Search results: "wall colors" (page 1 of 3)

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!

2018 Color Forecast: 4 Colors That Will Actually Trend This Year

Ultraviolet?  Caliente?  Am I the only one having a hard time seeing this colors take off in 2018?  They seem a far cry from the stark white and “millennial pink” walls we can’t seem to shake.  How do we expect the chroma pendulum to swing so far in in the other direction just because it’s now 2018?  My guess is that we’ll actually see softer, more neutral colors start to eclipse these light hued staples in the coming months.  Here are the 4 color trends I’m predicting…

Water Tones

Murky shades of blue with a hint of green are having a moment, recalling the tranquility of lapping ocean waves, flowing streams, and peaceful lake vistas.  Shades of seafoam and agave come to mind.

Warm-hued brass and a sepia photograph pop against this ocean-colored wall.

This charming scene imparts the illusion of dining under the sea.

Saturated seafoam walls need little else to make a lasting impression.

Foxed mirrored walls and aqua velvet impart an aquatic atmosphere in this unbelievably chic dining room.

2018 Color Trends


Layers of azure and teal compose this mermaid’s den.

This high contrast bedroom marries tropical water hues and deep, moody maritime blues.

Agave and turquoise get along swimmingly in this bedroom.

2018 Color Forecast: The Hues that will trend this year...

Steeped in tradition, this sitting room boasts an nautical palette.

Pale Neutrals

In place of the default “builder’s white”, which can feel sterile, more complex iterations of this go-to neutral are on the horizon.  Think: bone, cream, oyster, and platinum–layered upon one another to create “white” rooms with depth and soul.

2018 Color Forecast: Trending: Pale Neutrals

Sand-colored walls, natural wood, and misty gray create a delicate, opal-like space.

Shades of vanilla and mushroom reflect the ample natural light of this room.

White never looked so welcoming as in this airy, bone-clad living room.

2018 Color Forecast: Trending: Ivory, Oyster, Bone & Cream

This formal sitting room combines all manner of whites and pale neutrals with glamorous results.

Golden beige and ivory make for a serene first impression in this foyer.

2018 Color Trends // Ryan Korban // MotleyDecor

Platinum and parchment dominate Ryan Korban’s impeccably polished apartment.

Gold leaf and oyster gray–a match made in interior design heaven.

Creamy whites frame a dramatic photograph in this living room while metallics twinkle on the periphery.

Lavender & Pastel Purples

Lavender is the natural reaction to the blush or so-called “millennial pink” that has dominated interior design for the last couple of years.  It’s in the same vein–a feminine pastel–but slightly less sweet and often more alluring.  Lilac, wisteria, and heather and coming…

This unconventional living room celebrates simplified forms and color–particularly that dusty lilac wall.

I can only imagine what it must feel like to call this violet oasis “home” and step into its pastel cocoon after a long day.

This hotel suite proves that lavender is an ideal candidate for a monochromatic space.

2018 Color Forecast: 4 Colors that will ACTUALLY trend this year


These wisteria-colored chairs are an unexpected but delightful choice for this luminous dining room that echo its feminine-but-not-frilly vibe.

This serene salon must have plucked its palette from the most luminous parts of an amethyst.

Here we see how heather plays well with others–other colors that is.

Oh great!  Now I need something purple and furry in my life.  This is one of those images that will cause me to loose a few hours, combing the internet from something I didn’t know that I needed a minute ago.

Sweet dreams are made of these…pretty mauve walls.


Designers with an appetite for drama have embraced black paint.  Whether an accent wall or an entire room, a dark backdrop is the perfect vehicle for offsetting a pop of color or the silhouette of a sculptural piece.  Textured and 3D walls are especially arresting in jet.  I also suspect that the pitch paint trend will usher in demand for veined zebra marble (in lieu of ubiquitous Carrara) and edgy, ebony leather.

4 Color Trends for 2018: 1. Black Accent Walls

The subtle texture of plaster was destined to be reimagined in carbon tones.

Typically, bohemian homes have been airy white affairs, outfitted with ethnic textiles in an array of colors.  This space turns that cliche on its ear, showcasing the power of shadowy shades and neutral statement pieces.

This 3D wall adds a spicy note in peppercorn.

Brass furnishings compliment the matte black accent wall and masculine leather chairs in this space.

Both color and gilding are highlighted beautifully by a lightless backdrop.

2018 Color Trends | Black | Motley Decor

Richly veined zebra marble cocktail tables echo the dramatic, dark far wall.

This bedroom hosts a plethora of scene stealers–from exuberant textiles to large scale sculptures–and ebony proves to be a stage, on which, all these starlets can shine.

“Edgy glamour” might best describe this dining room with mammoth tusks, a live edge table, and mirrored credenza.  Here, black walls seem like the only possible solution, pumping up the contrast for a dazzling display.

Do you plan on painting this year?  What colors trends do you predict in 2018?  Still undecided?  Find additional color inspiration on Motley Decor.

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.

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.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms

Still on a high from my trip to Asia, it seems only fitting to pay homage to the East’s contributions to contemporary interior design.  Since the 17th century, Asian decorative arts have fascinated the West.  Fueled by admiration for the mysterious and exotic, Europeans distilled Eastern motifs into a whimsical, romanticized style known as chinoiserie.  While most cultural influences fall in and out of style, chinoiserie has enjoyed unmatched endurance.   Ceramic garden stools, ginger jars, and hand-painted wallpapers depicting trees and birds are common place in some of today’s most celebrated interiors.  And in this modern age, more authentic Asian furnishings–not to mention textiles–are more accessible than ever.   So, without further adieu, I give you 14 jaw-dropping chinoiserie and Asian-inspired rooms…

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms on Motley Decor

This bedroom expertly mixes cultural references; however, the Asian influences among them are perhaps the most palpable.  The walls are wrapped in texture-adding grasscloth in a moody teal shade (which–by the way–is 1 of 7 Fool-Proof Wall Colors).  Lacquered folding screens flank the bed paired with stylized bamboo chairs, enveloping the space with Asian flair.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms on Motley Decor

In this show house dining room, the Eastern allusions are more subtle.  The art on the far wall could arguably be construed as Asian-inspired with birds in flight, rendered in gold leaf.  The drapes too are a fretwork pattern, which is commonly associated with chinoiserie decor.

Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms

A motley of far-flung treasures from the East congregate in this guest room.  The chinoiserie cabinet is topped with a fish bowl planter.  The headboard is draped with (what I can only guess is) a fabric remnant from some breath-taking kimono.   All of this is set off by the silver mylar wall covering–a suitable, updated alternative to silver leaf.  (Bonus: see the living room of this house in one of my previous posts.)

Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms | See 13 More on

The pagoda day bed in this space provides for a stunning focal point that is unmistakably chinoiserie.  The mural also contributes to the exotic feel.  However, everything else in the room takes on a more streamlined and modern air, ushering the space into the present and allowing the showstoppers to do their job uninterrupted.  The balance is achieved pretty much perfect.

14 of the Most Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms | See 13 More on

Although as of late Kelly Wearstler’s work has skewed edgy, enchanting spaces with traditional leanings can be found in her body of work.  Above is one such example: the dining room of her former Hillcrest Estate.  Although the architecture is clearly modern, that didn’t stop Wearstler from filling her home with exotic antiques.  Here, East and West mingle to the delight of anyone lucky enough to dine in this space.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms | See 13 More on MotleyDecor

The interior of this Cape Cod home (which contains another room that was also featured previously on Motley Decor) is coated completely in this seductive, pine green lacquer.  In the bedroom–as you can see–it makes the blossom tones of the Chinese pillows sing.  The pierced fretwork shutters usurp the  undersized art in prominence and anoint the room with both light and chinoiserie vibes.

Vibrant Living Room with Asian Influences a la Eddie Ross // See 13 More Chinoiserie & Asian Inspired Rooms on Motley Decor

It’s no surprise that an avid collector like Eddie Ross would have an eclectic home.  His living room is a testament to this and a celebration of many cultures.  Asian references are counted among them.  Just look at that chinoiserie folding screen, that ceramic garden stool, that bamboo chest, those ginger jars…

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie Rooms

Windsor Smith, a designer known for her laid back yet elegant style, is responsible for this arresting vignette.  That pearly wallpaper with a chinoiserie motif is enough to inspire envy even in the most uncovetous of hearts.  (Mine is among them.)  The tone-on-tone layering of other white objets–the matte and shiny ceramics along the dull, fibrous linen of the chairs–is beautifully executed.  At the center is an Asian cabinet in stark, weighty black that delivers a surprising but welcome contrast.  Crystal sconces and brass hardware deliver an extra dose of glamour.

Chinoiserie room in blue and white with stunning details // The Most Exquisite Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms //

In this blue lacquered cave of a room lies a myriad of Eastern inspirations.  Where to start?  The palette of blue and white is characteristic of chinoiserie decor–as is the Greek key rug.  Asian textiles and pottery pepper the far wall.  The luminous gold leaf ceiling radiates Eastern elegance.  Even the conical cocktail tables–though contemporary–feel rooted in Asian design.  This home also contains a gorgeous blue & white, Asian-inspired bathroom.

Dining room with neutral chinoiserie wallpaper and candied apple red lacquer chippendale chairs // 14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie Rooms //

The first time I saw this room, I vowed to one day lacquer dining chairs in a candied apple red.  These Chippendale specimens ooze character–especially set against the backdrop of the neutral-hued chinoiserie wallpaper.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie Rooms // // Ideas & Inspiration for Home Decorators with Eclectic Taste

Still, large doses of saturated color are not a prerequisite for an inspiring chinoiserie space, as illustrated by this show house living room.  In a sea of white, cream, beige, and tan; whispers from the East rise above the din in the form of striking patterns and shapely silhouettes.  Again we see the Greek key motif, trimming the ottoman.  Swirling clouds adorn the side table.  And Chinese figurines, along with curvaceous urns, stand guard at the mantel.

A colorful dining room by Nick Olsen with a dash of chinoiserie | 13 More of the Most Stunning Asian Inspired Rooms

Taking on a more light-hearted and laid back feel is Nick Olsen’s dining room.  In a clever and unexpected pairing, Chinese Chippendale-like chairs bring Danish midcentury modern perches to the table.  Red vinyl upholstery unites the two styles.  A thin band of chinoiserie wallpaper lines the walls and, in this setting, trapezoid lampshades are reminiscent of pagodas.

Hutton Wilkinson's Living Room + 13 More Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms // Motley Decor

Let’s end on a high note.  Shall we?  Enter: Hutton Wilkinson, who embraced chinoiserie with enough zeal and grandeur to rival an 18th century aristocrat.  His walls are koi fish orange, juxtaposing his collection of jade green ceramics.  A generous strip of gold leaf highlights his art and penchant for symmetry.  Intricate garden stools and pagoda statues satisfy the need for sculptural elements.  This celebrated maximalist and right hand man to the late Tony Duquette never fails to amaze.  Be sure to check out Hutton Wilkinson’s dining room too!

4 Easy & Striking Ways to Use Benjamin Moore’s Caliente at Home

Are we ready for red?  Benjamin Moore seems to think so, naming Caliente–a warm, welcoming crimson its 2018 Color of the Year.  While I have my own suspicions about which colors will trend this year, I can’t deny that vibrant vermillion affords some exciting decorating opportunities.  Of course, this in age of white walls and monochrome mania, embracing such a bold shade can be a little daunting.  So, here are four easy and striking ways (with little to no commitment) to incorporate Caliente red into your home.

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Although carefully edited with few frills, this room receives the royal treatment thanks to a ruby rug.


Water-toned walls tinge this living room in handsome contrast to the Caliente-colored carpet and regal, velvet-clad chaise.


With walls that resemble ermine, no other color would suffice underfoot.


In this traditional-leaning living room, a white chesterfield crowns a scarlet carpet.


A blood-red textile anoints the floor of Steve Aoki’s bedroom.


Turn on the Red Light

Roxanne, you don’t have to settle for predictable lampshades.


4 Ways to Decorate with Caliente | Turn on the Red Light | 2018 Color of the Year

Come hither says this red lantern.


A crimson pendant beckons in this powder room.


Garnet silk brings balance to a masculine loft.


When viewed from the right vantage point, this seemingly austere dome light reveals a passionate burst of color.


Paint the Roses Red

Painting the Roses Red | 4 Easy, Impactful Ways to Use Benjamin Moore's 2018 Color of the Year |

Miles Redd for Schumacher

Taking a cue from the Queen of Hearts, red roses adorn this charming vignette.


Here, an enormous looking glass reflects towering, flowering branches–creating a sense of scale worthy of Wonderland.


Painting the Roses Red | 4 Easy, Impactful Ways to Use Benjamin Moore's 2018 Color of the Year |

Oscar de la Renta

Black thumb?  Paint branches instead.  The result resembles coral.


Rosy blooms pop even in a room the shade of a spade.


Flaming botanicals send a very clear message in this space: checkmate.


Draw the Drapes in Red

Caliente curtains add a stroke of color this serene, silvery space.


In this exuberant bedroom, Miles Redd does justice to the primary color that is his namesake.


Cardinal window treatments usher the sunlight into this artful, Italian apartment.


4 Easy Ways to Use Caliente, Benjamin Moore's 2018 Color of the Year

A painterly palette juxtaposes vermillion and azure.


Flowing raspberry drapes sketch an idyllic backdrop for eclectic furnishings.

If you’re craving Moore Caliente in your life, check out these additional ways to decorate with red.

If Gowns Were Rooms – 2018 Oscars Edition

The 90th Academy Awards–better known as the 2018 Oscars–boasted some dazzling red carpet fashion.  Color has returned to the red carpet–particularly the blue hues.  Metallics and statement sleeves also made quite a splash.  And, as we know, fashion and interior design are each other’s favorite cousins.   So, I took the liberty of pairing up outstanding specimens from each discipline.  If gowns from the 2018 Oscars were rooms, they’d look something like this…

If Gowns Were Rooms--2018 Oscars Edition

The fabric of Betty Gabriel’s dress and this Steven Gambrel dining room share a brilliant peacock blue and whimsical botanical motifs.

If Gowns Were Rooms - 2018 Oscars Edition

What do Nicole Kidman and Stephanie Coutas have in common?  They both know how to make an arresting sculptural statement in cobalt.

If Gowns Were Rooms - 2018 Oscars Edition

Sally Hawkins’ structured shoulder pads emulate the right angles of this contemporary space whose silver leaf walls recall the sequins of her dress.  Black accents punctuate both.

If Gowns Were Rooms - 2018 Oscars Edition

Audra Day channels a modern-day Marie Antoinette in this voluptuous blue gown.  Smoky eyes, a dark lip, and unexpected silver jewelry keep her current.  Marie-Hélène de Taillac’s NY apartment reflects the same palette, femininity, and updated interpretation of old-world glamour.

If Gowns Were Rooms - 2018 Oscars Edition

I spotted this gown on Phoebe Waller Bridge and instantly recognized a loosely-adapted leopard print that looks equally fabulous on Nancy Braithwaite’s bedroom walls.

If Gowns Were Rooms - 2018 Oscars Edition

Wayward angles in electric blue can be found both on Jennifer Garner’s Oscar dress and the walls of this Kelly Wearstler designed bedroom.

If Gowns Were Rooms - 2018 Oscars Edition

Not only do the embellishments of Lupita Nyongo’s Academy Awards gown perfectly mirror the colors of this powder room’s mosaic tile, but there’s another common thread as well.  In both instances, outright glamour is balanced with a dash of masculinity.  The beading on the dress is almost spike like and the diagonal line it follows is reminiscent of a military sash.  The tile too takes on a subdued role when paired with spartan accessories.

All Oscars photos are from People.  Head over there to see the rest of the red carpet arrivals.  Who knows…maybe you’ll find some inspiration for your next redecorating project.

9 Times Ultraviolet Didn’t Damage Your Eyes

As the title of this post might suggest, I had some trouble mustering the enthusiasm to write about Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year, Ultraviolet.  It’s not that I don’t like purple.  A rich plum always makes my heart race and lavender (a color that might actually trend this year) never fails to beguile.  Ultraviolet, on the other hand, lacks nuance.  Instead, it feels like the standard-issue purple in a seven crayon pack.  Thankfully though, the internet is a magical and wondrous place and I was able to find 9 interiors that showcase ultraviolet in stunning ways…

Here, ultraviolet creates an electrifying backdrop for art hung gallery style.

In this stylish, neutral-hued living room, light spills from the window onto  a vintage medallion rug in Pantone’s 2018 color of the year.

9 Times Ultraviolet Didn't Damage Your Eyes |

Roberto Cavalli

Amethyst-colored velvet radiates opulence and grandeur.

Neon tubes make for an unexpected, but deliciously edgy accessory in this dining area.

Saturated colors and blue animal prints create an elegant if not surreal sitting room where ultraviolet art emanates from the wall.

A foursome of grape-colored stools double as cocktail tables and sculpture.

Delightfully quirky, this den embraces purple from top to bottom.

Sassy, large-scale art delivers a splash of the 2018 color of the year.

Cobalt and ultraviolet watercolor swirls beam and bedeck this vibrant foyer.


Elements of Granny Chic: In Honor of Mother’s Day

Both of my grandmothers are fearless decorators whose influences percolate into my home on a recurring basis.  Although, at the time, I may not realize that I chose that color or love that pattern because it recalls something from one of their homes, I eventually put the pieces together.

For example, my Nana’s living room is a sea of densely layered grays.  I look around my own living room and see dove-colored walls, a charcoal sofa, chairs upholstered in monochrome patterns, and a faux concrete fireplace.  Clearly, I borrowed that palette.

I can also trace my love of swag curtains to her living room, where the entire back wall is swaddled in elaborately draped valances and panels, concealing sliding glass doors.

Element 1 of Granny Chic Design: Elaborate Drapery

Elements of Granny Chic | Elaborate Drapery | Motley Decor


Hutton Wilkinson

And Nana is no stranger to the gallery wall.  Like most grandmothers, family photos germinate on every surface–vertical and horizontal–of her home.   Mingling among them and proudly displayed are my mother’s paintings–everything from portraits to landscapes.

This likely has something to do with my love of art and the eclectic works that pepper my own walls.

Element 2: Family Photos

However, it’s the home that my Grandma Olga lived in before my grandfather passed that I recall (through the lens of a nine-year-old) with utter fascination if not razor-sharp accuracy.  After my grandfather died, Grandma Olga moved to a smaller house and sold much of her furniture, erasing the evidence of the wonderland in which I spent countless holidays.

A two-hour drive from where I grew up, going to that house usually meant that presents or egg hunts or just plain good food was on the horizon.  It also meant that I’d see my cousins, who–along with my sister–were my favorite playmates.  So, it’s not surprising that I remember it so fondly and probably with exaggerated grandeur.

The house sat at the far end of a quiet cul de sac in the New Mexico desert.  Still, the architecture was completely out of place and not at all telling of its location.  We’d enter the house through an enclosed courtyard, beneath a canopy of scrolled wrought iron where succulents overflowed from their beds and Brandy and Peaches (two miniature poodles) rushed out to greet us.

Did I mention that I’m a rather indulgent chihuahua mama?  

Element 3: Lap Dogs

The front door would swing open and the house would smell of roasting meats and simmering sauces.  Instantly, I’d feel hungry.  Hugs and kisses were exchanged as our eyes adjusted to the light (or lack there of) inside.

Grandma Olga had one of those formal living rooms that never really got used.  However, I was somewhat preoccupied her settee.  It had deep tufts of chartreuse velvet that I thought looked like moss.  Of course, growing up in New Mexico, moss was something I’d only seen on TV and in books and I wondered if it had the same irresistible texture of velvet.

Last year, I designed a headboard that I had custom-made by a local upholsterer in a fabric as close as I could find to that of Grandma Olga’s settee.  Unlike my gray living room, this was a deliberate and conscious allusion.  

The settee was flanked by small trees or shrub-like plants.  I can’t recall if they were artificial or real.  Regardless, fake roses adorned their branches, affixed with twisty ties.  This was the aftermath of my grandfather forbidding Grandma Olga to get a Christmas tree; and so, she compromised by hanging ornaments (and fake roses) on the flora she already had.  Afterwards, she thought the roses looked too pretty to remove.  So, they remained as permanent fixtures, imitating the blooms in the oil still life on the wall.

Element 4: Still Life Paintings

The theme of rather opulent seating carried into the dining and–to be honest–is the only thing I can remember about it.  Gold-painted, old world chairs with more tufted velvet upholstery are among the few pieces of furniture Grandma Olga still has.

Coincidentally, antique chairs are a particular weakness of mine.

Element 5: Opulent Seating

Elements of Granny Chic | Opulent Seating | Motley Decor

Muriel Brandolini

Elements of Granny Chic | Opulent Seating

Dale Jarrett art

One of the other surviving pieces of furniture from the home is a three-foot-tall figural lamp of a Grecian woman carrying a cornucopia.  That piece found its way into my home a few years ago.  Score!

Element 6: Over-the-Top Lamps

The hallway that housed the bedrooms had no light fixtures and would have been impossibly dark had Grandma Olga not mounted a mirror at the far end to reflect some light down the shadowy corridor.  Beneath it was a low-slung shelf with a single silver vase holding–you guessed it–a fake rose.

Element 7: Florals

On the other hand, the bedroom I slept in was surprisingly bright with white walls and a large window above the bed.  Nearly every time I visited, the room was outfitted with different textiles.  The only constant was the use of jewel tones and exuberant patterns like paisley and Jacobean, which I still love.

Element 8: Exuberant Patterns

Elements of Granny Chic | Exuberant Patterns | Motley Decor

Cathy Kincaid

The backyard had a swimming pool, which–to my recollection–never held water.  Still, it was guarded by two enormous concrete lions that conveyed an air of both majesty and ferocity.

These superfluous creatures may very well explain my sister’s penchant for foo dogs and my own ongoing search for an oversize panther statue.

I’ve noticed other grannies tend to amass porcelain menageries not unlike Grandma Olga’s frozen sentries…

Element 9: Animal Statues

Elements of Granny Chic | Animal Statues | Motley Decor

Eddie Ross

Elements of Granny Chic | Animal Statues | Motley Decor

And that’s about where my memory abruptly ends.

This mother’s day, I’d like to thank my grandmothers for (among other things) creating enchanting backdrops for my childhood.   When I think back on the decades in which they grew up, worked, and raised children; I realize that life could not have been easy for these strong, Latina women and that they (and my grandfathers) worked very hard for every stick of furniture.  I owe them an enormous debt–not only for the creative inspiration they’ve afforded me–but also for the opportunities I’ve enjoyed as as result of their labor and progress.

Readers, thanks for joining me on my walk down Memory Lane.  I realize this was a bit more personal than my usual posts, so I appreciate your attention–especially if you’ve made it this far.  I’d love to hear about how your mothers and grandmothers have inspired you.  Please share your reveries in the comments section below.  Happy Mother’s Day!

3 Ways to Decorate with Red

Red is a color often associated with love, passion, and intensity.  As such, it can be an overwhelming–or even intimidating–shade to decorate with.  But fear not!  Following are 3 tried-and-true strategies for decorating with red…

Make a Singular Statement

Decorating with red doesn’t have to be a full-blown commitment.  Sometimes, a single scarlet piece or coat of red paint will deliver the intended effect.

Decorating with Red | Motley Decor

A shiny, candy apple red staircase is all that is needed to make a statement in this home.

This traditional home benefits from modern touches–like these accents chairs: two cherries on top of the ice cream sundae that is this room.

Even amongst other vibrant hues, a cardinal skirted table imparts a cheery, impactful effect in this colorful Connecticut home.

This hallway is punctuated by red fretwork panels, providing the space’s only pop of color and stealing all of the attention.

Group Red Accents

Red pieces also tend to look good en masse.  A grouping of red furnishings or accessories will satisfy a more intense appetite for vermillion.

How to Decorate with Red | Group Red Accents |

This entry by Christian Lyon features a red vignette, in which, layers of the shade–clustered tightly together–are visually greater than the sum of their parts.

Modern art, python skin, and watercolor blooms are unlikely companions, combined with enviable confidence in this space and united by a common rosy hue.

Ruby reigns supreme in this Dallas jewelry designer’s dining room.  From the curtains, to the seat cushions, to the various vessels; splashes of red keep the eye moving around the room.

Fabrizio Rollo is no stranger to color and here he takes on lipstick red.  While this is not a red room per se, red is certainly the dominant color.  The complex mix of neutrals and foils to the shade  make it all the more enjoyable.

Sheath the Walls and Bring in Neutrals

Unlike other hues, red can act as the main event and the backdrop, as evidenced by the rooms that follow.  What else do they have in common?  Restraint.  Red walls are the only instance of color in these spaces.  The furniture, art, and accessories are largely neutral.  This keeps the color focus on the rainbow’s top shade and simultaneously highlights the textures, patterns, lusters, and sculptural qualities of the rooms’ furnishings.

3 Ways to Decorate with Red | 3 of 3 | Sheath the Walls

This fire engine red foyer by Nick Olsen makes a stunning first impression, especially when paired with chic black and white.

Here, poppy-tinged walls beautifully offset an antique console table stocked with treasures.

And lastly, red lacquer walls are one of the few treatments that can withstand the drama of this room: an intricately carved mantel, cast peacock chairs, leopard upholstery, gold cocktail tables–these furnishings call for an equally intense envelopment.  Rather than competing on pattern, shape or shine; it’s a dose of crimson that answers that call.

Ready to start decorating with red?  Either way, Happy Valentine’s Day!

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