If These Walls Could Talk: Using Color in Interior Decorating

The colors we like and use for our homes say a lot about who we are.  Knowing something about color theory can help you make good color choices that will create the look you want in your home.

1.  Colors Reveal Personalities

You may already be aware that there are links between people’s preferred colors and certain personality traits.  Numerous studies have been done on the topic, but if you take a look around your home or through your wardrobe, you may notice certain colors popping up again and again.  This isn’t necessarily something on which to base your whole design, but it’s a fun exercise to get you thinking about how your personality is reflected in your surroundings (and isn’t that, to some extent, what good interior design is about?)  Here are some colors and their associated personality traits:

  • Red – active, cheerful, optimistic, goal-oriented
  • Blue — cautious, peaceful, orderly, values tradition
  • Green — loyal, sincere, well-mannered, good at seeing the big picture
  • Yellow — exciting, self-sufficient, dreamer,  prone to worry
  • Brown — practical, enjoys the simple life, good at accomplishing tasks
  • Orange — energetic, extroverted, loves freedom
  • White — confident, perfectionist, sincere
  • Black — serious, decisive, powerful
  • Purple — comforting, values dignity

What do you think?  Does your personality fit your favorite color?

2.  Colors Affect Mood

Just as colors are associated with personalities, they also reflect and inspire certain moods.  Warm colors, such as red, yellow, and orange, will make a space feel energetic or lively.



Cool colors, such as blue, green, or light purple, will create a restful, calming feeling.  Consider the activity in the room — is it an area where you will entertain?  relax?  Also remember that balance is very important; if you use too much of a color, it will become overwhelming, so pops of neutral colors like black, grey, brown, or white are important in a space as well.



3.  Colors Can Fool the Eye

Most people have a space in their homes that they wish was bigger, and while you may not have the budget or desire to move to a more luxurious home with oodles of space in every room, you can use color to change your perception of how large the space feels, especially if you employ a designer who can help you utilize every trick for making a small space feel larger.  If you have a small space, paint the walls and ceiling a lighter shade, like a pastel.  Choosing furniture that is a similar color to your walls can also help make a space appear larger.

expand small space


If you’re fortunate enough to have a large space,use a bold color to add interest and attract the eye.

large room


4.  Colors Finish a Room

At one time or another, we’ve all seen a room that felt a little empty, that feeling of something missing.  Chances are, there was a lack of color.  Color is the unifying element that pulls a space together.  A designer can easily guide you to making smart color choices that will result in a room that looks finished, but if you are looking to add a few things such as pillows or accessories to a room, or you’re an ardent DIYer, there are a few tips that can help you make smart choices.



  • The 60:30:10 Rule

When decorating a room, use the following percentages to have a good balance of color:

60% dominant color

30% secondary color

10% accent color

In the room sense, that translates roughly into

60% of the room’s color is the walls

30% of the room’s color is the upholstery

10% of the room’s color is in accent pieces

60 - 30-10 2


  • Take a tip from Mother Nature

Many people make mistakes not so much with color, but with value (the relative lightness or darkness of a color, say lavender vs. eggplant).  If you end up with too many dark values on one side of the room vs. light values on the other, your room will feel unbalanced.  The natural world can help guide you towards creating a balanced space.  Choose darker values of color for the floor (like the ground outside), medium values for the walls (trees, shrubs, etc), and light values for the ceiling (sky), thus creating a vertical design that will help you avoid lack of balance.

mother nature


  • The Lead Piece

If you read last week’s blog, you’ll know what the lead piece is.  (If you didn’t, scroll right on down and read it, I’ll wait!)  If you have an item in your room already that works as a lead (a duvet, piece of art, accent pillow, etc), pull colors and values from what you have.  This is also much easier than painting and then trying to find things to go with it later.



Colors, and more specifically, the undertones of colors that show up popularly in stores, fashion, fabrics, etc, change over time.  Think of how yesterday’s colors differ from those you see around today — blues, greens, yellows, etc, but in the case of the 80’s, for instance, all the colors shared a blue undertone, hence mauve (red with blue undertones) or sea foam (green with blue undertones).  Today, we’re seeing a lot of grey or beige undertones in the popular colors.  If you still have a carpet or wallpaper in your home from that era, you’ll have already realized how hard it can be to try to match something to it when the colors with the right undertones are no longer popular.

There are plenty of other aspects of color theory to consider, so if you’re intrigued and want to know more, check out “Why Our Brains Love Colorful Interiors”, or “Top 10 Tips for Adding Color to Your Space”.    If, however, you find it all a bit overwhelming and are concerned about getting it right, get in touch with a designer who can save you a lot of time and money, teach you a bit along the way, and help you achieve the very best look.  As we all know with other things in life, there are times when the rules can and should be broken, and a designer has the expertise to help you discern when breaking the rules can result in something truly breathtaking.

If your walls could talk, what would they say about the color choices you’ve made?  What do they say about who you are?

For answers to all your color questions and any other interior design needs, contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer of All About Interiors.






Decorate With Designer Secrets

Are you faced with decorating or re-decorating a room?  Ever looked around your room and wondered why it didn’t look more pulled-together?  If so, then you need to know a few secrets that designers already know!

So, you have a room that needs decorating.  Maybe you’re just moving into a new house, you’re tired of the same old boring room you’ve been staring at for any number of years, or you’ve got a place that, slowly and surely, you’re trying to pull out of the 1960s that the previous owner must have enjoyed.  (Not likely!)  Whatever the case, there’s that room in front of you, and you just don’t know where to start.

I realize there are a lot of people out there who are DIY’ers so as a professional, I feel obligated to educate with a few designer secrets to help them get a start.  However, that being said… God forbid! Should I become ill, I would attempt to self diagnose.  I’d seek a professional in the medical field who knew what they were doing…but hey, that’s just me.  So if you are absolutely adamant on going at it without a professional designer guiding you, (Which in NO way would I EVER recommend), at least a little important knowledge will be bouncing around in your head before you start.

A few key secrets of how to begin to decorate.

1.  DO NOT pick a paint color!

You’re thinking, “What?  Isn’t this the easiest place to start?  I pick a color and then find stuff to go with it, right?”



No way!  Nuh-uh!  Stop and think:  which is easier – matching a paint color to fabric or furnishings or the other way around?  If you’ve ever wandered around a fabric store or home decor area of a department store trying to spot just that “right” shade of blue, you’ll know that it’s not an easy task.  So leave the paint supplies right where they are; don’t worry, they’ll be there when you’re ready for them!

2.  Think like a Psychiatrist

When you think about this room that you’re decorating, how do you feel?  While that might sound silly, and you may be envisioning lying on a couch chatting it up with Sigmund Freud, it’s a step that will really help you define your style and vision for the room.  For example, consider how a room that feels “posh” or “chic” would look compared to a room that feels “homey” and “rustic.”  To get you thinking about your personal style, here are a few examples of some style-feeling words and rooms that reflect them:

Soft and Feminine

soft and feminine


Homey and Rustic



Bold and Eclectic

bold eclectic


Some other style-feeling words to get you started:

  • moody
  • cozy
  • airy
  • posh
  • bright
  • cheerful
  • glam
  • refined
  • soothing

Once you’ve chosen your style words, commit to them, and do not bring anything into that space that does not go with the feeling you are trying to create.  For a few more style-feeling words, look at these examples.

3.  Make friends with Pinterest

After you’ve chosen your style-feeling words, start gathering examples of rooms that fit in to those feelings or the look you are trying to create.  There are tons of sites out there with pictures of beautiful rooms of every shape and size –PinterestHouzz and  House Beautiful, just to name a few.

Head to your local library and grab some issues of a Better Homes and Gardens or another design magazine.  Plan to do a lot of searching and note taking to determine what you like and don’t like.  Once you have an idea in mind of what you want (or don’t want) and if you are not feeling completely overwhelmed at all the eye candy… Remember, absolutely no one who’s re-decorated a time or two… will blame you if you pick up the phone and call a professional designer at this point.  But if you are still standing and your head is no longer spinning, alas… we move on to rule number 4.



4.  Define your color palette 

Now, the fun part — you get to go shopping!   What you’re looking for is what’s known as a lead — an item such as a rug, pillow, piece of fabric, artwork, etc that contains in it colors you love that also matches the style-feeling words you already picked. This lead piece will LEAD you (get it?) to making good color choices because you’re going to pull your color palette from the colors in your lead piece.  HINT: Keep in mind if you are in a box furniture store, there are lots to choose from.  Choose wisely!  Measure your space FIRST!   Furniture stores have very few inner walls and high ceilings deceiving the shopper into thinking a large sectional will actually fit in a small space.

Once you have your lead piece, then you can go ahead to choose the remaining items that coordinate with your lead color and finally a paint color, still keeping in mind those feeling words.

If you take a look at the picture below, you’ll see that all the colors in the room are pulled from the carpet and the fabric on the seat cushion in the foreground.

orange and teal - Copy


Here’s another example — this time, the lead piece is the geometric artwork on the wall.  You’ll also notice that this room as a much more sleek and glamorous look than the one above, due largely to the choice of wall color, the light fixture and the upholstered bench.

how to decorate a room - CopyPinterest

5.  Florals, Geometrics, and Stripes, Oh My!

Now it’s time to pick other patterns that will go with your color scheme and lead piece.  Let’s say you picked a large, multi-colored floral as your lead piece.  You can pair this with a smaller-scale geometric; it will complement rather than fight with your lead.  To this you can add another smaller geometric or solid, spread them around the room, and voila!  Gorgeous room!

fabric combo


bhg mix patterns

BHG – How to Mix Patterns

There you have it!  So for those of you who want to give it a go… I say, go out and decorate with a few key tools under your belt.  If you start to feel dizzy, overwhelmed and/or unsure of your choices STOP immediately and contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer of All About Interiors.  I am happy to get you back on the right path.

 What’s the first room you’re going to make stunning?

Fantastic Fall Decor

Fall is in the air!  These simple ideas will help you create fantastic fall decor for your home.

Ah, Autumn!  The crisp air, blue skies, the crunch of dry leaves underfoot…  In decorating your home for the fall season, now is the time to think warmth, soft light, gorgeous, rich colors and bringing the beauty of the outdoors in.  As the season approaches, a few simple steps can lead to a beautiful and welcoming fall decor in your home.

pumpkin dining


1.  De-clutter

Before bringing in those gorgeous pumpkins or gourds or hanging up that fall wreath, take a moment to remove all the stuff that has accumulated over the summer.  Retire the summery decor, flip flops, and beach towels to storage and find places for the new daily-use items that come back in to the house.  If you have kids, consider easily accessible storage for backpacks, lunch boxes, jackets, and shoes that will keep your house from becoming a mess every afternoon.  If you have a mudroom, you already have a great storage spot that may only need some functional fix-ups to make it more useful. mudroom storage


If you don’t have a mudroom, do you have a garage, foyer, or closet that could be used more effectively?

foyer storage


2.  Layers of Warmth

Bring in autumn hues and a cozy feeling by adding layers — table runners, place mats, throw rugs, accent blankets and pillows will all give your home a fresh, autumn feel without too much fuss.  As you select items to add, keep a color scheme in mind that works with the items already in your home.  Consider bringing in warm wood accents, or, if you’re shopping for new furniture, purchase neutral pieces that allow you flexibility in seasonal decorating.


House Beautiful

3.  Dress Up Your Entryway

Turn a critical eye on your home’s exterior.  How’s your curb appeal?  Repainting your front door can provide a new look for little effort or money, and many of fall’s beautiful colors such as cranberry, navy, chocolate brown, or charcoal will look good year-round.



As on the inside, spend some time de-cluttering your yard and entryway.  Pull out the summer plantings, rake and weed beds, and add baskets or planters of mums, grasses, seed pods, or ornamental cabbages.

fall window box


4.  Bring the Outdoors In

Creating fall decor can be as simple as taking advantage of all that Mother Nature has already provided.  Pumpkins, leaves, gourds, seed pods, dried grasses, and fall flowers are all fantastic ideas for table scapes and decor touches throughout the home.

fall hutch


If you’re creatively inclined, consider painting pumpkins metallic shades for a totally different look.

metallic pumpkin


5.  Let There Be Light!

As the days grow shorter, create a cozy feel by bringing light into your home.  Start with your windows — if necessary, remount your curtains to let in plenty of light when they are fully opened.  Mounting your window hangings higher and wider than your window will also make your window appear larger.  Bring in candles in neutral and autumn shades and add them throughout your decor.



Hollow out fruits or vegetables such as apples or gourds to hold votives or tea lights.  Or get crafty and grab some pumpkin carving tools that are readily available this time of year and add some leaf detail carving to a mini pumpkin for a sophisticated jack-o-lantern that’s not limited to just Halloween.



How do you plan to spice up your fall decor this year?

For all-season decorating help, contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer with All About Interiors.

Kids Rooms to Grow On

Decorating a timeless kids room can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have the desire, time or budget to redecorate every few years as they grow and change.  With careful planning and a few guidelines, you can create a room that will grow with your child.

When it comes to kids rooms, it can be very easy to get sucked into a theme — princesses or cars or Dora the Explorer — but these are exactly the things that will end up changing as your child grows.  Your little girl who dresses up as a princess or your little boy who spends hours driving his cars and trucks around every day will, sooner than you realize, be on to very different things.  When that happens, you’re stuck with a room that needs updating.  Acknowledge that your child’s tastes will change, plan for it, and when you decorate his/her room you can create something that will be suitable and pleasing for every age!

Sophisticated Color Scheme

Choose a color scheme that doesn’t scream “kids room!” by selecting two or three shades and including neutrals.

girls room neutral wall


Rather than “nursery” colors on the walls or toddler-themed wallpaper, view your walls as a blank canvas on which you can add and change any number of accessories that will truly change the feel of the room.  This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid color — far from it!  Most colors, even bright ones, can feel appropriate for kids of all ages if they are incorporated correctly with the furnishings of the room.

boys room bhg


Buy Quality

As you ponder the furnishings in a child’s room, look for timeless, quality pieces.  That race car bed may be the be-all-and-end-all  to your three-year-old right now, but how do you feel about having to replace it in a year or two at best?  Many cribs now convert into twin or full-size beds once you no longer need the crib functionality.  If you’re spending the money on a crib anyway, make a good investment in something that will stay with you.



When you’re buying a changing table, consider it’s usefulness long-term. Instead of a changing table, purchase a dresser with a changing table topper that removes once you no longer need it.  Great light fixtures, rugs, and window furnishings can also last years without feeling dated if properly chosen.



Change-up the Accents

The way you accent and play with the “blank slate” you create as the basis for your child’s room has everything to do with how young or old it feels.  Bedding, wall decorations, rugs, and lighting choices will have a significant impact on the feel of the room.  Pair a neutral wall with bright orange, red, or blue accents, and you’ll have a knock-out boys room in no time.

Do the same with pinks or purples, and you can have a room that’s as girly as your little princess wants it to be.

 neutral and purpleSource

Display Carefully and Provide Storage

Any parent knows how quickly a kids room can get filled with clutter — those Legos all over the floor or the Barbie dolls on every surface can take over!  Storage is a key element of a child’s room, by necessity, so plan ahead by providing plenty of accessible, functional, yet stylish storage that fits the room.

storage boys bhg


If built-ins aren’t workable for your space or budget, consider using several wall mounted bookshelves with classic wicker baskets or an upholstered bedroom bench with enclosed storage.



Consider the layers of your child’s room and recognize that the toys, bedding and display items are only the top layer of all the elements that make up the room.  These will be the easiest to change as time goes on but will also provide a lot of character to the room if chosen wisely.

Patterns and Prints

Stripes, chevron, animal prints, geometrics,  florals — all these patterns, done in the right way can be completely timeless.



When you choose a pattern, think down the road.  Will this still be appropriate when she’s a teenager?  Will this work when he’s 10 years old?  If the answer is no, keep looking for something that will!  It’s the accessories that will end up making the room feel younger or older and will save you the time, money, and effort of redoing the room over and over.

Is your child outgrowing his or her room?  What are your favorite elements of these timeless kids rooms?

Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer with All About Interiors can help you achieve your timeless kids room design!

Update Your Outdoors: 5 Tips for Decorating Outdoor Spaces

Creating an outdoor space that is pleasant and stunning is as simple as following a few key rules of decorating.  Transform yours from lifeless to lively with these tips for decorating outdoor spaces.

Even though summer is drawing to a close, there is still plenty of time to enjoy your outdoor living space, and it’s not too late (or too early!) to consider making your porch, patio, deck, or yard all that it can be!  As you plan, remember to take into account all of your space; not having solid walls and a ceiling means that you can get really creative in using the space you do have.

outdoor space


1.  Look Up

Although your outdoor living space has the benefit of natural lighting, other forms of lighting are essential to a beautiful design.  If you have a ceiling or roof of some kind over your outdoor living space, then it may be very easy to add a lovely, antique lantern or a chandelier, depending on your taste.

chandelierBetter Homes and Gardens

If hard-wiring a light fixture isn’t possible, consider using candles, battery operated lights, Christmas lights, or solar lights.  The space below makes use of  a chandelier and strings of lights.

08-hbx-string-outdoor-lights-fiscus-1010-lgnHouse Beautiful

If you don’t have a ceiling to work with, create one by adding a large outdoor umbrella or beautiful canopy tent.



canopyBetter Homes and Gardens

2.  Look Down

Your outdoor “floor” may be wood, stone, concrete, grass or any combination, and while you will definitely want to consider what look  you can achieve by adding or changing those materials, a rug is an easy and relatively inexpensive design element that packs a lot of punch.  Choose one that enhances and coordinates with your color scheme and the surroundings.


Better Homes and Gardens

3.  Plants

Notice in the picture above that the bright citron and lime greens in the plants are reflected in the green accent pillows.  In an outdoor space, plants are a vital part of the decor, so select your plants carefully, and choose ones that will complement the fabrics and decorations you choose (and vice versa!).  Also consider selecting plants that will be hardy through the winter or putting your pots on casters for easy relocation.

plantsBetter Homes and Gardens

4.  Color Scheme

Before adding items to your outdoor living space, select a color scheme and stick to it!  Fabrics are a great way to enhance your color scheme and provide interest in your outdoor living space.  There are many outdoor fabrics available, and you shouldn’t be afraid to throw in some bold colors or to mix patterns.  Notice in the picture below that the wall space has been used for plantings that pick up some of the colors in the fabrics.  Furniture, rugs, lighting fixtures, and plants should all be considered as elements in your color scheme.

fabrics and tablePinterest

5.  Furniture

When choosing furniture for your outdoor living space, make a list of the ways in which you plan to use it — will you be dining there frequently, reading by yourself, entertaining guests, hanging out poolside?



Test out the furniture before you buy it.  If it’s comfortable, you and your guests will be more likely to use it.  Think about both the style of the pieces you choose (do they go with your color scheme and decor style?) and the quality.  Purchase quality pieces that will last well, stand up to weather, require little maintenance, and, if possible, be able to be stored during the winter to prolong the life of the furniture.  Check out these tips by Better Homes and Gardens.

For more information:  10 Easy Outdoor Decorating Ideas, 24 Patio Perk-Ups

For help in creating your dynamite design, contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer of All About Interiors.