Tag: 2016 color of the year

An Exercise in Tolerance: 5 Design Choices I Had to Learn to Like

Every now and then, I get it into my head that I don’t like something–some element commonly found in interior design.  It’s a mild, dispassionate dislike, but a prejudice just the same.  So, when that list of “things I don’t like” gets too long, I challenge myself to change my own mind.  Thus, in the spirit of tolerance, here are some design choices that I used to dislike and have recently learned appreciate…

Parsons Tables

I know that they are classics in design, but they are exceedingly minimalist for my taste.  Why would I buy something so plain when I could buy something…exciting?  I’m generally drawn to tables with pedestal bases and sculptural qualities.  But then…I came across this image…

This blue Parsons table energizes this otherwise neutral, traditional-leaning dining room.  It’s bright coat of paint and severe right angles are the perfect foil to the curvy, carved Portuguese dining chairs.  Clearly, I was wrong about Parsons style tables.


Damask patterns are ubiquitous in “old world” interiors.  However, in contemporary interiors, they often seem contrived and out of place to my eye.  I often cringe when I see them in modern settings.  But again, I was able to prove myself wrong…

Admittedly, I have a hard time articulating why I love this dining room so much, but I do.  I love the chunky crystal pieces and ruby red chairs.  I also can’t help but admire the subtle ombre effect and moody hues of the–well what do you know?–damask wallpaper.  Wrong again!


Perhaps I’m extra judgmental when it comes to patterns, because plaid is another print that often turns me off.  It feels very specific to me–very reminiscent of either Christmas or Rob Roy or lumberjacks.

But this room recalls none  of those things.  It feels fresh, chic, and just quirky enough to be interesting.  The plaid backdrop is actually quite lovely.  I’ve changed my attitude towards plaid so drastically, in fact, that I started a Pinterest board around the theme called Clash of the Tartans.  (I love a good pun!)

The Color Pink

I know that, in 2016 (the year that Pantone hailed rose quartz as one of the colors of the year), it’s ridiculous to still dislike pink, but I’ve avoided it since the ’90s.  I’m not sure why.  So, you can imagine my disbelief when I found myself swept up in the blush craze.

An Exercise in Tolerance | 5 Design Choices I Had to Learn to Like | Pink

via Lonny

Could these ballet-slipper-pink chinoiserie panels and stools be any prettier?  But it’s not just the barely-pink blush I’ve been admiring…

I’m completely smitten with this super-saturated, hot pink foyer as well.  Again, this new-found love inspired another Pinterest board.

Upholstered Ottomans Used as Coffee Tables

If you ask me: contrast is key.  And, since coffee table are usually placed in front of upholstered sofas, doesn’t it make more sense to have a table with a distinct textural contrast?  Metal, glass, lucite, and wood are far more common (likely because they are better) alternatives.  But not always…not always…

How cool is the zebra ottoman?  It’s like an elevated rug.  With its unique shape and striking pattern, it makes a fantastic focal point, upon which, books and bowls are right at home.  You probably saw this one coming, but I also now have an Upholstered Ottomans board on Pinterest.

Maybe you should just follow me on Pinterest?  I promise to always keep an open mind and heart, pinning beautiful images in spite of any preconceived notions I may have errantly picked up along the way.  I leave you with that thought for the day.  Make it a great one!


Serenity Blue Decor

When Pantone announced that 2016 would have two official colors, there was no directive that the two had to be used in concert.  So, if you’re more of a “blue person” than a “pink person”, consider these items for your serenity blue decor…

Serenity blue decor | Motley Decor | Dining Chair

This dining chair from Pier1 has a mid century vibe and beautiful (serenity) blue linen upholstery.  It’s clean lines would compliment a motley of styles.

Handmade mug & saucer | Serenity Blue Decor on Motley Decor

Slathered in a serenity blue drip glaze, this mug and saucer by Seva Art is handmade and just beautiful.  It’s ok to leave out dirty dishes when they’re this pretty.

Coral sculpture | Motley Decor | Shopping: Serenity Blue Decor

Leave it to Williams Sonoma to create a coral sculpture this life-like–and in serenity blue nonetheless!

Metallic blue wallpaper & more serenity blue decor on Motley Decor

Reminiscent of tea paper or foxed mirrors, this wallpaper boasts a metallic sheen with a tinge of blue.  It would look incredible in a dining room or on any ceiling.

Ombre curtains | Serenity Blue Decor on Motley Decor

I don’t know about you, but I am far from over the ombre trend–especially when it comes to dip dyed curtains.  Hanging a pair like this close to the ceiling and letting them pool on the floor a little would add height and drama to a room–not to mention a pop of serenity.

Dried globe thistles | Serenity Blue Decor Ideas | Motley Decor

Globe thistles naturally bloom in a vibrant blue-violet shade.  Dried, the color softens to a pale blue with just a hint of lavender.  So, not only is the color perfect for serenity blue decor, but these botanical beauties don’t need water and will last for years.

Leather bound vintage books | Ideas for incorporating serenity blue on Motley Decor

Weathered leather takes on a certain charm in dusty blues.  This collection of vintage books–in serenity blue–provides another means for adding serene shades of blue to a room.


Shopping Finds in Rose Quartz

Rose quartz, one of Pantone’s two colors of 2016, inspires endless options in the world of decorating.  Color pyschology tells us that pink is calming, tranquil.  Understandably, many of us seek to achieve that sort of atmosphere in our homes.  If you’ve climbed aboard the rose quartz bandwagon, here are some exceptional finds to consider as you decorate.

Shopping for Rose Quartz Decor | Motley Decor

There’s something about the way light filters through pink (or rose quartz) vintage glassware that is just undeniably beautiful.   This 8-piece vanity set that I found on etsy is no exception.  It would be gorgeous displayed on a vanity or even a bathroom counter.

Shopping for Rose Quartz | Velvet | Motley Decor

Velvet is another material that makes me weak in the knees when it takes on a rosy hue.  This throw pillow from Layla Grace shimmers in rose quartz.

Shopping for Rose Quartz Decor

Rose gold, rose quartz’s sister is also having a moment and–like sisters–the two belong together.  The geometric design of this table is a foil to the feminine finish, making for an unexpected statement piece.  Available at Gilt.

Shopping finds in rose quartz | Motley Decor

Few things can rival the romance of candlelight.  And, whether it’s a pressed glass candlestick or a gilded sconce, colored taper candles are a subtle but lovely to inject color into a room.  Why not try these?

Wallpaper & other finds in rose quartz | Motley Decor

How fun is this tiger damask wallpaper in rose quartz?  It would be stunning in a powder room, bedroom, or walk-in closet.  Design by Nouveau Bohemian via Spoonflower.

Shopping for Rose Quartz decor on Motley Decor

This art print could add a little edge to a pink room, while blending in at the same time.  Discovered on 1stdibs.

Rose gold mirror & other rose quartz pink finds on Motley Decor

I couldn’t resist adding one more rose gold item to this list after stumbling across this awesome mirror on JonathanAdler.com.  It feels unapologetically glamorous with an updated Art Deco vibe.  Who wouldn’t want to gussy up in front of this?

Motley Decor Kinda Sorta Predicted Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year

A couple of weeks ago, I posted 7 Surprisingly Chic Paint Colors, in which, I listed my top picks for wall and paint colors that might not instantly jump to mind, but often turn out looking fabulous.  At the top of my list, in spots 1 and 2 were Blush and Periwinkle, respectively.  So, you can imagine my excitement when color powerhouse and paint authority Pantone announced that their 2016 Color of the Year–or more accurately their colors of the year–are Rose Quartz and Serenity.

Let’s be honest: the only difference between Rose Quartz and Blush is a pinch of beige in the latter.  Otherwise, they are both soothing, pastel shades of pink.

And Serenity is simply a shade or two lighter than Periwinkle.  Both are blue hues, bordering on violet.

So, if kinda sorta forecasting Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year–or colors of the year–doesn’t lend Motley Decor some serious street cred, then I don’t know what…

Of course, it hadn’t occurred to me to use these two colors in concert as Pantone is clearly suggesting.  This seems like a slippery slope that could result in your “grown up” room looking like a co-ed nursery.  However, here are some tips for avoiding that…

1.  Double Down on One or the Other

2016 Color of the Year Palette Idea 1

The idea here is give priority to one of the colors and then add layers of similar shades.    In this example, Serenity combines with Indigo, Navy, and Turquoise, forming a blue majority.  Complimentary colors Cranberry and Rose Quartz serve as accents.

2.  Choose a Neutral Base

2016 Color of the Year Palette Idea 2

Sometimes establishing a neutral base, allows accent colors to be seen more clearly.  In a sea of neutrals, the eye is drawn to color and that color is untainted by competing hues.  Here, Ivory, Camel, Chocolate, and White are used generously, shifting attention to the minority shades of Rose Quartz and Serenity.  A pinch of Olive (arguably a neutral) makes a small cameo as well.

3.  Embrace Adjacent Hues

Color of the Year Palette Ideas, 3 of 3

The distance between Rose Quartz and Serenity on the color wheel is purple territory.  So, naturally, shades of violet marry well with this color combo.  Above, Thistle, Aubergine, and Grape mingle with Color of the Year 1 and Color of the Year 2 effortlessly.  To add interest, Aqua and Lake are thrown in, representing the hues adjacent to Serenity on the other side of the color wheel.

So, what do you think about Pantone’s 2016 color of the year selections?  Were you surprised?  Will this impact your home decorating plans for 2016?

Did you miss the Benjamin Moore color the year?  Their choice may surprise you…

White-Hot Furnishings & Decor

In honor of Benjamin Moore’s newly announced 2016 Color of the Year, “Simply White”, here are some white-hot items–from furniture to decor–for your shopping pleasure…


papier mache mirror

Papier Mache Mirror – Ribbed from West Elm

Velvet Arabesque Pouf

Velvet Arabesque Pouf from West Elm

Saarinen tulip table

A classic: Saarinen’s oval marble top dining table available at Knoll

Venini Murano Glass Egg Light

Venini Murano Glass Egg Light at 1stDibs.com

faux sheepskin

Faux sheepskin, white from Ikea

large paper lantern

Pendant lamp shade from Ikea

Simon X Mother-of-Pearl Coffee Table Base

Simon X Mother-of-Pearl Coffee Table Base from Pier1

pair of Casamania chairs


white candleholder

skyline candle holder from CB2


See some “simply white” rooms for more inspiration.

Benjamin Moore’s 2016 Color of the Year

Having grown up in a home with a strict “white walls only” rule, I can’t say I was very excited when I read that Benjamin Moore chose “Simply White” as its 2016 color of the year on  Architectural Digest.  But such is life.

Admittedly, white offers a sense of serenity and implied cleanliness.  And so many fantastic, on-trend materials are inherently white like: mother of pearl, sheepskin, plaster, papier-mâché, Carrara marble, and opaline glass.  Also, an all white (or largely white) palette also allows for more intense contrasts in styles and textures without being overwhelming.  And, of course, I have this thing for albino animals.  There’s gotta be some exciting opportunities there.  OK, I’m on board with white playing a big role in 2016’s interiors.  So, naturally, I scour the internet for the most exquisitely designed white rooms.  Here’s what I found…


remarkable white living room in Stockholm

Mats Gustafson’s Stockholm living room via NYTimes

With an oversize paper lantern, sheepskin throws, and white swan; this living room has me loving white.


a peaceful white living room

Architect Daniel Romualdez’s home via WSJ.com

A first glance, this room is calm and peaceful…but interesting!  The neutral, white palette allows the forms and shapes of the room’s eclectic furnishings to take precedence–from the Danish chairs to the old world and contemporary sculptures.  White definitely seems like the right choice.


Karl Lagerfeld's all white dining room

Featured in Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People Karl Lagerfeld’s all white dining room is just beautiful

Leave it Karl Lagerfeld to make an all white room this luxurious and chic…marble floors, a plaster sunburst mirror, and white washed caned and gilded dining furniture…


chalky white sitting room

A white wonderland by Anne Pyne of McMillen via Elle Decor

In this Manhattan townhouse, a chalky white (seldom found in nature) palette acts as a foil to the botanical themes found the in the wallpaper, light fixture, and faux bois furniture.  Geometric shapes and patterns reinforce that tension and make the room feel fresh and up-to-date.


a white-hot dining room

A white-hot dining room in Madrid via Nuevo Estilo

Old and new collide with fantastic results in this Madrid dining room.  Mod furniture and a sputnik chandelier marry beautifully with ornate mouldings and traditional urns thanks to a restrained use of color.  The dominance of white also makes the art and colored glass really pop.


A glamorous white living room

A glamorous largely white living room via Elle Decor

In this fantastic living room, white is less about calmness and more about glamour.  Mixed metals and crystals sparkle a little brighter in this light-filled space.


white living room with character

Alex Hitz’s stylish white living room as featured in House Beautiful

Shades of white permeate this living room, accompanied by leopard print, gleaming metallics, and a towering stylized painting.  The result is unique, eclectic, and very chic.


As it turns out, white is pretty versatile and far from boring.  It’s an excellent vehicle for imparting a sense of calm or for showcasing texture, sculpture, or luster.  It can be understated, glamorous, or even quirky.  I guess the folks at Benjamin Moore know what they’re doing.  Keep an eye out for stunning “Simply White” interiors in 2016 and check out Motley Decor’s top shopping picks in white to get a jump start on crafting your own.


Looking for a little more color in your life?  Check out Patone’s 2016 color of the year.

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