blue Angel and Perfect Pear.


Benjamin Moore's Smashing Pink and Blue Angel; Dunn Edwards Perfect Pear


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After visiting the zoo last weekend, I realized that the bird section is my favorite. Why? The colors! From peacocks to parrots, birds inspire us to be bold in our color choices.  With that in mind, I picked this week’s rooms and accessories based on their beautiful, bright hues.

color_pillowsoh happy day


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I am all about colorful furniture. One bold piece can turn a pretty room into a stunning gathering place. So, I was thrilled to spot a great deal of color at the Las Vegas furniture market in February – a rainbow of hot hues that will land in your favorite furniture stores and web retailers soon. Some are already there. Check out the colorful chairs that have captured my attention of late, starting with this funky lounge chair. Not for the timid decorator.


The Surf lounger by Karim Rashid

Even the most traditional home can be infused with color. I love this breakfast room that pairs pretty, pastel chairs with chocolate-brown stripes on the wall. Yummy.

Bring some south-of-the-border style to your home with the vibrant colors of Mexican textiles. This fab chair – spotted in a New York City hotel lobby filled with fine art – is a showstopper.

If you enjoy changing your decor frequently, take a look at this modern chair of many colors designed by Denmark firm kiBiSi. You can mix and match pieces of the chair to match your mood.

To make a colorful statement for less, check out the Dahlia chair in green and red, the blue and yellow upholstered slipper chair and Angelo Surmelis’ entire color-loving collection.

Update old chairs with new paint and fabrics. For inspiration, don’t miss this before-and-after chair makeover featured on Design Sponge.

Stay tuned to Design Happens to read about new product designs (more color is coming!) and don’t miss’s new Color Guide to get tips and ideas for decorating with color, including 100+ photos of color-happy rooms.

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design-happens-morrow400x600Emily Morrow, the Director of Color, Style & Design at Shaw Floors, is an industry leader. When she’s not at Shaw, she spends her time teaching people how to incorporate great design into their lives. Emily was an ideal choice to spotlight for Teacher’s Day because this week, she’s in China teaching American decorating principles to some of China’s best designers. Read on as Emily shares her advice for burgeoning professionals:

1. What made you want to work in the design industry?

It began as far back as a little girl decorating my doll house making rugs, draperies and painting the walls. I always loved design. Throughout the college years, my friends and family would ask for my help in selecting things for their dorm rooms or apartments. At the time, my major was Art History. I eventually changed it to Interior Design.

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A couple of my coworkers and I were previewing a photo gallery of romantic rooms for Valentine’s Day and when we hit this kitchen we all leaned in and went, “Oooh!” Then we looked at each other and laughed because this Dave Stimmel space isn’t anywhere near our personal styles, but it was so beautifully designed, so bold and of-a-piece that it struck us as beautiful.


Now I’m noticing bold kitchens everywhere.


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