Last night I was working with the TV on.  I do that when I work late at night - mostly for noise, or the companionship of noise.  I had the TV tuned to HGTV and I wasn't really paying attention.  House hunting somewhere I didn't want to live, or something like that...but then, Genevieve Gorder came on doing a NYC apartment renovation - her own apartment...and that caught my attention.

I've always liked watching Genevieve.  I was curious to see what she would do in her own home with her own budget, and she did some pretty cool things - and some weird ones.  This episode was on her kitchen/dining area - in white because it was in the middle of the New York brownstone and had no windows for natural light.  She thinks outside of the box a little, which is fun. She has 12 foot ceilings (ceiling envy big time) and a girl after my own heart as she took those kitchen cabinets all the way to the top... and then added a rolling library ladder to reach them.  Sweet.

One thing she did really well was pull the same touches throughout the space.  The room was basically white, but she had a red woven rope on the backs of her bar stools, and repeated that red in the tablecloth (family heirloom) and again with accents and accessories in the dining area.  It wasn't a whole lot of color, but it was just enough, repeated, to marry these areas together.  Creating flow.

When you are decorating your home, bear that in mind.  Repeat the same colors, in different variations and frequencies, throughout your rooms.  Pull the palette through.  It creates unity.  Flow.  Marriage. Whatever you want to call it - it makes sense and makes the rooms 'feel' like they belong together.

And check out HGTV - Genevieve's Renovation.  (It's older because I was watching reruns!)

-------------------------QUESTIONS FROM READERS-------------------------

Hi Claudine!
I just came across your website and blog and thought I could really use some of your great advice :)
This is our front room.  Excuse the clutter.... It's my music room, (hence the piano and cello), and it's also been used as a kids' room (hence the bassinet, the pram and the mess).  It's meant to be a warm, retro-style, cozy retreat for reading and having a nightcap after the kids have gone to bed.  At some stage I also intend to bring in a desk so that I can use it as a study as well.  To try and achieve my look I started bringing in the brown curtains, vintage suitcases etc to give it a cozy retro feel.
But then I got stumped.  The rug didn't seem to match with the couch or basically with anything; the curtains didn't seem right and no matter what pictures I put up on the walls it just didn't seem to all tie together.  I think the problem is that I don't have a consistent palette of colours.  I have burgundy red, peach, dark grey, brown, cream, black, blue, yellow and timber all in the one room!  But I'm having trouble figuring out what to change.  I'm pretty sure that I need to replace the rug, as it seems really hard to find anything that goes well with it.  

The paintwork is old and I definitely intend to paint the room - so I need to select a colour palette.  My question is - what colour scheme should I aim for in this room, to make it all look more tied together?  If I can pick a colour scheme and stick to it, then I can work out whether I need to replace the rug...or the couch....or the wall art...or all of the above.  

The less I have to replace, the better!
Kind regards
K. J. 
Adelaide, South Australia

Dear K.J.
I'm sorry for the long delay in replying - when work gets busy, I can't spend as much time answering questions.  You may have already solved your problem, but others may find this useful, so I will still answer.  

You nailed the problem.  The solution should be relatively easy as well.  You need a color palette. 

I'm thinking that the sofa may be the most expensive to replace - so lets pull the palette from there so that you won't need to.  It appears to be a soft grey or light blue/grey (I'm assuming blue).  I would paint your walls a shade of light grey, bring in some fresh white for baseboards and trim and then decide what you want to use as your second color (a compliment to the light blue/grey). 

In a small room such as this, I would stay away from strong contrasting colors in your large pieces - so I would replace the rug with a sisal or woven rug in a lighter color.  A natural sisal would blend more with the floor.  A soft colored pattern rug should extend the sofa's color palette.

The dark brown curtains are a little dark for this room, because the strong contrast breaks the room up and causes it to feel smaller.  Lighter colors for your window treatment are better.  The rest of the palette is really up to you.  Choose a color you like that looks nice with the sofa colors.   I would use lighter softer colors for the walls, rug and fabrics - and make sure you have a good smattering of white in the fabrics and/or accessories to keep it fresh.  Bring in stronger more vibrant colors in your accessories, pillows and decorations.  Your artwork is perfectly fine and will look great with the neutral background.  Best of luck!


I painted my kitchen red geranium.  But I'm having a very hard time on finding a color for the living room. There is a countertop that divides the kitchen in the living room. I really like beige but I don't know what shade of beige will go with or even will look good. Please, please help.

JOJO Daniel

You made a very bold choice for your kitchen color!  You must love red!  My husband has the same preference - red is his very favorite color.  It can be a difficult color to work with though, and my best advice to you is to stay away from the 'warm' or 'hot' colors for the living room (except in accessories or fabrics), so that your home doesn't feel too warm.  

That may seem odd, but warm colors tend to move toward you, making a room feel smaller and cool colors recede making it feel more spacious. Too many warm tones can have an overwhelming effect. Cooler colors that work with red are grayed down tones.  You like beige, and there are some very beautiful beiges with gray undertones, so they are on the cool side instead of the warm.  I've included a few pictures of rooms with red accents that would blend well with your red kitchen.








Hi, can you please tell me what paint color is used in this picture from your blog?
I have light gray chenille sofa with a brown leather arm chair, and a cow-hide rug over a sisal. I have Puritan gray in my dining room which opens to this room and I have gray owl in my kitchen. Thank you.  -Mary 

I believe the color to be Benjamin Moore HORIZON GRAY..  It has a hint of green in there which softens the gray-blue.  Good luck!



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