Search results: "jean louis deniot"

11 Art Deco Inspired Contemporary Interiors

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending the 2016 Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary.  A devoted fan of all things 1920s and a card carrying ADSLA member, I look forward to this event all year.  2016 did not disappoint.  I left the ship dreaming about what I would wear to next year’s festival, Gatsby style parties, and–of course–Prohibition Era interior design.  Spurred by my thrilling weekend, here are 11 of my favorite Art Deco inspired contemporary interiors.

11 Art Deco Inspired Contemporary Interiors

This is one of my all-time favorite spaces, The Viceroy Miami, designed by Kelly Wearstler.  As in many Wearstler-designed interiors, the floor is composed of different colored marble, evoking a strong sense of geometry–one of the hallmarks of Art Deco design.  The table too recalls the era of bootleggers with it’s scalloped, fan-shaped composition.  Many of the sculptures in the vignette are neoclassical, which is one of the design styles from which Art Deco draws.  Finally, the mammoth cranes of the wallpaper suggest the kind of Asian exoticism that flappers were mad for.

Library by Kelly Wearster + 10 Other Contemporary Art Deco Inspired Interiors

And while I’m at it, I will just go ahead and knock out the other Kelly Wearstler room on this list.  In this Mercer Island library, we again see dominating geometric motifs.  Luxe materials–like marble inset with brass–also impart a sense of Art Deco.  The graceful Murano glass chandelier further channels the kind of grandeur that Daisy Buchanan would live amidst.

A Madrid Living Room with Art Deco Influences + 10 Other Updated Art Deco Rooms

This Madrid living room boasts an Art Deco vibe thanks to an octagonal mirror and shapely, urn-like vases.  Symmetry is another distinguishing characteristic of Art Deco design and the pillars flanking the fireplace reinforce its influence in this space.

A Spanish Home Filled with Art Deco Furniture + 10 Other Contemporary Spaces with Art Deco Influences

Filled with furniture from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s; this stunning living room is also located in Spain.  The wall to wall patterned carpet of stripes, right angles and scales compliments the sensuous curves and quirky angles of the eclectic furnishings.  The resulting atmosphere is polished, contemporary, and faintly Machine Age.

Lorenzo Castillo's Dining Room + 10 Other Contemporary, Art Deco Inspired Interiors

Mirrored walls and glittering chandeliers adorn Lorenzo Castillo’s Madrid dining room, lending an air of opulence and more than a whisper of Art Deco goodness.

Art Deco Inspired, Contemporary Interiors on Motley Decor

One final example from the country of Matadors and Flamenco is this Art Deco inspired space.  Symmetry plays a crucial role in this room as well.  Geometric shapes, exotic pattern, and luxurious materials contribute to the overall effect.  The enveloping barrel chairs also feel like the sort of place where F. Scott Fitzgerald might sit while sipping a Sidecar.

Marc Jacobs' Home + 10 Other Updated Art Deco Interiors

In the entryway of fashion designer, Marc Jacobs’ home sits a collection of Art Deco vessels.  Combined with yet another eight-sided mirror, the impression is decidedly Deco.

Contemporary Art Deco Inspired Spaces on Motley Decor

Three pieces are all that is needed to impart the magic of Art Deco to this luxe bathroom.  A Chinese rug and two corresponding ginger jars are far flung accessories that Jordan Baker might have picked up on her travels.

1 of 11 Contemporary but Art Deco Inspired Interiors

Stripes emphasize the geometric architecture of this entry hall by Pierce & Ward.  An art deco pendant dangles above a burl wood table that may very well have come from the same period.

11 Art Deco Inspirations on

This Paris apartment is an eclectic mix of treasures.  My eye immediately goes to the two Art Deco inspired torchiere floor lamps that frame the room.  A 1930s console table echoes their origins.

11 Art Deco Inspired Spaces on

And last, but far from least is this glorious room by Jean Louis Deniot (another of my all-time favorites).  With gilded geometric panels, near-perfect symmetry, neoclassical references, and a stylized chandelier; this New Delhi home oozes opulence, sophistication, and Art Deco-worthy glamour.

On a side note, I also sat in on a Prohibition Era mixology class while on the Queen Mary and I promise to share those cocktail recipes in upcoming posts.  Cheers!

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor

A symbol of new life, the egg is an important fixture in both Easter and Passover–a symbol that underscores the commonalities between different faiths.  In a time when more attention could be paid to our shared values (rather than our sensationalized differences), let’s take a moment to appreciate the egg–if only for its aesthetic properties and various applications in home decorating.  It’s a start.  Right?

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | A collection of eggs is in displayed beneath a cloche in the entry of this Paris apartment

A Carrara marble Eros table by Angelo Mangiarotti marks then center of the entry of this Paris apartment, displaying a few treasures–among them a collection of variously colored eggs beneath a protective cloche.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | A steel-and-ostrich-egg mirror graces the living room of Lorenzo Castillo

In the gleefully eclectic and pattern-happy living room of interior designer and antiques dealer, Lorenzo Castillo, a steel-and-ostrich-egg mirror graces the wall.  Image via Elle Decor.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | Eggshell veneered wall panels

This painstakingly eggshell veneered dining room is the work of Eric Chapeau, commissioned by Studio Sofield and requiring 10,000 hours of work to achieve its elegant and understated crackle effect.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | Malachite carved eggs resting on a dining table in a home designed by Jean-Louis Deniot

In this Los Angeles dining room designed by Jean-Louis Deniot (a hero of mine and a name often alluded to on this site), carved malachite eggs rest ceremoniously on the dining table, echoing the green of nearby flora.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | An egg shaped outdoor bath

The egg must have inspired the sleek, modernist shape of this inviting outdoor bath.  Perhaps the shape was even chosen to impart and rejuvenating effect on bathers.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | A crystal beaded light fixture in the shape of an egg

This kitchen’s light fixture is strongly reminiscent of a Faberge egg with its tapered oval shape and glittering and gilded adornments.  The opulent gesture is a fitting (if not ironic) tribute in a room where (presumably) the model is regularly cracked and cooked.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | 1970s Venini egg sculpture in Allegra Hicks' Naples home

An oversize 1970s Venini egg sculpture acts as an amber beacon is the otherwise cool-hued Naples home of designer Allegra Hicks.  Image via AD.

May you have an egg-cellent rest of your day!

Kitchens with Character, vol 2: Surprising Islands

Welcome to vol. 2 of Kitchens with Character.  In my last post, we examined 6 kitchens made extraordinary with wallpaper.  Today, let’s take a look at delightfully surprising kitchen islands.  Since the island is a large mass that sits in the middle of this formerly utilitarian space, it only makes sense that, as home decorators start to turn their attentions kitchenward, the island becomes a breeding ground for bold experimentation.  Following are 8 kitchens, in which, the island is the focal point.

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

Jean-Louis Deniot composed designed this unexpected kitchen island with stainless steel, blackened, and mirrored panels.  The result is a chic patchwork of lustrous surfaces that simultaneously blend in and stand out in this neutral-hued kitchen of grays and metallics.

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

In this kitchen, the island echoes the backsplash and totally steals the show.  Gold, silver, and gunmetal mosaic tiles compose and up-to-date, oversize floral pattern.  Stunning!

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

Meghan McCain’s favorite piece in her apartment is her kitchen island.  I can see why.  Instead of an ordinary boxy island, she had a custom table from Phillips Collection built to appropriate portions.  The free-form piece is Brutalist-inspired but with a lustrous, mother of pearl-like finish.  It utterly breaks the mold.

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

What happens when two designers decide to spend their lives together and share a home?  That home becomes impossibly cool and stylish.  And, in the case of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent, their kitchen is no exception.  In particular, their kitchen island is clad in perfectly patinaed brass, radiating warmth in the largely black and white space.

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

Here’s an easy hack (and one I might soon employ): just paint it!  Peach may be an unexpected color choice for this kitchen bar, but it certainly draws the eye.  As an added bonus, it also makes those barstools pop.

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

This kitchen island may be a more traditional choice, but still makes a statement.  Painted black, pinstriped in white, and adorned with glamorous brass hardware; one can’t help but be drawn in.

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

Industrial, Brutalist, organic…  It’s difficult to nail down this kitchen island, the handiwork of Jeffrey Alan Marks.  Regardless, it’s undisputedly the focal point of this Sonoma kitchen and beautifully crafted to boot.

Kitchens with Character vol. 2 | Surprising Islands | Motley Decor

The mirrored island in this kitchen reflects light and adds a dose of panache.  It’s an unexpected by welcome compliment to the blue cabinetry.

If you’re in the process of trying to infuse your kitchen with a bit of your sparkling personality, I hope this post inspired you to take a second look at your kitchen island.  If not, I’ve got more kitchen design ideas coming your way.  So, don’t be shy…subscribe!

2016 Home Decor Trends Forecast

A week into January and forecasts of 2016 home decor trends are running wild in cyberspace.  My inbox is brimming with them.  Some are very specific (jazzy, patterned bedding) while other are more vague (the use of organic materials).  Many of them I hope are realized and others I could do without.  Regardless, it’s an exciting time in interior design.  After carefully considering the various forecasts, I composed my own list of 2016 home decor trends I think we’ll see this year.  Here goes nothin’…

Unorthodox Materials

You’ve seen them too: feathery wall coverings, side tables fashioned from massive mineral specimens, brass kitchen cabinetry, and all sorts of unexpected substances being used in home decor.  I’d love to see ceiling medallions constructed from feathers,  ceilings veneered in mother of pearl, and unconventional textiles used in upholstery.  However, I have no doubt that interior designers will fathom new applications for a motley of luxurious and edgy materials in 2016 that will surprise us all.

2016 Home Decor Trends Forecast | Unorthodox Materials | 1 of 5 | Motley Decor

Clockwise: patent leather wainscoting, a geode sink, feathered wall treatment, a tapestry used as a table skirt

Statement Lighting with a Modern Twist

While opulent, glittering chandeliers will always have a place in my heart, I think we’re going to see fewer of them in 2016.  Bold, modernist light fixtures with abstract forms and articulated arms seem to be eclipsing their old world counterparts.  While these contemporary incarnations may have simplified designs, they are no less stunning.

2016 Home Decor Trends | Modern Statement Lighting | 2 of 5 | Motley Decor

Subdued Palettes

With Benjamin Moore embracing Simply White in 2016 and Pantone hailing Rose Quartz and Serenity as its two colors of the year, less vibrant colors appear to be on the horizon.  While we may not see pure white and pastels, I believe dusty hues and more subtle combinations of them are likely to dominate.  Apartment Therapy made a similar prediction, citing “less saturated” colors as an impending trend.

2016 Home Decor Trends | Subdued Palettes | 3 of 5 | Motley Decor

The Disappearnce of Utilitarian Spaces

Kitchens are leading the charge–more ornately decorated with framed art, piles of accessories and (perhaps most exciting) “statement” kitchen islands.  Bathrooms too are becoming more and more lavish–first with showstopping wallpaper and then with indulgent seating.  In fact, Houzz is projecting that “bathrooms that feel more like living spaces” will become a thing in 2016.  Laundry rooms, mud rooms, and garages are not far behind.  Soon, there won’t be a room left in the house that won’t merit a meticulous decorating.

2016 Home Decor Trends | The Disappearance of Utilitarian Spaces | 4 of 5 | Motley Decor

clockwise: exuberant wallpaper in a laundry room, a custom mother of pearl kitchen island, grotto chairs and commode in an enviable bathroom

Pre-1950s Throwbacks

Mid century modern furniture (again) will always occupy a part of my heart.  Still, as its popularity has grown in recent years, we may have witnessed an overdose of this era.  Seeking relief, I predict that interior designers and home decorators will turn to an earlier chapter in history and that we’ll see a shift from vintage items to storied antiques.  In Elle Decor’s 2015 September issue, What’s Modern Now?, Jean-Louis Deniot made this prediction, “Art Nouveau is about to have a second life”.  I hope he’s right!  That period, in particular, holds exciting possibilities, but I wouldn’t rule out a surge in the popularity of Gustavian furniture either.

2016 Home Decor Trends | Antiques | 5 of 5 | Motley Decor

What 2016 home decor trends do you foresee?

Trending: Patterned Lampshades

More and more, I’m noticing patterned lampshades popping up in to-die-for interiors.  This is a tactic maximalists like Alex Papachristidis have exercised for years.  And now it seems as though more designers are hopping on the bandwagon, wrapping lampshades in beautiful textiles.  Patterned lampshades may very well have achieved “trend” status when this Jean-Louis Deniot project hit the Elle Decor servers a couple of months ago…

Jean-Louis Deniot designed Paris apartment with patterned lampshades

Here, Deniot placed a pair of mustard-colored, patterned lampshades in an aqua-hued room.  The contrast in colors focuses more attention on this bold lighting choice.

Trending: patterned lampshades | malachite patterned lampshades | designer Sasha Bikoff

Designer Sasha Bikoff also opted for twin lamps in this vignette, employing malachite lampshades that coordinate with the emerald drapes.

Trend: Patterned Lampshades

In this example, Raji Radhakrishnan‘s home office features a lampshade that resembles an abstract painting.  Is anyone else thinking that this might be a fun DIY project?

Trending: Patterned Lampshades | Leopard lampshades in a Laurel Canyon Home

Leopard-covered lampshades add a little edge to the feminine, all-white living room of late costume designer Theadora Van Runkle’s Laurel Canyon Home.

Trending: Patterned Lampshades | Alex Papachristidis

And, of course, Alex Papachristidis is no stranger to patterned lampshades, which are found in nearly every room of his home.  His magnificent cranberry and aubergine living room is no exception, where a matched pair of table lamps and a swing arm floor lamp all feature shades with prints.  In a room filled with bold textiles, why not cover your lampshades in pattern?

Gift Ideas for Design Lovers

Well, it’s officially December and if you squandered all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals (like I did), you may be realizing (as I am) that it’s time to get serious about gift shopping this holiday season–and that the clock is ticking!  There are only 5 days until Hanukkah begins and 24 days left until Christmas.  And, if November was any indication, the month of December will fly by.

In an effort to help soothe any anxieties you may be having (and that I am definitely having), here are some gift ideas for design lovers…

For the most part, my gift ideas for design lovers fall into 5 categories:

1. Sources of Inspiration

Magazine subscriptions are the gift that keep on giving all year.  When I come home from a long day of work and see a glossy new House Beautiful on my counter, I break into a happy dance.  Elle Decor, Veranda, and Architectural Digest are also great ideas.  If you prefer to watch the recipient rip open the wrapping paper, consider a design book.  Eddie Ross has a new one out called “Modern Mix” and Jean-Louis Deniot’s first book is still fairly new and generating buzz.  Of course, if you prefer to share this wonderful blog you’re reading, good news: it’s totally free!

2. Bougie Barware

The bar cart has been a phenomenon in home decorating as of late, so it’d be hard to compile a list of gift ideas for design lovers without incorporating some fabulous drinking paraphernalia, such as fancy…

  • Bottle stoppers
  • Bottle openers
  • Coasters
  • Decanters
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Ice buckets
  • Wine chillers

Look for beautiful and luxurious barware that your recipient might not splurge on for him or herself.  Alternatively, seek out vintage barware from an era that he or she loves.

3. Hosting Tools

There are certain things that a host or hostess will simply never have enough of, like:

  • Coasters
  • Serving platters
  • Games
  • Cook books

And then there are those items that add a little luxury to a gathering, but that perhaps didn’t make it onto the wedding gift registry, for instance…

  • Dessert forks
  • Espresso cups
  • A cute apron
  • Wine glass markers
  • Digestif glasses

4. Gourmet Gifts

Beyond the predictable bottle of wine, there are plenty of gourmet food and drink items that make great gift ideas for design lovers and epicureans.  Look into quality:

  • Olive Oil
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Specialty salts
  • Craft beer
  • Cheeses

5. Personal Luxuries

Then there are those little luxuries that do wonders for relieving stress…a great smelling candle can be restorative, a beautiful pashmina can be draped over the shoulders or the end of a sofa, and a day at the spa certainly never hurt anyone.

Gift ideas for design lovers on

Above from left to right: Eddie Ross’ Modern Mix, Truffle salt from Williams Sonoma, a handmade apron found on etsy, mirrored coasters from, Kelly Wearstler’s Acolyte ice pail, Cards Against Humanity, Espresso cups by Tom Dixon, glass decanter from Jonathan Adler.  

Hopefully reading this post has sparked some gift ideas for design lovers in your life.  Happy Shopping!




7 Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors

In my last post, I suggested 7 paint colors that are pretty much fool-proof–predictably versatile shades that shine in just about any room.  However, today, I’m exploring paint colors that  are a little dicier–unexpected color choices that are harder to pull off and riskier to try.  Still, I hope you’ll agree that–when properly executed–these paint colors pay off in spades.  Here are my humble suggestions for 7 “surprisingly chic” paint colors…


There’s no doubt about it: blush is having a moment in interior design.  On the one hand, I could argue that blush-colored paint is likely to be a passing fad.  On the other, blush is trending right now for a reason.  It’s both soothing and universally flattering and aren’t those important qualities to consider when choosing a room’s color?  Furthermore…well, just look at these blush-hued rooms…

glamorous blush pink hallway

The late style maven L’Wren Scott chose blush for most of the walls in her Paris home that she shared with Mick Jagger.  Above is an image from Vogue of their glamorous hallway in the pleasing shade, peppered with gold mirrors and frames.

blush pink painted dining room

This elegant dining room from Domino feels feminine, but also allows the more masculine abstract art and moody amethyst goblets to draw the eye, creating tension and contrast.

NY living room in blush pink paint

NYMag captured this fantastic example of a blush room that feels less feminine and more just plain stylish.  Wonderfully edited, gray shagreen cabinets and  flashes of gold harmonize with the pale pink hue.


Although it’s an undeniably beautiful shade–medium pastel blue leaning ever so slightly towards lavender–periwinkle is rarely a paint color contender for rooms outside of nurseries.  But it’s a damn shame, because periwinkle can look like this…

periwinkle painted entrance

Who wouldn’t want to come home to this periwinkle painted wall?  It’s a “happy” blue shade that compliments exquisite pieces like a Fornasetti chest or antique chair.  Photo from 1stDibs.

periwinkle blue dining room

This periwinkle blue dining room from the pages of Style and Substance is yet another gorgeous use of paint.  The unexpected hue sets off the neoclassical chairs and sculptural dining table and is a perfect foil to the bright red coral light fixtures.

a painted periwinkle moment

The perfect backdrop for an unlikely mix of furnishings, objects, and art?  Periwinkle blue!  In this AD France featured home, color acts as the glue that unites a delightful motley of styles with an air of whimsy.


A mixture of red, orange, and brown, terracotta is ideal for creating a warm, inviting setting where one can feel at home, enveloped by the color of “baked earth”.  Thus, this hue suggests intimacy and perhaps a humble quality that often precludes it from entering art-filled salons and contemporary entertaining spaces.  However, these homeowner embraced it nonetheless and the risk paid off…

monochromatic terracotta dining room

Old world charm dominates this terracotta dining room that somehow still feels updated in a monochromatic palette.  From Architectural Digest.

terracotta wall & mini bar

Justine Cushing’s apartment, featured in House Beautiful, boasts textured terracotta walls, containing her enviable furnishings, like that mid century chrome bar cart.

terracotta living room in a brooklyn brownstone

Nick Olson opted for a high contrast color palette of terracotta and turquoise–accented with ruby–for this delicious Brooklyn brownstone.  Image via Architectural Digest.

Electric Indigo

This daring shade is simultaneously dark and vibrant, instantly capturing one’s attention and charging a space with excitement.  Made famous by the first two examples below, this paint color has yet to achieve the popularity it deserves.

Jardin Majorelle in Electric Indigo blue paint

A historical and magical place, the Jardin Majorelle was originallly the santuary of painter Jacques Majorelle and later the rescued and lovingly restored by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, catapulting this blue-bathed oasis to iconic status.

Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul

On the other side of the world, another painter by the name of Frida Kahlo had a similar vision for her garden in Mexico.  La Casa Azul, now a museum maintained in her honor, radiates a surreal shade of blue, attracting Kahlo fans and stunning passersby.  (This image is marked, but I was unable to find the right page on their site.)

electric indigo blue paint color

Brought inside, electric indigo blue paint looses none of its vibrancy.  Sieger Design embraced this notion, painting the dining room of their offices in their signature blue-meets-purple, shown here thanks to Apartment Therapy.

Blood Orange

Often associated with the iconic brand Hermès, blood orange is another bold choice for wall color that demands attention.  Generally, colors with this level of intensity aren’t expected to play well with others, but blood orange is an exception to that rule, pairing wonderfully with everything from sky blue to tomato red to charcoal gray.  Just look…

blood orange painted living room

This maximalist living room (featured by Lonny) absolutely sparkles in blood orange lacquer, pairing with black trim, baby blue velvet, brass accessories, and a gray-toned Picasso.

Blood Orange + 6 Other Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors

A tomato red floating shelf is a surprising but clever choice for this blood orange wall photographed by Architectural Digest.  A gilded frame and pair of rock crystal obelisks add an extra dose of glamour.

Blood Orange, One of 7 Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors

Raymond Goins also opted for a shiny lacquer finish when he coated this small space in vibrant blood orange paint.  Asian-inspired pottery and a pair of whippets punctuate the bold choice.

Butter Yellow

Butter yellow is another paint color rarely seen outside a nursery and another crying shame that it’s so.  This color emulates glowing light, against which softer decor melts right in and edgier decor makes an even bolder statement.  The fact that it’s unexpected choice is likely a contributing factor to its “wow factor” in these rooms…

Butter Yellow Dining Room + 6 Other Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors

Jean-Louis Deniot masterfully mixed warm, butter yellow walls with moodier neutrals and edgy metallics to create a dining space that is chic and inviting.  From Elle Decor.

Butter Yellow Living Room & 6 More Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors for Your Walls

A traditional living room (found on All About Houses) gets a luminous glow thanks to a few coats of butter yellow paint and matching sofa.  The shade is perfect for offsetting the earthtones of the framed art and the zebra rug adds graphic interest.

Butter Yellow Dining Room & 6 Other Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors

Color plays a dominate role in this chic but sparsely decorated dining room from Architectural Digest.  Again, soft butter yellow coats the walls with little competition from the white panels and tone-on-tone art.  The effect is luminous and serene.

Pea Green

The words “pea” and “green” are rarely uttered in conjunction without at least a hint of disdain.  Let’s be honest: no one ever complimented your “pea green” complexion or asked a sales lady if she had any dresses in “pea green”.  It’s a drab color that recalls a certain divisive soup.  But lately, it’s been popping up in some very chic interiors.  The defense submits the following photographs into evidence:

Pea Green Dining Room & 6 Other Must-See Paint Colors

Designer Sara Gilbane expertly crafted this color scheme of indigo blue, amethyst and–yes–pea green painted walls in a lacquer finish.  Gorgeous, right?

Pea green walls & 6 More Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors

Animal prints and a checkered floor provide contrast to the pea green walls, drapery, and upholstery in this wonderfully eclectic New Orleans home from the pages of Architectural Digest.

Pea Green never looked so good & 6 More Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors

And finally, the room that opened my eyes to the splendor of pea green.  This is Sheila Bridges’ Harlem dining room and every angle of it is delightful.  I chose to post just this vignette (since this is already a rather lengthy post), but I highly encourage you to visit and see the rest of this artfully curated space.  Bridges treated pea green like a neutral (and why not? Mother nature certainly does), bringing in colors like orange, turquoise, cognac, and blush.

So, what’s the verdict?  Have you changed your mind about pea green?  What paint colors did you expect to see on this list and which paint colors surprised you?  I’d love to hear from you.

7 Fool-Proof Wall Colors

It seems like every online home decor publisher is focused on wall colors lately.  Last week, every email in my inbox was trying to convince me of the top shades.  A self-professed color fiend, I eagerly read them all and then gave it some thought…  Naturally, I didn’t agree with every wall color suggestion.  Nor could I resist compiling my own list of top wall colors.  However, for me, the top shades fall into two categories.  First, there’s the tried and true colors–those that almost always look polished, beautifully offsetting a variety of decorating styles.  That list follows in this post.  Then, there are the paint colors that surprise and delight–unexpected hues that are surprisingly chic and versatile.  Stay tuned for that list.  But first, here are my picks for 7 fool-proof, always chic wall colors…


This is a very pale shade.  Not brown or gray, putty is like a cross between taupe and just a hint of yellow.  Hard to define and conveniently neutral, putty often reads traditional, but compliments modern interiors with equal grace.  Here are some examples of chic, putty-colored walls…

putty colored dining room by Valorie Hart

New Orleans-based designer Valorie Hart drenched the walls of this dining room in putty-colored paint, creating a lovely backdrop for the eclectic mix of gilded frames, periwinkle glass lamps, and ginger-accented dining chairs.

a Putty moment

Here, putty marries with both smoky gray and earthy peach in a more modern-feeling room.

Putty colored living room

In this living room by Zize Zink, putty-colored walls and sofa blend beautifully with a wide variety of pieces, including: an art deco end table, a fun flamestitch upholstered settee, a collection of silver candlesticks, and even modern art.


This light brown to tan shade can skew warm or cool, but always makes a pleasing backdrop against which brighter color can shine.  Three of my favorite rooms with camel colored walls follow here…

Alex Papachristidis Camel Dining Room

The uber talented Alex Papachristidis chose camel for the walls of this dining room, mixing in neutral tones like chocolate and ivory as well as punchy red and shades of blue from cornflower to cobalt.

Camel bedroom vignette

In this bedroom vignette by sisters and design duo Kristen Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford, lacquered camel walls balance the canary yellow mirror and leopard-clad chairs.  (Featured in Veranda.)

Amanda Nisbet Dining Room in Camel

This elegant, camel dining room by Amanda Nisbet plays the warmth of the walls and gilded details against cool shades of lavender and indigo, setting a stunning scene.

Dove Gray

One of the most complex and difficult colors to nail, the right gray–like dove gray–is an ideal vehicle for establishing an air of sophistication that compliments nearly any color scheme.  The challenge is identifying a shade of gray that maintains its neutrality.  Grays can often turn blue, purple, green, or brown in different lights.  Be sure to check out these tips for choosing the right shade if you’re thinking of going gray (or any color for that matter).  And, of course, here are some images of super chic homes to inspire you…

Dove Gray bedroom

Jean-Louis Deniot chose dove gray for the walls of his Los Angeles bedroom (featured by AD Russia)–a contrast to the warm wood finish of his nightstands and brass light fixture.  The other furnishings, however, follow suit in shades of texture-rich gray.

dove gray salon decorated by Katie Ridder

Dove gray envelopes this soothing but stylish salon decorated by Katie Ridder and featured in Elle Decor, complimenting a variety of neutral tones, brass fixtures, and pops of crimson.

Dove Gray Paris Apartment

This Paris apartment’s architectural details are highlighted by dove gray paint–a canvas against which works of art and unorthodox color combinations can peacefully coexist.  Photo by Richard Powers.


Departing from the aforementioned neutrals, aqua is a pale shade with surprising depth.  Nearly transparent with a hint of warmth, this shade of blue has range and widespread appeal.  Consider these aqua hued rooms…

Aqua, 1 of 7 Fool-Proof Paint Colors

In this polished living room by the Mendelson Group, aqua sets the stage for an eclectic array of furnishings, energized by a jolt of jonquil yellow.

Aqua room

AD Russia showcased this traditional-leaning space that feels fresh thanks to aqua paint and expressive art.

Aqua living room with minky brown sofa

Any color–from espresso to cobalt to aubergine to tangerine–sings against a wall of serene aqua blue.  A tiny little  aqua pillow ties the scene together for a cohesive look.  (As seen on

Stormy Blue

Another blue hue that never disappoints is stormy blue-gray.  A bit moody, stormy blue works well with yellow metals and most wood finishes.  It’s a shade you’d find in a museum, offsetting art from nearly any discipline.

Fool-Proof Paint Shades | Stormy Blue

This dining room, featured by Nuevo Estilo, is a gorgeous example of the power of stormy blue.  Mixed neutrals harmonize in its presence, beckoning a motley of styles to intermingle.

stormy blue living room with traditional painting

A sleek silver velvet sofa and traditional painting are equally at home against that perfectly moody, stormy blue wall.

sophisticated stormy blue space

This space oozes sophistication thanks to carefully curated modern art and furnishings and stormy blue walls with gilded panels.


With its deep, saturated pigment, espresso lends a space a sense of drama.  However, I think espresso owes its allure (at least in part) to its cool undertones–an unexpected quality in brown shades that typically run warm.  Check out these espresso brown rooms…

Espresso brown walls

Federico De Vera’s espresso brown walls (via Elle Decor) are studded with art and an arresting sight.

Espresso | 7 Fool-Proof Paint Colors

Also from Elle Decor, this photograph captures Sig Bergamin’s use of deep, espresso paint to offset a rainbow of colors, an array of furnishings, and a riot of patterns.

masculine espresso brown room

A funky, masculine vibe dominates this nearly-all-brown sitting area (from Lonny) where an espresso-hued wall brings out the richness of the chocolaty brown velvet sofa.

Moody Teal

By far the boldest recommendation on this list, there’s just something about a moody teal room.  It feels sultry, mysterious, and impossibly chic.  I can’t help but be moved as look at these teal rooms.  Can you?

teal dining room

This dining room has a whimsical feel, tempered by moody teal walls and drapery.  Found on Tumblr.

a teal and amethyst salon

Moody teal joins forces with ethnic textiles, an amethyst Murano glass chandelier, and a snakeskin coffee table to compose an impressive scene decorated by Landy Gardner.

stunning dark teal dining room

And last but not least, a moody teal dining room with Gothic windows and mid century furniture (featured by LATimes) is the final example of this gorgeous shade.

Ready to paint?  Whether you were inspired by this list or not, leave a comment and tell us what wall colors you considered and ultimately chose.  Happy painting!

Trend Alert: Abstract Metal Wall Sculptures

Abstract metal wall sculptures are definitely trending.  I can hardly turn a page in Elle Decor or review my Pinterest feed without seeing one of the shiny beauties.  However, unlike some of the other recent trends in home decorating, I am totally on board with this one!  Here are some of my favorite examples of the emerging trend…

Trending: Abstract Metal Wall Sculptures

Artist Anish Kapoor seems to be reaping the benefits this trend.  Her polished, concave wall sculptures come in a variety of colors and finishes and are popping up in some of the chicest, new homes.   The above example is from Architectural Digest and depicts the Manhattan home of decorator Laura Santos.

Trend Alert: Metal Wall Sculptures

In his former Manhattan duplex (featured–again–by AD), famed designer Nate Berkus installed this show-stopping, stainless steel wall sculpture by Octavio Abúndez.

Trending: metallic wall sculptures

Anne-Marie Midy and Jorge Almada’s eclectic home (pictured above by House & Garden) boasts a plethora of unique furnishings and decor.  But even with all of its treasures, the burgundy, metallic, seemingly “crumpled” wall sculpture in the upper right of this picture is what draws my eye.  I couldn’t find the name of the artist, but I’ve seen similar pieces (in different colors and finishes) floating around home decor magazines lately.

Trending: metal wall sculptures

This is the picture that pushed my love of this new trend over the edge.  A devoted Jean-Louis Deniot fan, I ate up Elle Decor’s coverage of his latest project: a stunning Paris apartment renovated and decorated for a real-life princess.  The gold “nuggets” pictured here are by artist Romain Sarrot and intended to be displayed on the floor.  However, Deniot–master that he is–opted to hang the gilded resin pieces on the upholstered walls in the master bedroom.  He described them as “24-karat-gold popcorn”.  Exquisite!

Well, I’ve gotta go hunt for my own metallic wall scupture(s) now.  With any luck, I’ll share Cher them in a future post.

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