Category Archives: Painted Spaces

Design Concept: A Dazzling Dressing Room

dressing room 2

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!

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.

dressing room design board

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.

dressing room 5

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.

dressing room design

dressing room 4

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

Ideas For ‘Picture Frame’ Wainscoting


When I meet with clients for color consultations, I’m often asked to give painting ideas for walls that feature chair rails or wainscoting — namely ‘picture frames,’ which are a series of ‘shadow’ boxes created with narrow strips of molding.

Ah, the joys of molding!  We love how it adds character and architectural interest to a space, but at the same time, when it’s time to paint, we are sometimes left baffled.  I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong way to paint walls that feature picture frames. Your decision really depends upon the mood you want to create.  For example, if you want a dramatic, lively space, paint the inside of the picture frames using a color that contrasts with the rest of the wall.  Picture frames naturally lend themselves to color, so it’s a great opportunity to add interest to your room.

Picture 8

Or, instead of painting, consider using a beautifully patterned wallpaper; it will turn your walls into a work of art and create an instant focal point {love this idea!}:



However, if you’re going for a clean, contemporary look, you can paint the wall and all of the molding with the same color.  The result will be a more subtle, understated space.  You’ll still have architectural interest but the picture frames now become the backdrop as opposed to the main feature.  This is a great choice if you want a serene space or if you choose to put the focus on your furnishings.




If a traditional space is what you have in mind, use a singe color on the wall and paint the picture frames a crisp white.  You can use two wall colors if you have a chair rail {one color above the chair rail and another one below it}, but make sure you’ve painted inside the picture frames using the wall color that directly surrounds them.   This is a classic look that puts the emphasis on your molding, and provides tons of architectural interest:

after dining room


Picture 3

In a traditional or cottage style, you’ll often see white wainscoting on the bottom portion of a wall, while the top half of the wall is painted a different color.  While not my favorite choice, a white wainscoting does bring a light and airy feel to a room.  Again, there really is no right or wrong way to approach picture frame wainscoting.  You don’t have to go color crazy because the molding is already a feature.  Just determine the style and mood you want to create, and go for it!

{Click on each picture to see its link.}

For more trim, molding and color scheme ideas, see Ideas For Painting Your Trim.

C’mon Get Happy {With Yellow}

yellow headboard

It never fails.  This time of year, I start dreaming of yellow.  Don’t get me wrong.  I actually like winter {minus the short days}.  I love snow and I enjoy snuggling up by the fire, but I also look forward to the first signs of spring which always come in the form of yellow — early spring flowers and more sunlight.  So, whether it’s a room with yellow paint, fabric, or accessories just seeing a touch of this cheerful color can help bring spring a little closer…and add some happy to your home.  Photo from

yellow bathroom


yellow stylesdecor


yellow shelves


yellow dresser


yellow room stylesdecor2


yellow sofa




Online Design: Working With Yellow Walls

yellow walls design board by kelly porter

If you’ve ever bought a new home or remodeled one, then you may have had this dilemma:

  • You have no furniture for the room, so you decide to paint first.
  • You select a great color and have the room painted.
  • You love the color, but now you’re stuck…
  • You don’t know what furniture pieces to get, and you don’t want to make a mistake.

Sound familiar?  This is exactly what happened with one of my recent clients Vendell, who lives in Detroit.  When she contacted me, she had just painted her living room/dining room with Melted Butter by Behr, a warm, welcoming and vibrant shade of yellow.  Vendell’s home is older and has tons of character, but she wanted a more contemporary look that would fit her young family.  This post features the DIY Design Plan that I created for her.

color scheme by kelly porter


Aside from glam gray, black and white, this design also introduces green, which is a color that Vendell likes when it’s paired with yellow.  The Chester Sofa is from, the Bailey Chairs are from, and the Aggie Beaded Lamps are from


Vendell also wanted ideas for accessories.  Among the ideas shown above, I suggested that she purchase dinner and salad plates from the Labyrinth dinnerware collection to hang as a group in the dining room.

living rm

{this is now a room with a plan!}

Vendell was so excited about her DIY Design Plan but she was even more relieved to finally have a starting point and strategy.  If your room needs fresh colors or a new look for the new year, email me at to find out how I can help!

I Heart Pink

Today I’m cheating on my favorite color — purple — to love on pink.  I’m attracted to pink because it kind of has a split personality… just like many of us creative types.  It is both innocent and sexy; childish and sophisticated.  {The photo above features a decal from}


Soft pinks make a room feel romantic and formal while vibrant pinks work perfectly in girls’ bedrooms — especially when used with green and/or blue.


Pink and white together look classic and elegant, and it’s another great color duo for a girl’s room because your daughter can grow with it:

{little maison}

Adding pink to your color scheme will always add an interesting spark to your space, especially when it’s used outside of the bedroom which is very unexpected:


{source unknown}

{Pinkish-mauve is very chic!  Photo by}

Other cool combos to try are Pink and Orange for a global glam look…


  …and Pink and Brown for a retro feel.


I believe that pink is meant to be used in creative ways, so whether you paint a room pink or only use pink accessories, be bold and make it fun.