Creating a Color Palette

When it comes to decorating a home, the color palette is one of the very first things that needs to be decided. It can can also be one of the most challenging parts of your home design journey, but it doesn’t have to be! Read below for some easy and helpful tips on creating a color palette for your entire home.

What colors do you like?

When you first start thinking of a color palette, it is easy for your search to become overwhelmed with current trends. However, it is important to focus on colors that you like, not what home design magazines have decided is popular. A great way to really figure out what color combinations you like is to search for inspiration in things around you like nature, photographs, or artwork. This can point to color combinations that you may not have thought of before. Also, a piece of artwork or fabric that you plan on using in a space can serve as a starting point for choosing the rest of the colors.

Yellow and red roses in sunlight, in a colour palette with compl

60-30-10

If you do not know where to begin, an easy rule-of-thumb for creating your color palette is 60-30-10. 60% dominant color – walls, floors or cabinets. 30% secondary color – your furniture, area rugs, and window treatments. 10% accent color – throw pillows and other decorative accents. Deciding on the emotion you want to convey in the room will help you determine where the colors will fall into this rule. If you want a dramatic space, choose a bold color as your dominant and neutrals as your secondary and accent. If  you want soothing, choose a neutral as your dominant and brighter colors as your secondary and accent.

Where to begin in your home?

Once you have decided on a color palette, a great place to start is in the largest and most used room in your home, likely your kitchen or living room. Not only is this where these colors will be seen the most, but there are other rooms directly next to this space making it easier to see your palette develop as you move through the home.  Each room gets different amounts of lighting which makes a big difference on the way the colors are perceived. Take it slow, working one room at a time and one floor at a time.

Test your colors

If you only follow once piece of advice in this post, follow this one! Colors vary drastically when you look at them in a magazine, computer, paint store, and even from wall to wall in the same room. Visit a store and get samples of paint, fabric, and wallcoverings in the colors and patterns you like. Try to pin down a specific color that you love. For example, you want navy blue but is that Hale Navy (Benjamin Moore HC-154) or Van Deusen Blue (Benjamin Moore HC-156)? Take the samples home and hang them in the rooms where you plan to use them. Leave them there for a few days to see how they look throughout the day, it may surprise you how your initial thoughts have changed.

Sunset at Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Mount Desert Island, Maine, US

Remember, the color palette you choose is just a guide. Do not feel that you cannot vary from the colors you have chosen. Go up or down a few shades depending on the room and what you want to achieve in that space. Don’t be afraid to have fun and throw in additional colors or use the same fabric in multiple rooms. Follow your own rules and create a space as you want to live in it.

 

Designing An Office You Will Want To Work in

 

kv-mansfield-office-1

Whether you need a place to run a business, occasionally work from home, or just a spot to pay the bills and organize family life, every home deserves more than just an extra chair and old desk to get some work done in. Creating a space that is comfortable and flows with the rest of the home, all while serving you in the most effective way possible will make for a home office that you will never want to leave.

When designing your office, keep in mind what kind of work will be done in the space. Are you going to have clients stop by for appointments? If so, make sure it is large enough to offer plenty of seating and private enough to keep the daily goings-on of your home from interfering with your work. Are you using it to pay the bills and keep track of busy children’s schedules? Perhaps it is best to keep your office in the thick of family activity.

Elegant home office style (17)
Fresh Home

Consider your work flow when shopping for furniture. What items do you need at your fingertips while working? Keep this in mind and find pieces that are both beautiful and functional. Also, think about the décor of the rest of your home as well when looking for furniture. Allow the style, whether it be traditional, contemporary, or farmhouse flow into your office letting it integrate in as part of your home. This will create a space that is comfortable and unique to you, helping to fight off any bleak Monday morning blues.

Another primary consideration when designing your office is technology. When arranging your furniture think about your computer, printer, phone,Wi-Fi router and their power cords. Strategically placing these items near outlets will prevent a mess of wires running throughout your office and can offer you easy and creative solutions to hide the wires all together.

Personalize your space. Unlike your desk at work, you have real opportunity to design this space as you like. Paint the walls a color you enjoy and decorate with personal accessories like photos or artwork. Face your desk towards a window to give yourself something pleasant to look at when you take a break from the computer screen. Include a sofa or easy chair for relaxation or a small conference table for a change of pace from your desk.

The talented designers at Babel’s would be glad to assist in the design of your home office. Do you have additional tips for designing the perfect office? Share them with us.

Lighten Up Your Home With Springtime Window Treatments

 

Anna Lattimore Interior Design

 

It may seem hard to believe but the first day of spring is only 2 weeks away! We can finally say goodbye to the cold and dark days of winter and let the warm sunshine and cool breezes fill our homes. A simple and fast way to prepare your home for spring is to update your window treatments. Window treatments are a large factor in the the overall design of your home. Time to put away your current cozy and warm treatments and replace them with a light and airy spring alternative.

Traditional Living Room with Hardwood floors, Christopher Knight Home MacArthur Weathered Oak Natural Fabric Arm Chair
Elizabeth Taich Design

Choose your fabric carefully

Consider brighter colors when deciding on fabric choices for your springtime window treatments. Lightweight and sheer fabrics make for great choices to appear light and airy while still letting some sunlight filter through. Opt for a bright Roman Shade or light colored blinds to bring the fresh spring feeling into your home. Coordinate throw pillows or cushions in a similar color and fabric to create a cohesive design with the rest of the room.

Say no to any fabric at all

If you have stunning views that you don’t want to cover up or simply don’t care for the look of fabric window treatments, consider interior shutters. Offering you the privacy you need while still providing you the views you want. Similar to blinds, interior shutters are a beautiful option that allow for easy adjustment of light and privacy.  The minimalism and classic look of interior shutters makes them a versatile option for any interior style.

Be creative

If the calendar says spring but the weather still says winter, consider layering your window treatments.  A sheer fabric layered underneath the dark winter fabrics allows the light to come in while keeping the cold winter temperatures out. Another great option is cafe style curtains, short window treatments that cover the bottom portion of the window. With the top half of the window uncovered, these let in a lot of light while the covered bottom portion reduces glare and offers plenty of privacy.

Window treatments are the perfect way to give your home that fresh spring renewal feeling. Consult with any of the talented designers at Babel’s to learn more about freshening up your home just in time for spring.

 

Barn Doors: A Space Saving Statement Piece

Barn doors are not just for barns anymore. This country farmhouse inspired design has made its way indoors and become a popular piece of interior décor.  A space saving statement piece, these doors offer a decorative yet functional alternative to traditional swinging doors. Similar to pocket doors, these are very popular in small homes or apartments where every square inch of space counts. However, their versatile and unique aesthetic make them popular in any style home.

Rocky Mountain Log Homes, 20 Sliding Barn Door Ideas via A Blissful Nest
These barn doors are a great option to offer privacy in an open loft. (Rocky Mountain Log Homes)

Don’t let the term barn door fool you, while this style of door did earn its name from the typical sliding doors found on a barn, the interior doors are available in a wide variety of styles.  Whether you decide on classic reclaimed wood, stainless steel, or a frosted glass style, these doors add character to any space. Barn doors can be designed to slide open to one side or slide apart as a space saving version of French doors.

The frosted glass of these doors allows light through while still hiding the laundry room from sight. (VanBrouck & Associates)

Unlike pocket doors, barn doors are hung with their hardware outside of the door frame. This makes them easier and more cost effective to install. Additionally, pocket doors are meant to be hidden when opened, contrary to barn doors which take up a significant amount of wall space when open.  It is important to keep in mind that since barn doors are hung outside the door frame, the door is meant to glide in front of the drywall. This means that there will typically be a small gap between the door and the wall when the door is closed, preventing complete privacy.

Barn Doors - Sebring Services
The sliding barn door here is a great way to hide clothes from view where a standard swinging door may not fit. (Murphy & Co.)

As one of the most sought after features in any style home, these doors usually act as the focal point for design.  Typically chosen in a material or style that stands out compared to the rest of the space, these doors are at the heart of the design of a space. These doors also make great additions to entryways where a door may not be necessary. The visual interest that is added when the door is installed can double as wall art and complete the space in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

The office and living room in this home flow seamlessly with each other. The addition of the barn doors creates interest and allows for privacy in the office when needed. (Weaver Custom Homes)

If you are thinking about adding a barn door to your space, consult one of the talented designers at Babel’s to find the right one to suit your style. Do you already have a barn door? Share a photo with us!

Using Mood Boards for Interior Design

If you want to make a physical moodboard, get swatches from fabric and paint stores.
VonHaus Interior Design

If you ask a designer about their design process, the term “mood board” is more than likely going to come up in conversation. Gathering samples and putting them together to present to their client is a process that designers have been going through for many years. However, these boards are a great tool for homeowners to use as well. Creating a mood board, or inspiration board, is useful to curate ideas for a space and is a fun way to become excited about the design process. Your designer will use your finished product to develop a clear picture of your style and what you are looking for.

Interior Style Hunter

How to Begin Your Mood Board

A fun and unique way to approach mood boards is like an adult scrapbook. A good starting point can be a color scheme or interior design style that you like, such as “navy and yellow” or “industrial lofts”.  Starting with this in mind, begin by looking through magazines and tearing out photos that inspire you or by saving photos from your favorite interior design websites.  Browse fabric and wallpaper books for patterns and colors that you like. Often the manufacturer will ship you small samples for free. The samples are great ways to incorporate texture to your board, a key feature that will be missing if you only use magazine and printed photos.

Caitlin Wilson Design

What kind of photos to use

The kinds of photos that you put on your mood board will depend on where you are in the design process. If the redesign of your space will be happening right away, focus your board to pieces that are practical for your space. For example, if you are designing a room that has a piece of furniture that must stay, like a bed or dining room table, take a photo of it and put it on your mood board. This way you can build your design around the existing pieces and see how new colors, patterns, and textures will coordinate.

Remodelaholic

If you are just beginning to gather ideas for your design, you do not need to limit yourself to interior design photos. Find anything that inspires you and put it on your mood board. Whether it be a photo of a dress from your favorite designer or a photo you took on your vacation, these images begin to point out subtle themes that can translate to interior design. For example, perhaps the reason you like the photo of the dress is because you like the softness and flow of the fabric, not because you want to wear it to dinner on Friday night. The recurring themes in these inspiration photos can guide your design direction and help to uncover new color palettes and your design style.

Creatively Daring - San Francisco Love letter
creatively-daring

What about digital boards

Websites like Pinterest and Houzz capitalized on the idea of mood boards by creating an easy to use platform for people to save images that inspire them. However, it is very easy to become carried away, saving hundreds or even thousands of photos to one board. This can cause the board to lose direction and no longer provide practical inspiration for a space. To prevent this, print the photos you like from these websites and attach them to a physical board. If you prefer a digital board, copy and paste to a blank Word document. Limiting yourself to just the space of the board forces you to narrow down your choices and helps to focus your design.

Interior design mood board
Livinator

 

Keep in mind that items you like in the photos on your board may not be available to you. Many high end interior design items are custom and you may not be able to find the exact same piece. Also even if you can find the exact same piece, it may not fit within your budget. It is important to use these boards as inspiration, not a shopping list. This will help to avoid any disappointment when you begin shopping for your space.

Have you completed a mood board for your space? Share it with us, we would love to see what inspires you!

Designing a Gender-Neutral Nursery

Designing a Gender Neutral Nursery
The Land of Nod

You know the rules: pink is for girls and blue is for boys. According to today’s decorating standards, this rule is outdated and limited. As these traditions change, neutral sophistication is becoming more popular in nursery design. With many conventional decorating options still leaning towards traditional, gender-based decor, neutral nurseries can seem difficult to design. However, your options stretch far beyond yellow and gray, Don’t become discouraged, become inspired!

Traditional by Decorating Den Interiors- Corporate Headquarters
Decorating Den Interiors

Start with your color palette

A palette of gray or beige creates a relaxed space that can be customized over time. A neutral wall color is a great rule of thumb when it comes to decorating any space, but is especially important when designing a gender-neutral nursery. This allows you to start incorporating themes and other colors once the baby is born.

Transitional Nursery by Interior Motives
Interior Motives

If a totally gray nursery is too basic for your tastes, don’t be afraid to add color or patterns. The use of color is what helps to differentiate a child’s room from any other room in your home. Painting an accent wall or adding a fun and playful wallpaper are great ways to add visual interest to the space.

Transitional Nursery by Beckwith Interiors
Beckwith Interiors

Less is more

If you want to incorporate a theme, a few key pieces are all a room needs to appear cohesive. Geometrics, animals, and under-the-sea themes are very popular in gender neutral design. Resist the urge to stencil a Pinterest-worthy, intricate jungle scene on the wall. Rather, incorporate the theme with small touches through accessories. Bedding, throw pillows, blankets, and a few decorative elements are great ways to introduce a theme. This also allows you to swap themes as your child grows and their interests change.

Wayfair

 Choose function over fashion

Adaptability is a desirable feature for any child’s space. For many new parents it can seem like it only took a few months for their newborn to grow into a toddler. When the new baby arrives, the once very important design of the nursery becomes an afterthought. A design that is able to grow with your child eliminates headaches that your future, child-chasing self will thank you for.

Wayfair

You and your baby will be spending a lot of time in the nursery, making it essential to choose pieces that work well and are comfortable. Choose your furniture wisely, do you really need a separate changing table or can you utilize the top of a dresser that will last well beyond the diaper years? Additionally, some cribs are made to transform into a twin size bed, eliminating the need to shop for a big-kid bed when the time comes. Purchasing a gliding chair in a neutral pattern and using simple wicker baskets for organization make these easy to re-purpose in other parts of your home when they are no longer needed for your baby.

Philosophy Design

 

There are plenty of options for gender neutral design and following these tips will help you create a serene yet playful nursery. If you are still looking for ideas, the talented designers at Babel’s would be happy to give you even more tips and advice for creating the perfect nursery to grow with the newest addition to your family.

Five Design Ideas to Beat the Winter Blues

Traditional Landscape by James Martin Associates

By this time of year, the winter seems endless. The snow has lost its cozy appeal and our favorite hat has gone from cute to snow-soaked. With shorter, colder, and snowier days we often find ourselves trapped indoors. It is easy to become tired of the décor around us and become desperate for a change. Instead of cursing the snow and the cold, be inspired by these five home design ideas that will put you in a warm weather state of mind.

1. Embrace Outdoor Living 

Award Winning Alpine Chalet
Photo by Nicole O’Mara Design

In a list of design ideas to put you in a warm weather state of mind, embracing the outdoors may seem like a crazy concept. However, rather than letting your outdoor space become barren in the winter, decorate for the cold. Whether it is a fire pit, a balcony, or covered patio, decorating to embrace the winter will help you get year round use out of the space. Envision yourself toasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate at a luxe ski chalet when designing your winter outdoor space. The proper use of candles, blankets, furs, and pillows will transport you from the slushy suburbs to the fluffy, snow covered Rockies.

Patio Terrace Summer Evening
Photo by Susie Watson Design

2. Hanging Chairs

Surf Shack
Photo by Andrew Howard Interior Design

Hammocks and hanging chairs are the ultimate in outdoor relaxation. While these comfortable seats began as outdoor pieces, they are gaining popularity in indoor spaces as well.  Not only do these hanging chairs offer comfort and relaxation, they are also available in a wide variety of materials, styles, and colors making them a versatile statement piece. A great way to bring the outdoors inside, set it in your living room or bedroom and enjoy the comfort and functionality of this fun piece.

Contemporary Pool by Charline Lancel

3. Decorate with bright Colors 

Windsor Road Residence - Austin, TX
Photo by Martha O’Hara Interiors
                       

Brighten up the interior of your home by decorating with pinks, yellows, and oranges. Pillows, cushions, or other accessories are easy ways to bring a cheerful mood to any space. Since they are simply accessories they can be changed out as your tastes, desires, and the seasons change. Consider incorporating bright and warm colors in unexpected areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Use bright dishes, hand towels, or place mats for a small pop of color to turn the winter blues around.

Master Bedroom2
Photo by Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

4. Incorporate Flora and Fauna 

Oceanfront, Laguna Beach, CA
Photo by Abodewell Interior Design

Plants add a subtle sophistication to any room and in the winter they can serve as reminder of what is to come in the spring. Succulents are a great option due to their hardy nature. Additionally, their interesting shapes and colors can also lend themselves to the visual interest and depth of the design of a room. Consider the pots or containers you are using as well. Unique and brightly colored pots are also a great way to bring in those summer colors as mentioned before. An indoor herb garden in the kitchen or simply bringing in new flowers from the florist are other low maintenance options to bring freshness and life into any space.

Midway House
Photo by Studio McGee

5. Winterize Your Screened-In Porch

Sun Room in Winter
Photo by Whitten Architects

A screened in porch is typically thought of as a three season space. A relaxing refuge in the spring, summer, and fall goes without use in the winter. Replace the screens with glass to protect from the elements and install a wood-burning stove or fireplace to provide warmth.   Whether you use the porch for mid-day naps, dining alfresco, or as a place to enjoy the falling snow and a book, small steps can make the coziness of the porch last all four seasons.

Contemporary Porch
Photo by Lawrence Architecture
Although the outdoors may be snow covered and cold for a little while longer, following these easy home design ideas will help keep that end-of-winter-blah feeling at bay. Do you have other tips to bring energy and life back into your home? Share your ideas in the comments!