Why You Should Choose Dark Blues

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Lately, so much attention has been given to light, warm blues (read: aqua and turquoise) in home design, that the use of dark blue has been somewhat ignored.  As much as I love Tiffany blue–which I’ve used in my home–I also have splashes of dark blue around the house.

My sons’ room – wall colors are Honorable Blue and Copper Harbor by sherwin-williams

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If you like bolder, richer colors, dark blue can be a great choice because it works so well with so many other colors, or used with white, it creates a very classic look.

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Even dark blue upholstery can be super gorgeous.  A dark blue sofa is very modern and makes a great focal piece in a mid-century styled space.

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Dark blue is calming and comforting, and it’s associated with dependability, honesty and inner peace.  All very good reasons to use it in your home.

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My dark blue paint picks (from sherwin-williams.com)

Kitchen Color: Dark Tones

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I’m not a fan of kitchens that are overwhelmingly white — white cabinets, walls, countertops, backsplashes, everything.  Some would say this is a ‘clean and classic’ look, but I say this type of decor appears sterile, and lacks the warmth that a kitchen should have (there’s a reason it’s called the ‘heart of the home’).  I like kitchens the way I like my coffee — earthy and dark.

You can still use a white element… say, marble countertops…and achieve a warm feel by mixing them up with darker cabinets.  Using a combination of dark and light cabinets will also work very well.

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Choose a mid to dark-tone stain, like espresso or be bold and paint your cabinets with a high-gloss black. If you still prefer lighter cabinets, go for a warm gray or off-white — as opposed to stark white:

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Your kitchen should feel comfortable and inviting, just like a restaurant.  Ambiance is the key!

Design Concept: A Dazzling Dressing Room

One of my many projects in the past year involved working with an Online Design client who lives in Brooklyn, NY.  Asha contacted me because she needed help turning a small bedroom into a vintage-glam dressing room filled with her favorite colors — fuchsia and red.  The initial color she selected (shown below) just wasn’t right so she halted everything  in hopes that I could get her back on track.

before – too red!

Aside from choosing paint colors, one of the biggest challenges for Asha was editing down the furniture she wanted in the space.  She already had a few beautiful pieces with dark wood finishes, including a vanity she found at an antiques store.  Asha also wanted shelves, and she was considering a sleeper-chair for the space.  But with the room being only about 7 feet wide (the longest wall is 11 feet), something just wouldn’t make the cut.

I began with the color scheme, I selected Razzle Dazzle by Benjamin Moore for the main wall color.  It’s a happy, bold shade of fuchsia.  I also suggested painting the closet a lighter, coordinating hue —  Pure Pink.

Then, because of the room’s small size, my concept included small, open shelves (which provided a pop of red) and a slipper chair–instead of a bulky sleeper-chair.  I also included a few fun, girly things such as the crystal beaded curtain and the damask stencil design.  This is a boudoir, after all.

When I last heard from Asha, she was very happy with the design and appreciated the editing process.  It can be hard to ‘leave out’ special items that you want to see in your space, but in small room, less is more.

NOTE:  Using bold hues in a small space can be tricky!  The color will get amped up because the walls are closer together and they will reflect the color more intensely.  But with the right color tones, the results can be strikingly beautiful.

desigin and computer renderings by Kelly Porter

Christmas Color Preview: Shades of Green


Green has been a wildly popular color this year.  But not just any shade of green.  If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that people–both women and men–are wearing bright, neon greens.

It’s definitely become a trend in the world of sporting apparel, most likely due in part to the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl win earlier this year.  The team refers to their trademark, yellow-green as Action Green.  This bright hue is also referred to as Volt and Hyper Green. There is also a lime-ier, less yellow version of this green (as shown above in the lower right corner).

mixed greens: magnolia leaves and evergreens

These greens are finding their way into our homes and are sure to be very popular this fall and into the holiday season for 2014.  The trend will be to mix them up with darker, traditional Christmas Green.  So, in anticipation, here are design ideas for your holiday table and tree.  Be sure to bookmark or pin them…I know it’s hot outside but Christmas is only 6 months away!

create a fab holiday table with green, brown and retro place settings



use green, gold and white to create an elegant Christmas tree

design and photos by Kelly Porter

Easy Holiday Centerpiece

With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to share an easy centerpiece idea.

All you need is a bunch of tulips and holly sprigs, both of which you can get from your local grocery store this time of year.  For my centerpiece, I clipped the holly from shrubs in my yard.  But you can use any greenery that has a rich shade of emerald.

Typically, yellow is not a color one would associate with the holidays, so that’s what really makes this centerpiece unique.  The bright hue also contrasts against the dark green leaves, creating an eye-catching arrangement.

Considering the days are getting shorter, we could all use a little more sunny yellow in our lives this season.  Flowers do the trick (easily)!