Creative Cafe // Artist Pamela Copeman

Carmen NatschkeArtful Consideration

Pamela Copeman artwork. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Today, the enchanting and talented artist and interior designer Pamela Copeman joins us in the Creative Cafe to discuss her passion for art, what inspires her and her life-long dedication to creating things of beauty.

pam studio collage

Pamela Copeman and her art studio at home.

I am inspired by books, movies, theater, and I also find great inspiration from television shows, especially period pieces such as Downton Abbey and Mad Men. Whether it is the grand sets of Downtown or Joan’s dresses on Mad Men, I find these carefully constructed worlds inspire me especially when I paint interiors and fashion. I am also inspired by my travels. Whether to Guatemala or to Europe or even Las Vegas, I find different cultures and surroundings offer so much ‘eye candy’ and visual stimulation. I have always believed that inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look for it, and I love translating these influences and energy into my paintings.

"Dreaming of May Flowers" by Pamela Copeman. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

“Dreaming of May Flowers” by Pamela Copeman.

I see creating art as a way of communicating in a deeper language that words cannot always offer. It is an escape when the world creeps in too far. I am able to express myself through my art, whether it is mixed media, watercolor or oil paints.  Art has become as extension of who I am.

Art attracts me because I can create something that is totally original. Even if I’m referencing an image or photo, I am painting something that I envision, something from my mind’s eye. This is a different type of creativity than I use in my Interior Design work. With design work, I collaborate with my clients to create a space that reflects them. In my studio, it is just me. When I paint, I find myself in a near meditative state, in quiet pursuit of laying paint to stimulate in the viewer an emotion or a memory.

"The Gown" series by Pamela Copeman. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

“The Gown” series by Pamela Copeman.

If not pursuing artI would love to be an actress (I majored in Speech & Drama in college), particularly in a drama or a musical. There is something very safe for me when I take on a role. My mother raised me and my four sisters on fairy tales and I don’t think I have ever outgrown make-believe!

Being an artist and creating art is something that gives my soul flight…it fills my heart with wonder and joy. Art makes every day special and filled with color. Art elevates my view of the world and other cultures.

Cover of Carol Marine's art book "Daily Painting." | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Cover of Carol Marine’s art book “Daily Painting.”

The most recent art-related book I’ve read and would recommend is the novel “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt.  I adored the premise and the beginning of the 771 page book.   However, for me, there were so many twists and turns accompanied by an ending that I found absurd, that I ended up being disappointed.  I do still love the painting The Goldfinch that is on display at the Frick Museum in New York City.

As far as an art book, I have just received Carol Marine’s book “Daily Painting.” I have studied with Carol and love her painting style and her! This book is very academic and illustrative, it follows some of the exercises of her classes. I strongly recommend this book for all painters – it is visually appealing and highlights other artists as well.

Still life "CarolAnn's Blue Bottles" by Pamela Copeman. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Still life “CarolAnn’s Blue Bottles” by Pamela Copeman.

The most challenging artistic project I’ve undertaken was two Christmas commissions for the sisters–in–law of a dear friend. I was flattered and determined to do a great job. I was asked to paint a home in Spain from a poor quality photo – with poor light to boot. The home itself was challenging with an intricate architecture featuring multiple peaks and chimneys. The other painting was of a street in Italy.  This one should not have been as difficult because I have traveled to Italy.  Again though there were issues ~ the photo was taken from a poor vantage point and she wanted a particular restaurant awning in view. I labored over these and probably made about $1 an hour after all the time spent sketching, researching, and re-painting. I was petrified that one sisters-in-law’s painting would be better than the other and my friend would be alienated forever based on my skill. The pressure!!

I started these challenging paintings by sketching first and then did an image search for similar photos to help me with the shading etc. The end result was that when I met both of these sisters-in-law a couple of years later they both mentioned how much they loved their paintings. The icing on the cake was when my friend told me the paintings were one of her favorite gifts to give that year.

"Twin Nest" by Pamela Copeman. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

“Twin Nest” by Pamela Copeman.

My creative endeavors have led me to travel to workshops in several international locations. Many years ago I was gifted with the opportunity to travel to Mexico and study with artist Page Pearson Railsback.  At the time was a new painter and I was very insecure about my artistic skills. Additionally, I had never traveled alone outside this country.  It ended up being perhaps the best present I have ever received.   I learned so much not only about the process of painting from a gifted artist, but also about the beauty and kindness of Puerto Vallarta and about myself and my ability to manage multiple flight connections – which made me a much more confident traveler and woman.

I continue to take the opportunity travel whenever I can ~ even when revisiting a place there is always something new to see or learn.  When I traveled to Tuscany this fall, I painted everyday with watercolor. It was a new and challenging medium for me but so much more portable than oil paints.  I loved the ease of watercolors and being able to paint everyday.  

My favorite place that art has taken me is into a group of talented local artists known collectively as Girls Just Wanna Paint. I was beyond thrilled when they invited me to join four years ago. Each month one of the member artists selects a challenge for us to paint. For example, December’s challenge was Celebration. We then post our paintings online at Girls Just Wanna Paint. Early in the month we meet to socialize and critique one another’s work. Not only have I grown so much artistically, I have developed a new circle of friends whom I admire and love so much.

The project I dream about creating someday would be to curate and design an exhibit of my paintings in a gallery or library. The title would be “A Few of My Favorite Things.” I have often been asked what my genre is in terns of my art. I answer that I am still developing my favorite “thing” to paint. There are so many subjects and different mediums that catch my attention that it’s hard for me to narrow what I paint to one genre. In my show I would include still life, faces, gowns, of course beautiful interiors. I would also love to create a fabric and wall covering line!

"Tuscany Clothes" by Pamela Copeman. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

“Tuscany Clothes” by Pamela Copeman.

My advice to those who feel the call to pursue their creative dreams is that there is no time like the present to set goals for 2016. If you have the desire to create, there is usually a need in your soul to do so. Start with a local class and get your feet wet. Be aware that there is a learning curve when taking on any new skill and you just like anything else, you have to do the work. I have studied hard to be an artist and in return art  has given so much back to me…on so many levels.

Connect with Pamela Online

Website: Pamela Copeman
Blog: Posh Palettes

Twitter: @pamelacopeman
Instagram: @pamelacopeman
Pinterest: @pamelacopeman
Facebook: Pamela Copeman Design Group

Paris Apartment Style: 3 Chic Decoration Inspiration Boards & 5 French Home Styling Tips

Carmen NatschkeDecorating Diva U, Style Sketch

Tres Chic light & airy library in Parisian Apartment Style. | The Decorating Diva, LLC


Parisian Apartment Moodboard Inspiration & Visualization

Is your design dream to own a Parisian apartment decorated in that “je ne sais quoi” effortlessly chic and infinitely elegant French style? Well, you’re not alone. Thousands of decorating divas the world over swoon over the dreamy possibility of owning a glamorous Parisian home with views of the Eiffel Tower and the famous tree-lined boulevards that lend their verdant charm to the City of Lights.

But if  buying a Parisian apartment isn’t in the cards for this year, you can still experience the splendid style of Parisian decoration by updating your current home’s interior- either as a whole house project or a smaller project you can decorate room-by-room as budget and time allow.  And that’s what I’m doing. I’m in the planning phase of redecorating a space in my home and have created three interior visualization boards to capture the styles I favor. My take on those French inspired styles are Mid-Century Magnifique, Charmingly Coquette and Artfully Deco – all featuring exquisite furnishings from French Heritage ( Join me on a fabulous tour through their High Point furniture showroom, here.)  Then once you’ve found which board best suits your signature style, scroll on down for a round-up of 5 decor secrets for styling your home with the posh panache the French are known for.

A quick disclosure here before we begin. French Heritage is a Decorating Diva content sponsor – allowing me, through their generosity and financial support, to bring educational and inspiring decorating and design materials to our readers at no cost to you.

Mid-Century Magnifique

Mid Century Modern Parisian home style. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

 Furniture & Decor Resources: Jonathan Adler “Meurice” Chandelier 654 – Robert Abbey,  “Ancient Cosmos” artwork by Gloria Graham Sollecito, “Sebastian” Sofa – French Heritage, “Iven” Chest – French Heritage, “Bruno” Chair- French Heritage, “Avignon” by Voyager in Amber Canyon – Carpet One Floor & Home , Leopard print “Voltaire” Chair – French Heritage, and “Poiroux” Round Side Table- French Heritage.

Charmingly Coquette

Romantic Flair Parisian Style Decorating at Home. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Furniture & Decor Resources: “Savoy” Vitrine – French Heritage, Empire Form Italian Chandelier with Amethyst Colored Accent Crystals – The High Boy, “Prunus” Handmade and Hand-painted Wall Covering – Fromental, “Seated Woman” by Carl Erickson for Conde Nast – Soicher Marin,  “Geneva” Set Of Two Nesting Table – French Heritage, “Vincent” Occasional Bergere Chair in a Sophisticated Shade of Pink – French Heritage,  “Rochelle” Butterfly Console – French Heritage, “Eloise” Arm Chair – French Heritage, and Vintage Reclaimed Wood Parquet Flooring.

Artfully Deco

Modern Deco Parisian apartment chic at home. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Furniture & Decor Resources:  Garland 2 Light Distressed Twilight Sconce – Crystorama, “Trocadero” Love Seat – French Heritage, Small Figure Series #6″ – Kerry Steele,  Nola Campbell’s “Koyukoyu” Ink on Paper Painting – 1st Dibs, “Avrille” Sideboard – French Heritage,  “Babette” Arm Chair – French Heritage, “Emilie” Square End Table, “Mirage” Rug in Black – Safavieh, and “Sorrell” Caned Side Chair – French Heritage.

Parisian Apartment Interior Styling Secrets

1. Mix it Up: Eschew matchy-match and cookie-cutter boring furniture suites, and follow professional designers’ lead and blend decor and furniture from different periods and styles.  Doing so will create an interior that looks collected over time and exudes a classic timeless allure that will better withstand the test of time and fickle home fashion fads.  To avoid a disjointed look when combining modern, contemporary and classic styles, use color to tie all the disparate pieces into a chic interior style collaboration – as illustrated in the photo below.

French style bedroom design. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

French Heritage furniture and decor: “Maraise” Arm Chair, “Gervais” Mirror, “Passy” Bombe Chest and Eastern Wing Bed, and “Siezeime” Chest.

2. Sumptuous Sophistication: Don’t be afraid to to add gilded glamour or opulent decor to the space, but do be mindful of editing the interior to maintain balance – as there is a fine line between sophisticated splendor and over-the-top brash decorating. Done right it will look like the room featured in the photo below.

Gilded glamour in Parisian interior design. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

French Heritage furniture and decor: Louis XV Mirror and Auteuil Chaise.

3.White and Airy: Opt for a creamy, warm white or neutral tone on the walls and flood the space with gorgeous natural light.

4.  Gallery and Glitz: Art completes the home, so indulge in an artful gallery wall or place eye-catching sculptures throughout the space. Introduce shimmering elegance with crystal draped chandeliers or jewel-tone upholstered furniture, drapes or rugs.

5.  Get Focused:  Create maximum impact with an architectural or design focal point that captivates the attention and interest of visitors to your home. In this example, the French heritage wall unit library serves as the perfect room focal point and offers tons of storage and display space.

Tres Chic light & airy library in Parisian Apartment Style. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

French Heritage furniture and decor: “Bercy” Classic Wall Library Unit, “Colette” Coffee Table, “Sebastian” Sofa, “Colette” End Table, and “Barnard” Chair.

Disclosure:  All opinions expressed in this post are all my own.  This is a sponsored post/branded content for French Heritage. We appreciate the generous sponsorship of design brands that support the Decorating Diva blog and make it possible for me to bring you, our wonderful readers,  excellent design and lifestyle articles throughout the year.

8 Beautiful, Bejeweled Color Schemes for Holiday Home Decorating

Carmen NatschkeDesign the Holidays

Modern Royalty: Blue & Gold Holiday Color Inspired by Dior

Blue and gold Christmas home decorating color scheme inspired by Christian Dior's 1960s' blue and gold Cabochon glass brooch (available at John Lewis). Holiday home decor resources: Marchesa Empire Pearl Indigo dinnerware by Lenox; Arte Dona's St. Louis Thistle Gold Wine glasses; Alexa Hampton's beautiful Sasha side table at Hickory Chair; Hickory Chair's bBlue and gray Jen sofa upholstered in Hable Construction's blue jacquard 3508-35; Andromeda Ocean Blue chandelier from Murano Art Glass Australia; Navy blue Victorian style ornaments from Melrose; Antique gold ball drop tree ornament from Vickerman; and elegant classic white Christmas tree from Balsam Hill.Blue and gold Christmas home decorating color scheme inspired by Christian Dior’s 1960s’  blue and gold Cabochon glass brooch (available at John Lewis).  Holiday home decor resources: Marchesa Empire Pearl Indigo dinnerware by Lenox; Arte Dona’s St. Louis Thistle Gold Wine glasses; Alexa Hampton’s beautiful Sasha side table at Hickory Chair; Hickory Chair’s Blue and gray Jen sofa upholstered in Hable Construction’s blue jacquard 3508-35; Andromeda Ocean Blue chandelier from Murano Art Glass Australia; Navy blue Victorian style ornaments from Melrose; Antique gold ball drop tree ornament from Vickerman; and elegant classic white Christmas tree from Balsam Hill.

Graceful in Blue & Gold: Christmas Color Décor Inspired by Pierre Sterle Brooch

Holiday home decorating inspired by blue and gold brooch designed by Pierre Sterle. | The Decorating Diva, LLCElegant and sublime holiday color scheme influenced by a stunning blue and gold brooch with amethyst accents designed by Pierre Sterle. Look Book Design Elements: Sophisticated and femininely tailored dinnerware from Royal Limoges Azure Blue Corelle collection,  Antique brass chandelier from Crystorama, Gold and Silver clear glass Christmas ornament from Bronners, Sky Blue Christmas tree from Treetopia, and Choate Dining table in gold-edged wood by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair.

Pink Sapphire & Gold Holiday Décor & Style Inspired by Harry Winston Ring

Christmas pink and white color scheme inspired by Padparadha sapphire ring from Harry Winston. | The Decorating Diva, LLCPink and gold holiday decorating color scheme inspired by Padparadscha (Sunset) Sapphire and Diamond ring by Harry Winston. Decor: Versace for Rosenthal Butterfly dinnerware; French 1940s style beaded crystal and gilt metal palm design 2- tier chandelier from Newel; Pink Jynell chair by Councill; John-Richard’s Boston Accent Table; Kastehelmi Dessert bowl from Northen Icon;  Sunset Taffy glass ornament by Glass Eye Studio (available via Made in Washington) and Balsam Hill’s classic white Christmas Tree.

Fresh,Modern Holiday Decor: Aqua, Turquoise & Coral Color Scheme Inspired Ayana

Twist on Holiday Color Tradition: Aqua, Turqouise, White and Gold Christmas Decor for the Home. | The Decorating Diva, LLCChristmas holiday color and style moodboard inspired by Ayana Design’s Coral and Turquoise drop earrings.  Home Decor Resources: Coral frosted glass goblets at One Rusty Nail (Etsy); Anna’s Palette Aqua Green dinnerware by Anna Weatherley at Michael C. Fina; Floral Impressions Aqua III picture from Chelsea House; Charm Chair in Nanjing Coral from CR Laine; Classic Gilt Banded table lamp by Lisa Kahn for Chelsea House; Teal blue and white blue glass ornaments from Glass Ornaments; and Classic white Christmas tree from Balsam Hill.

Holiday Sophistication: Purple & Gold Décor Inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels’ Necklace

Purple and gold Christmas home decor color palette inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels' Botticelli amethyst necklace. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Passionate holiday sophistication on display with a color palette of purples and golds inspired by the ravishing, and beautiful amethyst and diamond Botticelli necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels.  Look Book Design Elements:  Faience Mures dinnerware, Paramour chandelier from Currey & Co., Clear iridescent Christmas ball ornament from Frontgate, Purple Peacock chair from Dror Studio,  antiqued gold Love Knot side table from the Lisa Kahn collection for Chelsea House and purple Christmas tree.

Gilded Living: Silver & Gold Holiday Décor Inspired by Yellow Sapphire Diamond Brooch

Gold, silver and white holiday decor and color inspired by Pierre Sterle yellow sapphire and diamond brooch. | The Decorating Diva, LLCGold and silver Christmas colors inspired by Pierre Sterle’s yellow sapphire and diamond brooch. Decor Resources: Z Gallerie’s Montecito stemware; Auratus gold trimmed porcelain dinnerware by Porcel; Silver leaf screen “The Forest Glade’ by Theodore Alexander; Glamorous golden Taylor Scott Author chair at Layla Grayce; 1st Dibs’ exquisite mid-century Italian glass, brass and Lucite side table; Wild Flower Organics’ Muriel Gold Bubble chandelier; Kim Seybert’s gold beaded burst ornament at Bliss Home & Design and Treetopia’s shimmering silver stardust Christmas tree.

Exuberant Red & Icy Silver Holiday Décor Inspired by Harry Winston Necklace

Harry Winston ruby and diamond necklace inspire lush red and shimmery silver holiday home decor. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Silver and red Christmas home decorating colors inspired by Harry Winston’s ruby and diamond necklace. Decor and holiday decorations: Red starlight glass ornament from; Arpege Red dinnerware from renowned French porcelain house Phillipe Deshoulieres; Constellation Pendant from Emporium Home; Very stylish and curvy Le Panache Chair by celebrated designer Christopher Guy; and a timeless and classic eglomise cocktail table “The Mirrored Three” by purveyor of luxury furniture and decor, Theodore Alexander.

Manor Life: Luxurious Green & Silver Holiday Style and Color Inspiration

Green and silver Christmas decor and holiday color inspiration from garnet necklace. | The Decorating Diva, LLCGreen and silver Christmas decorating colors inspired by brilliant Tsavorite Garnet pendant from Bryant & Sons, Ltd. Holiday home decor resources: Green Ikat dinnerware from C. Wonder;  Green Vega Stemware from Baccarat; Currey & Company’s Silverdale chandelier; Pace Cocktail table design by Julie Bova for Stanford Furniture; Emerald damask sofa by Theodore Alexander; Handblown Emerald City Raindrop glass ornament by Glass Eye Studio available at Made in Washington; and Treetopia’s Silver Stardust Christmas tree.

Contemporary & Feminine Loft Living Room – Step by Step Guide to Get the Look

Carmen NatschkeDecorating Diva U

Huntington House Pop of Color Livingroom Loft Design. | The Decorating Diva, LLC


Design Deconstructed

Huntington House Furniture “Pop of Color” Loft Living Room

Loft Living Room - How to Decorate to Get the Look Design Moodboard. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Creating a beautiful home design is both an artistic and scientific process. With regards to the artistic aspects of design the following (in my opinion) are necessary traits one must possess: creativity, ability to visualize an end state, an unique sense of style – a signature style so to speak, and potentially most important, an insatiable sense of curiosity coupled with a confident risk-taking attitude. The rules of design (including color theory) on the other hand are clearly defined and accepted principles and guidelines – consider it a form of art married with math and science. These design principles used by artists, sculptors and others in the visual arts, relate to the geometry of design and to color theory, and are the topics on which I will focus on in this post which is all about deconstructing design to its basic elements and rules.

A quick disclosure here before we begin. Huntington House is a Decorating Diva content sponsor – allowing me, through their generosity and financial support, to bring educational  and inspiring decorating and design materials to our readers at no cost to you.

The room design for this decorating lesson is shown below and was designed by the creative team at Huntington House Furniture.

Huntington House Pop of Color Livingroom Loft Design. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Design Principles and Color Theory

When reduced to its most essential essence design principles can be defined by the following terms: scale, proportionality, balance, rhythmic form, focal point/space emphasis and color rhythm. Color theory provides us with an understanding of the science and psychology of color, and how to use those colors to create a variety of effects within a space.

Home style layer by layer design and color decorating tips and principles. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

DD DISCLAIMER: These are basic and general guidelines, and as with all rules they can be broken. And they are often broken, and in some cases, beautifully so, by experienced artists and designers that wish to convey a statement-making visual narrative.

Design Principles: Scale, Proportion and Balance. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Scale refers to the relative size relationship between two objects.  For instance in this large, open room with soaring ceilings and very tall walls, and window doors, small furniture and decor could be swallowed up visually. As shown in this photo, the furniture is the perfect scale for the room.

Proportionality speaks to the visual relationship between elements in a space as well as the relationship between the elements and the space itself. In this airy loft,  the composition of the furniture pieces are in beautiful proportion to one other, and to the room in whole.

Balance in interior design is the fine-tuned effort to create a form of visual equilibrium. This space expresses an asymmetrical and casually, informal visual balance centered on an imaginary vertical axis that can be traced from the chandelier down to the rug via the coffee table between the sofa and accent chairs. Further visual balance is achieved by the accent chair facing the sitting area which has been delineated by the rug as an “inner space” and the large painting hung above the sofa which brings horizontal balance and vertical balance in relationship to the window doors. Balance is also achieved through the use of textures both visual and tactile.  For instance, the smooth metal and glass table balances the velvety pink chairs, and “visually” rough textured floor. Visual weight of the design elements should also be considered when striving for room balance.

Harmony and Rhythmic Form in Interior Design and Home Decorating. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Rhythmic Form exists to guide and please the eye as it travels the room, and does so by using one or more common elements or themes to tie together various disparate design elements. The loft living space in this example utilizes various repetitious forms and patterns in the architecture and decoration to create an aesthetically pleasing interior. Horizontal lines, which express a sense of harmony and stability, are repeated in an explicit form in the ceiling beams, the wood floor planks, the window doors, the lamp shade, the sofa skirt, the chandelier arms, and the rug. Implicitly, the horizontal lines are defined by the negative linear space between the two pink accent chairs, and in the lines within the painting.  Vertical lines send a visual message of permanence and strength.  The vertical lines in the architectural elements can be found in the window doors. Decorative elements showcasing vertical lines include the accent table, coffee table and legs on the accent chairs. Organic shapes in the decor reflect the curvature of the sofa arms, accent chair’s back and arms, the various accent tables throughout the room, the arched window doors, and the circular form of the chandelier. On a mico-pattern level, you can easily identify the harmonious and complimentary patterns between the Asian garden stool table and the upholstery on the accent chair.

Interior Design Rules and Guidelines: Focal point and emphasis. |The Decorating Diva, LLC

Focal Point is the major emphasis in a room either by architecture or design. In the loft discussed here, the architectural focal point are the arched window door features.

Color Rhythm in interior design. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Color Rhythm as is the case with rhythmic form being able to create a relationship between many different design pieces through the use of one unifying characteristic extends to color. We achieve this through the use of color theory and principles to devise a color design scheme that offers a repetitive and harmonious effect to create a room with character, story and personality. This effect can be implemented through textiles, paint, flooring, art, and decorative accessories. The walls in this space are almost neutral – sporting a sunny, yellow-white with the flooring in a complementary neutral ash-toned light brown and a beautifully, tailored sofa dressed in an off-white upholstery. A vibrant complementary color scheme adds a sense of verve to the overall neutral room design with the introduction of two dominant colors opposite each other on the color wheel – pink (red based color) and chartreuse (yellow-green based color).  Fresh, fun, bold color and drama are introduced with hits of sophisticated pinks in the art, vases, flowers, and accent chairs. Cosmopolitan black and white inspired accent pieces balance out the bold pink with a geometrically patterned accent chair and a pair of fluid chevron-patterned throw pillows. For an unexpected artful twist, chartreuse green is introduced into the interior through the use of a velvety pillow, round Asian garden table and decorative accents.

Color Theory and color scheming for Huntington House loft living room. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Color Theory lays bare the scientific explanation of color – or better stated how we perceive color based on our physiology, and even how we respond to color based on psychology.

The Science of Color

Color is a physical attribute of visible light. Within that color spectrum, red has the longest wavelength while violet has the shortest. And the wavelengths are of vital importance because the way our brains interpret those signals results in how we see color or , in other words, how we “sense” color with our eyes. The perception of color occurs when an object absorbs all color light wavelengths except one – that one light color is reflected to our eyes as the “color” of the object.  Returning to this room design and using the pink chair as an example to illustrate the color sensation concept – the chair absorbs all colors of light except pink. The pink light is reflected back to us, and that is how we sense the color of the chair as pink.

Color Psychology 

How you feel about colors can be shaped by your past as well as cultural influences.  If you experienced a horrible car accident as a young child and that car was red, you may find the color red leads to anxiety or fear for you. Culture and society have a tremendous impact on our perception of color, too. For example in Western societies white implies purity and innocence and is used widely in bridal gowns. In China, the color white is representative of a state of mourning.

Color in Design

Color used in design can be evocative, tell a story and set a mood.  Understanding color’s vocabulary and a set of basics color schemes will help you in the use of color in your home. First for the terminology which includes:

  • Value references the lightness (tint) or darkness (shade) of a particular color.
  • Hue is just another term for color and can be used interchangeably.
  • Chroma is the intensity of the color – how bright or dull it appears.

Next a rudimentary understanding of the color wheel, its properties and how colors are created is required. In the image above a color wheel example shows a wide spectrum of colors – what’s interesting to note is that all those colors started with a simple combination of the three primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. Then those colors in the color wheel are blended with each other to produce a secondary color wheel that includes the “parent” colors red, blue, and yellow in addition to the color “offsprings” of orange (red+yellow), green (blue+yellow), and purple (red+blue).  And the process can be repeated over and over again to create nearly infinite numbers of color combinations.

Color Temperature and Its Psychological Characteristics

The color wheel also provides a visual representation of color temperature. As can be noted from the above illustrated color wheel, warm colors are red, yellow, and orange based, while cool colors are blue, purple and green based.

Cool colors can slow down your perception of time and can produce an environment that seems cold and distant (As often is associated with professional environments -cubeville). Cool colors can also have passive, calming qualities that aid concentration and can create a mood of peacefulness and tranquility. An example of a calming cool color is an aqua blue, reminiscent of the beautiful blue of the ocean. A cool color that can be harsh and cold in psychological impact would be a deep blue-grey used in large quantities. Warm colors tend to speed up our perception of time. As a matter of fact fast food restaurants use red and orange heavily in their decor to get customers in and out fast, so they can make more money per customer. Warm colors also lead us to have feelings of warmth and coziness and are often associated with happiness and comfort.

Aside from ascertaining color temperature from the color wheel, it can also be used to devise color schemes. A few of those color schemes are:

Monochromatic Color Schemes are very simple, and basic color schemes that can result in a truly luxe, sophisticated, elegant and rich interior that exudes a fresh timeless appeal. A monochromatic color scheme is characterized by the use of one color varying in tone from light to dark.  This color palette tends to have a calming and serene profile. When teamed with neutrals such as gray, black and/or white it offers depth and interest while avoiding a visual flatness that may occur when contrasting color elements are ignored.

Analogous Color Schemes are composed of three colors that sit adjacent to each other on the tertiary color wheel. The color science behind this is simple and for this example we will use the color yellow. In this case the middle color on the wheel is yellow-green and is created by mixing the primary color of yellow (primary color wheel element) with the secondary color of green (secondary color wheel element created by mixing primary colors blue and yellow.). You will note that this color scheme also utilizes addition of white and black to create variations of the base colors as in the monochromatic color recipe above.

Complementary Color Schemes yield schemes that rely on the tensions created by warm and cool color tones working together in an interior space, they can create visual contrast in a high-drama or in a low-key fashion. It all depends on which colors you choose, and what tones are used in the implementation.  A complementary color scheme is created by picking one color from the color wheel to be used as the dominant color, and then selecting the hue opposite of it on the color wheel – preferably to be used as the accent color in the room. In this loft living room we are studying, a complementary color scheme is featured in an otherwise neutral interior. The colors used are also somewhat grayed keeping the overall tone of the room color calm and soothing.

Tetradic Color Scheme offers a richly varied color scheme utilizing four colors created from two complementary color pairings, the Tetradic color scheme offers the highest number of color combinations. Access to these numerous colorful combinations offers substantial creative freedom, but it’s also one of the harder color schemes to implement in a harmonious and balanced method. The Tetradic scheme, sometimes also referred to as Double Complementary, follows the same color science rules as the complementary color scheme and expounds on the number of pairings.

 Get the Look

Want to translate this elegant, casual loft look for your home? It’s easy, with the decorating know-how  you just learned from this design and color lesson and following my design concept board below – it shows all the design ingredients you’ll need to get the look.

Get the Look: feminine, contemporary livingroom loft style. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Furniture and Décor Resources: Fort Chaffee Engineered – Northern White Oak by Invincible – Carpet One Floor and Home,  Petriolo 6-Light Deep Patina Bronze Chandelier- LampsPlus, Lippa 20″ Wood Side Table in White – LexMod,  “Untitled 81” Pink abstract painting acrylic on paper on cradled wood –Etsy,  Double Fortune Chartreuse Yellow Green Pierced Asian Garden Seat Stool – Kathy Kuo Home , Jemma Garden Stool – Home Decorators, 6″ Tall Red Oslo Recycled Glass Vase – Amazon ,Pink  Czech Vase, 1970s Chrome and Glass Round Coffee or End Table – 1st Dibs  , Flokati Rug – Vintage, Nuovo Foyer Table – Burke Décor, Vintage Green Ceramic Vase – In Style Decor,  and Safavieh White Bamboo Column Table Lamp – Overstock.

Huntington House Furniture: White skirted sofa (3206-20) – shown in white (61373-89) with graphic black and white chevron pillows (70164-78) and kidney pillow (shown in loft room image at top of post) in citron velvet (Henry Quince upholstery). Fuchsia chair (7706-50) in custom fuchsia velvet (Striato Blossom) and antique silver nail-head trim.  Black and white embroidered geometric chair (70156-78) in espresso finish (7738-50).

Disclosure:  All opinions expressed in this post are all my own.  This is a sponsored post/branded content for Huntington House Furniture. We appreciate the generous sponsorship of design brands that support the Decorating Diva blog and make it possible for me to bring you, our wonderful readers,  excellent design and lifestyle articles throughout the year.

The Design Library – 2015 Holiday Gift Guide for the Book Lover on Your List

Carmen NatschkeMISC Style Files

Holiday gift ideas for design book lovers. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

This year, my holiday gift guide recommendations for the book loving decorating diva on your list is comprised of three new releases covering a divine range of topics from gardens to artfully executed interiors to inspiring moments found in everyday life, and then there are three older books. These tomes, released in the last two to three years, are destined to become modern decorative arts and design classics. And in my opinion, I believe they will be a required and cherished addition to the design lover’s library. So now on to naming names for the books that made the cut for the Decorating Diva’s 2015 holiday gift guide for the stylish and sophisticated book lover on your list.

Holiday gift ideas for design book lovers. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Book titles and authors from left to right:  “Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors” by Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, “Beyond Chic:Great Fashion Designers at Home” by Ivan Terestchenko, “Staircases: The Architecture of Ascent” by  Oscar Tusquets Blanca, Martine Diot, Adelaïde de Savray, Jérôme Coignard, and Jean Dethier, “Carolyne Roehm at Home in the Garden” by Carolyne Roehm, “Absolutely Beautiful Things” by Anna Spiro, and “John Robshaw Prints: Textiles, Block Printing, Global Inspiration, and Interiors” by John Robshaw and Elizabeth Gamsey.

Background image credit: Home library design by Spanish designer Luis Bustamante – see it in its full glory below.

Luis Bustamante library. | The Decorating Diva, LLC