Color Class

I received this comment on a post last week:

Ashley Posted March 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm: I love the variety of colors you choose and how it still feels cohesive at the end. I’m working on my house right now and while I love color, I’m a little afraid that having too many different paint colors will make the house feel a little crazy. Any tips on how to keep the house feeling cohesive and not crazy when picking so many different colors?
Great Question. And one I get a lot.
First of all…Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 7.22.54 AM

But, also.

I find that flow and color is more of an issue on the first floor/living areas in most houses. It depends on the flow of the house itself, but most living spaces have more open doorways to one another so that color relates between the rooms more than a traditional upstairs where bedrooms are separated by doors off of a hallway. In our house, downstairs, you can pretty much see every room from every room so that does affect color choices between them.

So, using our homes as an example, I tend to favor white hallways with a fun trim detail.b1e57cb55c145eaa30745cd443d81087Ours have all been white with black trim.


You don’t want the entry into the house to be boring, but it is also nice to have a place to rest your eyes. Kind of a palette cleanser if you will. A lighter color, or wallpaper would all do the trick.

Then from there, in our current house, on either side of the hallway are our living and dining

The orange in the Living Room actually really balances the pink in the dining room.

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 8.41.04 AM

They are pretty similar colors and have the same warmth and vibrancy.

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 8.40.57 AM

The kitchen is right off the dining room, and we carried the green in the kitchen into the dining room. We wanted a really saturated pink to be able to stand up to the deep dark glossy green of the kitchen. The kitchen also looks into the living room- where we have the green on the couch.

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 8.41.06 AM

From the living room you have the den.

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 8.41.01 AM

Which has an echo of the orange living room walls in the tortoiseshell wallpaper on the bar. The pink from the dining room will be in the new shade fabric, and the green from the kitchen is in the sofa.

Now- I didn’t map it all out like this when I was decorating our house. Doing this it was funny/interesting to see how similar all of the colors in each room actually are.

They might not look like it…

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 9.14.51 AM

But it is basically the same palette in every room.

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 9.10.37 AM


So I think if you are nervous about flow, you can break it down like so.

(That rhymed)

I think as long as the colors relate to each other tonally, that gives a balance. I tend to stay away from primary colors (red, blue, yellow), they are too separate whereas the blends involved in secondary and tertiary colors tend to work better with others. A white or lighter hallway/entry can be a good break between colorful rooms. And

None of this is a rule, it is just more of a tool..

(more rhyming)

…to use if you are worried.

There are a lot of different ways to make color work.

Like here Miles does the exact opposite of everything I just said with a primary blue lacquered hallway and a true red door:home-interior-design-ED1209-003

And it is amazing.

How does color flow in your house? Is every room different or do you have shades of the same colors throughout? What colors do you use together?


  1. Abby March 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    You rock. The whole house… I love it so much. So fun and sophistocated – I’d move right in. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. jenna March 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    what are your favorite paint colors to use for basic black and white? :)

  3. Naomi (Design Manife March 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Whoa who knew your home was so cohesive. That’s a fun little game to see how things relate. I don’t think about flow too much either, but I think you demonstrated you can tie rooms together by more than just paint or fabrics. Funny- I do a lot of blue, some red, but rarely any green or purple. I need to expand my palette.

  4. Kristen March 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Great post Bailey! Love the side by sides pics, and the colour swatches lined up by room. It really illustrates how the rooms are more similar than you initially think. I will be using this little trick in my new place.

    Love your style!

  5. samantha March 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    great post! really helps….but did you know all the rooms were going to go together so well or did that just happen? did you go in with a color story you wanted to use?

  6. Krysta March 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I am actually thinking about this a lot right now as we just moved into our first house and I’m scheming up all the rooms! In the past I have sort of just decorated room by room, and I suppose my preferences are fairly predictable because my rooms have been pretty cohesive and flowed well together. I’m a big fan of gray in all different shades so that probably helps. But this house is so different than any place I’ve lived before — 100 year old historical house with all the original wood trim and paneling in really beautiful condition — so I find myself being drawn to a different color palette and style than usual and am thinking about the whole first floor in a totally different way. For me in this house, the process has been starting with and working off of the wood, which dominates the largest room on the main level with picture rail paneling. Working with the wood, I’ve starting forming a color palette for that main room, and then applying some of the dominant colors to the neighboring rooms but layering in different accent colors, patterns, metals, styles so each room has its own personality but seems to flow.

  7. Sarah March 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I love color but I live in a rental. I actually live overseas and foreigners here are not even permitted to buy property so renting is the only option. Do you have any suggestions for how to make your home really colorful when you have to stick with all beige and white walls?

  8. Ashley March 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks for the thorough response! So helpful, truly…I’m decorating my first house and trying to have some fun without wasting too much money on mistakes. Looking at your house/decor palette that way really gives another perspective. Thanks again!

  9. Simone March 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Your house is amazing . Can you tell me where I can find
    The fabric from your sofa ( den ) .
    I love your bedding and I would love to get some for my
    9 years old daughter. If I send you a picture of her room
    Can you suggest wich one to get ?

  10. Rebecca March 8, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Very pretty! The designer from your inspirational picture is Jonathan Adler. Best wishes.

  11. Caroline March 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Are there any times where you made a decorating decision and you regretted it? Like had expensive curtains made them hated them? Or picked out a rug that was easily stained?

  12. ERB March 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    LOVE reading about this stuff!! And it has to be kind of fun for you to analyze your work? Maybe?

  13. ashley March 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Thank You Thank You Thank You for this post. I’ve wondered the same thing but I just kind of new you had it all figured out. The front of our house is very open and I’m currently struggling with tying it all together. Great post!

  14. kelley March 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    loving all these posts of your home as I am a total house stalker. can you share the color of your kitchen cabinets or a good dark green paint color. want to paint our front door a moody green, but don’t want it to look too blackish as my shutters are dark brown. any info you can share would be appreciated.
    keep up the great work and thanks for the endless inspiration.

  15. Tiffany March 10, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Uhh-MAZING post. What a fantastic way to visually communicate your message. Love it all.
    Thanks so much for sharing all this great info!!!

  16. brooke March 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    bailey, thanks for the inspiration to add some color to my life! my house is so predominantly neutral right now but this was just the push I need to jazz it up. great advice, keep it coming!

  17. Kim March 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Love EVERYTHING! I would love to find out the name of the purple floral fabric you are using in your living room! Thank you!

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