Let’s talk signature colors

signature color collage


Let’s talk signature colors.  A signature color is a go to color, it’s a favorite color one often wears and/ or decorates with. It can be a nail color, a lip color or an accent color. It’s the color that makes you happiest. Whether decorating your home, or rounding out your closet, having a signature color makes life easier.

Easily my signature color is pink, and not just pink but magenta pink. I am not sure why, but magenta has always been the color I reached for. I remember it being my go to color from the box of Crayola’s as far back as kindergarten. There is something bold yet feminine about the rich vibrant pink.

Decorating with signature colors can be a challenge. So many other factors come into play. A bold color used predominately in a small room could be overwhelming if there is a lack of natural light. In a large room it could play nicely in the space. To be safe, I would suggest using a bold signature color as an accent with a neutral palette. Softer colors on the other hand would do well in either space, played up with accents of darker shades in the same hue to add personality and depth. Avoid too much of the monochromatic look as it could look a bit odd. A room done all in blue, blue walls, blue carpet, blue furniture is well, blue.

Dressing in signature colors makes pulling together a look a snap. It also makes shopping easy as you know what colors to gravitate too.  Just as you would not want your home done entirely in the same shade, you will want your outfits to incorporate your signature color with other coordinating colors.  I often pair pink with navy, black or denim. It keeps my look pulled together without being clownish. Just imagine what pink shoes, pick pants and a pink top would look like. It’s too much pink and pairing it with another color softens it.

Opting for your signature color for your nail polish and lipstick also makes life easier. My go to nail polish is Strawberry Margarita by OPI. It’s a nice hot pink for my nails.  I am not a huge lipstick wearer, but I love the demur look of the MAC’s Modesty. It’s not hot pink, but hot pink on my lips is too shocking.  Now, admittedly not all colors will play well in this arena. If you love green, then using it for your lipstick may not make much sense. In that case, pick another color you want to wear consistently.

My use of pink even comes into play with my stationery and choice of ink color.  It may be novel, but it does give my correspondence a distinct look. I use accents of pink in wrapping gifts and when entertaining too.

How would a signature color incorporate into your life?

Daydreaming of outdoor living spaces

Outdoor living spaces extend the living area of most homes in the summer and year round in the warmer climates. Here in Florida the backyard becomes the gathering place for the whole family almost year round. From outdoor living rooms to outdoor kitchens, it’s almost like having an entire second outdoor home.  Creating the ideal outdoor living space is a matter of knowing what functions your family needs and building around them.

outdoor living room
via flickr

The best-designed outdoor living spaces incorporate something for every member of the family. Furnishings have gone beyond the metal fold out lawn chair to smartly styled woven seating with gorgeous cushions. The outdoor kitchen is more than just the grill standing in the yard. Complete kitchens with storage, running water and electricity are becoming much more common even in the smallest of spaces.  Lighting is more than just the dinky overhead dome light in the porch ceiling, it’s now found in stylish fixtures designed to face the elements year in and year out.

outdoor lighting
via flickr

My favorite outdoor living spaces incorporate a fireplace, a wading pool or spa with ample areas to sit and converse. The fireplace is perfect for chilly nights while the pool provides relief and entertainment in the warmer months. Let’s admit it, every space needs those well appointed seating areas too.

outdoor seating
via BHG

As we embark on another summer, I am planning to overhaul our small but intimate outdoor living space. We have a small slab of concrete that is accessible from our master bedroom and runs the width of the house with sliders opening to the kitchen area. Despite being barely big enough to fit a table and chairs, it is still feasible to have a relaxing space for entertaining, even if it’s just the two of us. Working with a limited budget, I am constrained in the outdoor living features I’d like to add, but alas a girl can dream.

via HGTV
via HGTV

The dream is to build the outdoor kitchen and install the pool, two features that require a sizable budget. Until money is no object, I will settle for small changes that may or may not be affordable in the bubblegum budget.

OB-outdoor space mood board

I would love to add a loveseat sectional combo that allows us to lounge more easily just off our bedroom.  A great outdoor area rug would make the concrete less cold and more welcoming. The lanai needs outdoor curtains to keep the sun at bay in the morning and mosquito netting to deter the skeeters at night.  Obsessed with lighting fixtures, I would love to find a fabulous pendent to add a bit of style to an already run of the mill outdoor living space.

So, in lieu of the complete overhaul to include the pool, outdoor kitchen and expanded seating area, I will be cleaning the space and reworking it as best as possible, using mostly what I have at my disposal.

Check back next week for the before and after……..

The secrets of symmetry

You know a room works when the space has achieved symmetry.  Symmetry is just a fancy word for balanced. Simply put, a symmetrical room features visual weight in appealing manner.  The space is not chaotic, or busy.  Designers place each piece strategically with an overall symmetrical plan in mind. To understand how to achieve balance with your design plan, you first need to know the secrets of symmetry.

formal symmetry
photo via Thibault

Formal Symmetry

Formal symmetry, a hallmark of traditional design, is the easiest to achieve, as it is also the easiest to understand.  A loveseat with two identical tables placed on either side with matching lamps place on top is an example of formal symmetry.  If you were to draw a line down the middle of the loveseat, you would see one side is a mirror image of the other.  Formal symmetry relies on the repetitiveness of furnishings and accessories. You could further enhance the symmetry by adding identical throw pillows, one on each side, to the loveseat.  When using formal symmetry, it is important to find ways to add visual interest to avoid a monotonous look.

informal symmetry

Informal Symmetry

Informal symmetry, also known as asymmetry, is more about shaking things up a little.  If you took the same loveseat and traded out an accent table for a floor lamp, then removed one throw pillow and replaced it with another one in a coordinating fabric you would create an asymmetrical look.  Asymmetry is more taxing but it creates a more robust design in the end. Unlike formal symmetry, asymmetry avoids repetitive elements yet includes the lines, textures and colors with similar visual weight and appeal that a design plan requires. Today’s casual designs use the concept of asymmetry more often than that of formal symmetry.

radial symmetry

Radial Symmetry

Radial symmetry, summed up, is the use of a focal point and other repetitive elements radiating around it. A dining room table, for example, would be the focal point of your dining room with matching chairs flanked around it. Each chair, a duplicate of the one next to it, keeps the form and repetition consistent in the room.  This approach, rarely used in interior design, can work. For a more formal approach in a sitting room, for example, you could center a round ottoman and place matching wingback chairs, equal distances apart, on the perimeter of the ottoman.

Any of these three approaches will work well depending on the space and function of the room. For traditional symmetry, just remember each side of the room is a mirror opposite of the other.  End tables are the same, lamps are the same, and even the accent pillows are a match. For an informal look, remember each side of the room does not match the other. Keeping things within scale and complimentary is more important. Both of these are perfect for family rooms. Radial symmetry, on the other hand, is best reserved for the formal dining room or eat-in kitchen. It relies on the use of a set of matching chairs placed around a matching table.

I hope that the secrets of symmetry have taken the guesswork out of creating your next floor plan. It may seem complicated but really, it isn’t with a little consideration.

Friday Crush: Yellow Makes Me Happy

Yellow is a very cheery color.  It is said to spark original thought and inquisitiveness.  As the brightest color on the spectrum, yellow is seen much more readily. It is used for cross walks, street dividers and even the school bus, so it is more visible to others.

Yellow used in the home can bring about cheerfulness, inspire the intellect, and provide a space with warmth and energy.  In small doses it can bring a happy disposition to a room, if a full scale onslaught of yellow is not your liking.

yellow accessories
yellow mood board via Olioboard


It’s a great gender-neutral color for a nursery.  Bright, vibrant and creative, what more could you want for your child’s room?  It is a shot of happiness every child ought to be bathed in.

OB-yellow nursery


Yellow is great mixed with navy, white, gray or even green.

OB-yellow color schemes

These are just some of the reasons I am crushin on yellow this week.

Coastal Cottage Decor

Coastal cottage décor draws from vintage and nautical finds and can take time to create, but the effort is well worth it to design a truly considered home.  It evokes a sense of the past in a casual, eclectic and charming manner that invites people to relax and enjoy.  There are a few key characteristics to decorating a home with the coastal cottage look and feel.


Bead board is a hallmark of the cottage look.  Bead board is a wall treatment used as an accent on the lower half of a wall and topped off with a chair rail. It is frequently painted white with either wallpaper or a coordinating color above the chair rail.  Another option is to hang bead board horizontally over the entire wall. This gives the illusion of horizontal stripes and adds a bigger punch of visual interest to the room.



Coastal color schemes are usually neutral with a mix colors in blues, yellows or greens. Keep it light and welcoming. Avoid dark walls and opt for lighter clean shades that evoke a bright sunny day at the beach.  Don’t be afraid of using small doses of a single color throughout the space. For example if you could use a sage green as an accent. Incorporate it in with throw pillows, matching pottery or even the lampshades. It adds dimension to the room and keeps it from being boring.


Next, to consider is the furniture. Cottage can be eclectic with a mix of pieces from different eras. It’s more of a relaxed look with rolled arms on sofas and chairs give the room a soft gentle feel.  Flea market finds are welcomed and often give the space a worn and comfortable feel. Perhaps add to the floor plan with a coffee table and end tables rescued from a local thrift shop and painted in an accent color or gently aged wicker chairs Use slipcovers for a very casual almost shabby chic look.

PicMonkey Collage_coastal_accents

No room is complete without accessories. Seashells, sea glass, drift wood or old lobster buoys all evoke a coastal look and feel. A bowl of shells may grace the entryway table, while a framed beach scene hangs in the family room.

The most appealing aspect of the coastal cottage look is the randomness of it. Keep it to light colors, gently worn furniture and unique flea market finds to create your own coastal home.