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Online Color Resources

Online Color Resources

I love this online magazine that PPG Industries has created to showcase 2014 color trends. Their palettes highlight beautiful colors throughout the spectrum that coordinate with each other. The mood for 2014 across the board for color choices is fresh soft pastels paired with rich bold tones.

 PPG Color Trend 2014


Not sure if the new colors will work in your space? Try out PPG color visualize The Voice of Color, you can take a photo of your room and try on various colors to see if they work, or take a picture of something you love to find colors to bring into your project. Other companies also have online tools that are fun to use to experiment before you take a leap towards color. Have fun and try out a few!

If you know of other tools that are helpful please let me know



2014 Color Trends

2014 Color Trends

Each year everyone that works with design are curious to see what the predicted new color trends are going to be from paint companies, PPG and Pantone. This year as ever year, color can make an impact not only on manufacturing, marketing but clothing and decorating. Color speaks differently to every person also, so to see the mix that is being forecasted helps us define our likes and dislikes.

I thought to make life easier for readers I would try and compile some of the information that I have researched and found. Kind of like one stop shopping for color trends.

Pantone the color gurus so to say, picked Radiant Orchid as the color for 2014. Whether that will be accepted by consumers is to be seen. The pallet they have chosen I think, tends to be softer in tone. I found it very interesting that Leatrice Eisemann from Pantone says that blue and greens can finally be considered neutrals, as well as accents. I feel that whenever you look to nature for a color pallet it does appear more neutral in our surroundings.

pantone 2014


PPG leading company of paints and coatings for all industries predicted 2014 color that Butter Cream Yellow will be the perfect hue to reflect “the spirit of Pause and Refresh” creating tranquility and of course complementing the blues and greens that are trending.PPG colors

Looking at the paint companies, Benjamin Moore has compiled a palette as they describe 2014 trends as a breath of fresh air. The grays are shifting more to blues, greens, lavenders and pinks. Soft filtered pastels again considering this palette the “new neutrals”

BM color trends 2014

Sherwin Williams has created their color pallet for 2014 based on inspirations. They have broken it to four categories for their Colormix 2014. To recap quickly Reasoned are their gray colors, Diaphanous are soft shades of pink, green and beige. Curiosity are deeper in saturation that Diaphanous and would be complementary to the other two categories. Last is Intrinsic that are deeper also and range from Polished Mahogany to a bright Capri blue.SW 2014 colors

Behr has also broken their color pallet for 2014 into four categories. Their goal is to help show how you can take a color palette and create a room within a particular pallet. I think this is helpful for those that feel they are color challenged when it comes to creating a room.Behr colors


The resounding trend I have seen are the more pastel, tranquil colors coming into the homes. They make a home feel like a sanctuary, and with the craziness in everyone’s life I like that idea.

If you transform a room this year send me pictures!

2014 Color Talk |Pantone’s Predictions

2014 Color Talk |Pantone’s Predictions

radiant orchid 2014 color by Pantone

The color predictions from Pantone each year raise feelings for everyone, some positive some negative. This coming year’s prediction for 2014 is Radiant Orchid, 2013 was Emerald Green and in 2012 was Tangerine Tango. The question is how do these translate to home decor and how do you use this color in a room.

“This blend of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones does, however, speak in murmurs of exoticism and enigma. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute in a news release said: “Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

Purple as a pop of color in decor

2014 Radiant Orchid is bold and soft at the same time. In feng shui design, purple is used to make your home feel more powerful and secure.  When decorating with vibrant colors that might not be your usual “go to” colors; but you are thinking maybe I can use that color to freshen up a room, the best way to work with them is to blend them with neutral colors throughout your décor and use the hue as a pop of color.

Adding a piece of art, or a statement piece in a room with gray or creamy white walls would be very striking. Not ready to redo every room in your home? Keep it simple by changing out a few pillows, or maybe add a vase that has the color. wrote an archive blog on how to bring purple into your decor making it an empowering color for the home.

When selling your home will these popular trending predicted colors sell your home?  Most likely not, buyers tend to like more neutral palettes so that they can envision their belongings in the house. But as I mentioned previously painting your walls a neutral color and using these trending colors as pops through a room, are easy to change out when you decide to sell. Remember color speaks differently to everyone. Do not assume just because Pantone a leader in choosing colors says this is the color to use, and that a buyer will like it. By staying neutral, but satisfying your color urge with accessories is always a safe way to go. Not sure how to make it work, give me a call I would love to help you achieve the look you are seeking.

Show me how you have incorporated the latest trending colors to update your rooms!

Fireplace Mantels for the Holidays

Fireplace Mantels for the Holidays

Everyone loves to dress up their home for the holidays and a focal point in many homes is the mantle above the fireplace.

I am one that likes the traditional look of greenery and poinsettias to adorn the fireplace to make it look festive. But over the years I am finding I am gravitating towards more of a winter theme vs. the holiday theme because if I do not get to taking it down right away it still looks nice in January.

silver trees

silver reindeer on mantel








However you dress your mantel it is personal, traditional and will leave everyone with a warm feeling of the holidays. Here are some ideas to inspire you, as they have me, over the years.

I love this trending turquoise blue color in decorations, it is so striking and the color just pops with the natural greenery, and branches.

turquoise blue mantel

blue white tree









The blue with the white creates a cool room that feels very wintry, while combining the blue with natural greens on the mantel it feels warmer.

If you like a more traditional look with evergreens and paper whites, these are beautiful additions to a room.

paper whites and greens on mantel

traditional mantel with paper whites









In the South and where magnolia branches are abundant, take advantage of them and mix them with fruits and warm candle light to create a striking mantel.

magnolia and peaches for a mantel

candle glowing among magnolia leaf









Of course using red and green to decorate a mantle is always handsome and agreeable with the colors of Christmas.

Red and Green Mantel

Red and bright green mantel

carnation wreathsI love the statement that these carnation wreaths make, such a pop of color!

In my search of favorite mantels I came across this adorable idea for the apartment dweller or home that might not have a real fireplace mantel to decorate. Create a canvas with chalk board paint to set the ambiance.

chalk board fireplace

However you decorate or create your mantel, it will bring warmth and the joy of the holidays to you and your family. Merry, Merry!


Garage Storage- Organized but Still Manly

Garage Storage- Organized but Still Manly

organized garage

Did you know that National Clean out your Garage Day is the Saturday after Labor Day? Well I obviously missed it but here are some ideas to get you inspired to get your garage in order (hint, hint Hubby)



If you are like my household the only time we somewhat organize our garage is when my husband gets the tractor ready for summer mowing, or in the fall when he gets it ready for winter plowing. This isn’t bad because we do edit a lot that we have been storing but we could be a little more organized through the rest of the year. This one room tends to be a big project, so schedule a weekend to do it.

It would be nice that it did not need to be a major undertaking every time, so here are some ideas (hint, hint hubby) that you can implement and feel like you have this space of your house under control, even if the rest isn’t.

Now is the time to get organized. First remove everything out of the garage, once you have everything out it gives you a better idea of the available space. As you pull things out question everything that you touch….

Do I need it?

When was it last used?

If I have not used it, and don’t have a need for it, recycle, throw out, or donate.

While narrowing down some of the items, group together like items– all gardening equipment, sports equipment, tools, camping equipment, automotive items, you get the picture. Now you know what you have and are keeping, it gives you a better idea as to the space you will need to store these items.

The items you do not use a frequently can be put higher up on the shelves or towards the back of the garage. storage binsUse a much vertical space as possible  when bringing items back into the garage- shelving units or storage cabinets are great for fitting a lot into a garage space. Your goal is to keep as much of the floor space open for parking cars.  Any bins you fill with items label, so you know what goes in them. Get in a habit of putting things back where you originally got them from, and make it a yearly priority to edit the garage at least once a year to maintain.

Best of luck, send me pictures of your organized garage…I might have one when we finally decide to move (wink, wink)

Mudrooms and Storage Spaces

Mudrooms and Storage Spaces

Fall reminds me of apple picking, school starting, cooler weather and moving indoors.

Speaking of indoors how do you handle all the additional gear that is used in the fall and winter months? I have been looking into mud rooms, a place to hang your coat and store all the stuff that gets dropped at the door and have found some really nice ideas that I felt worthy of sharing with everyone.

First off, if you have the space in your house- you are LUCKY! I loved this space that had room for hanging coats, a bench and then all the storage. It keeps everything in order, and looking clean.

hanging room


Even using a hall way I thought was a great idea with built ins, drawers and hanging spaces. Although this hall is narrow keeping everything white and bright keeps the space feeling open and satisfies the need.


This laundry area keeps everything handy. Just think, your kids have been out playing in the rain and mud, when they come in they can remove it all and be thrown in the wash. Great space for muddy animals too.

laundry mudroom

Some of us do not have as much space in our homes to dedicate as a mud room, but I loved this entrance hall. The table- not too big cleverly mounted along the wall and hooks to hang all the coats. I might have changed out the picture for a shelf with baskets to collect all those hats, scarves and mittens though. narrow hall

This bench is great for storage and an easy place to sit and put your shoes on and off.


 And I love, love, love this idea of shelves going up the steps to house belongings- great use of space and it looks great too.



To save money you can also buy units vs. having built-ins. This is a good option for people that move frequently or living in a temporary setting because you can always move them with you. As you can see you can purchase multiple of the same units or mix it up to have a bench and taller units for storage.

Storage does not have to be boring, or mudrooms messy, with a little thought where to collect everything you can actually enhance a space!


Benefits of Staging Your Property

Benefits of Staging Your Property

With the market recovering buyers are more price sensitive and less interested in taking on projects to make the property “theirs.” Staging can help tailor your property to become desirable to your particular market. Home sellers maybe hesitant to invest any money into their properties when they are ready to sell, but with a minimal investment it can shorten the time the house is on the market. Buyers can see it as “their” home, not one that “someone else lives in”.

Home sold

Sharing these two posts below are to help you understand why staging should be part of your marketing package when you plan on selling.

This article has some excellent points and quick movies to show how staging can help your property sell. Home buyers are looking not only for so many rooms, bathrooms etc. they are looking for a style to live. If you have a home that has not been updated since you moved in, or that your decor is that same the day you moved it might be wise to have an evaluation by a professional stager. A professional stager is objective and evaluates the property through the eyes of a buyer.

Another plus of staging is that staging as part of home selling costs may be deductible. Contact your CPA to see if staging costs can be deductible in your state to get your house sold.

When talking with your agent, ask if they will help you connect with a professional stager, it should be part of their marketing package to get your house sold! Having the right packaging is important to get buyers motivated.

Outdoor Fire Pits- Add Spark and Warmth

Outdoor Fire Pits- Add Spark and Warmth

Ignite your evenings outdoors and add spark and warmth by adding a fire pit to your landscape and outdoor spaces. With the weather becoming a little cooler fire pits are becoming a popular yard feature to enjoy the outdoors. There are many options of styles that can be considered. Above ground, below ground, table pits, fire bowls, Chiminea, or even a  fire place all add ambiance and warmth for a relaxing evening outdoors.

When considering your options keep in mind the style of your home and also your landscape and space. If you have a large back yard a fire pit that is in ground might be a nice option to consider. They can be built either for burning wood or can be hooked up to propane. Another option is a built in fire place.woodburning fire pit


I like the table top fire pit because it is easy, and by adding a cover to the fire pit it gives you multiple options and functions. These add the ambiance of spark and warmth without having to do a lot of construction to obtain the ambiance of  fire and warmth.table top


If you have limited space consider smaller fire bowl that can use denatured alcohol or bioethanol  to create a gathering place. Chiminea fire pits are also a popular choice, these burn wood and contain the fire in one bowl


All of these are beautiful options, but remember safety:

When using a fire pit never leave it unattended.

Make sure that all dead vegetation is removed ten to twenty feet around the pit.

Make sure the hoses on propane and gas fire pits are connected properly and are in good condition.

Any surface below the fire pit such as a table top, or chimina is fire proof. Good options are slate, brick stone.

Their is nothing better on a summer evening gathering around a fire. Kids will love this also to cook up a batch of great s’mores! Ah, enjoy the summer and send me some of your pic’s of fire pits!

Bad Listing Photographs- Such a Shame

Bad Listing Photographs- Such a Shame

If you are searching for a new home now, you are probably looking at the usual sites such as,,, just to name a few. Hours are spend looking a pictures of listed homes, currently for sale. As I mentioned in my last blog, typically a buyer will spend 8 seconds or less on a photograph of an online listing. And with 90% of buyers searching online, those pictures are important!

This blog is about bad photography. Sorry someone has to do it. It really does amaze me that a Realtor would post pictures as such, let alone their home seller allow it!! Like I said bad photographs are such a shame. Here are some examples from the area that I live in Orange County, NY.

too dark out of focus


This photo obviously is too dark, out of focus and really…too much clutter. Bad photo, such a shame. Kitchens make up 30% of a buyers decision– 1/3 of the decision based on one room, pretty big chunk of real estate weighing on one room. Why would you not want this room of all the rooms in the house to look the best it can in the buyers eyes?

Aside from too dark photographs it is nice to set a stage for the buyer, so they can see themselves in the room.

one purpose room

Is this suppose to be a master bedroom retreat where someone would like to go to relax, get away from the stress of everyday life? Or is it an exercise room? This image is telling me there is not enough space in the house and so it all ends up in the master. Not relaxing, not inviting, not what buyers are looking for in a new home. Bad photograph, such a shame.

The lighting is important in pictures, as by example of these two photographs. Also styling the photograph and paying attention to the little details can make such a difference. I wonder looking at these two photos what else has not been taken care of in the home. When was the last time anything was fixed or repaired that needed attention?? Just saying, bad photographs speak more to buyers than most sellers realize.

If on your house hunting you come across a bad photograph, please share with me!


Advantage of Home Staging

Advantage of Home Staging

Staging and Redesign created an info-graph showing home sellers the monetary advantage of staging a home prior to selling. It shows that IF a seller stages their home before they list it to sell, they will be reducing the time that the house is on the market. By reducing the time on the market the seller ends up saving money and actually making more money by staging first.

Take a lookReal cost of home staging


Not only are there reoccurring carrying costs (heat, electric, water, taxes, mortgage etc) that the seller continues to pay, but a house looses momentum and interest to buyers every month it is on the market. To entice buyers to become interested in a home that has not sold in over 90 days an Agent will suggest a price reduction to energize the listing again.

The cost of staging a home can run from 1% to 3% of the listing price of the home, depending on the condition of the home. On average a seller will see a 6% to 10% return on that investment. Staging will cost less than the first markdown you need to take on your home. 

Take a look for yourself, try out the Home Staging Saving Calculator plug in your numbers and see the difference of not staging a house, vs. having it staged first.


Design Solutions staged homes have averaged 52 days on the market. Staging works and saves sellers money. If you are thinking of putting your home on the market call Design Solutions first. It will save you money and will help you get your home sold!

Still not sure read this article Should I Stage My Home