a pop of red

I’ve been excited to decorate our new place… yet terrified at the same time. I’ve never felt like I have a knack for decorating like I do designing something on a page. Committing to a piece of furniture makes me a nervous wreck. I gravitate towards colors and patterns and usually buy things accordingly, but then I get them home and realize they’re not right for the space, way too loud, or have no relationship to anything else in the space. More often than not, I am tired of it in five minutes and regret making such bold choices.

I’m trying a new approach where I set some guidelines for myself, don’t buy anything impulsively, and if I see something that looks bold and awesome — I realllllly think about it (and usually end up realizing it’s too much and I need to scale it back a bit). So far, so good.

For the walls, I fell in love with Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue… but then, after painting a handful of test swatches throughout the first floor and upstairs hallway (which would all eventually be painted the same color), I realized it was waaaaayy too much blue. After a few more Goldilocks trials and errors — you know, this one’s too bold, this one’s too boring, etc. — I landed upon Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, a muted grayish blueish green (that’s the technical description). It was perfect.

We already have charcoal grey couches which will stay, along with a coffee table that Nick made, but we need some other pieces to tie everything together… and that’s where I get stuck.

Enter: Design*Sponge At Home by Grace Bonney, editor of the Design*Sponge blog. I got a copy of this book a few months ago when I attended a signing at Terrain (Grace was super nice, by the way!), and it has become my decorating bible as of late. I love that pretty much all of the sneak peeks featured in the book are far from what you’d call matchy-matchy, yet they still have a very pulled together look despite being very eclectic. So many of them speak to me and remind me why I’ve never been drawn to buying matching sets of furniture.

In deciding how to decorate the downstairs of our new home, I looked for rooms in the book that had similar wall colors to Sea Salt, and just rooms that I generally liked. After browsing a handful of pages one afternoon, it struck me that so many rooms had one great thing in common: amidst calming neutrals, there was often a distinct pop of red that stood out as a focal point, and really tied the room together. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few rooms found on Design*Sponge (the blog this time):

image 1 // image 2 // image 3 // image 4

Coincidentally, a lovely friend also gave us a gorgeous red cast iron trivet as a housewarming gift, and I was sold. Pops of red — yes! Why didn’t I think of it sooner?

Thus, our color palette was born: mostly warm neutrals, with pops of teal (I mean, I’m still me, after all) and fire engine red. It looks pretty subdued to me here, but I think that’s a good sign that I won’t get sick of it in five minutes.

I’m thinking a red statement lamp would be perfect sitting atop this pedestal end table that was my nana’s and just came to live with us over the weekend:

We have yet to hang anything on the walls and I’m sure many more colors will come into play then — but having this new red revelation has me excited to decorate so it looks like grownups live here. Grownups who have an eclectic yet pulled-together style.

What’s your decorating method?


  1. Ooh, I love this palette idea & your inspiration! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  2. Your nana’s table is gorgeous… what a special piece. I’m so glad to hear that Design*Sponge At Home has been helpful. I gifted a copy for Christmas + really need to get one for myself. Your new home is going to look great, Brooke!

  3. A pop of red looks so nice. I really want to read that book now. I tend to go with two colors and stick with it. I’d really like to start adding some pops of color, but I get a little scared about doing something too bold.

    Also, your nana’s table is beautiful, I think a bright pop of color on it will mix the beautiful vintage feel and make it more modern. Your home is going to look gorgeous! :)

  4. I absolutely love your color scheme! Your inspiration photos are so beautiful- I know your space will look great too!

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