How to Design the Whole House: Part 1

When you decide to move, it is one of the few times that you consider the design and colors of your entire home at once. This series will help you make decisions and give you ideas on how to accomplish this difficult task.

Boxes Packed Ready to Move -

Hi, everyone!  I’ve recently been put in a position to talk to you about how to design your entire home, and on a very personal level.  I’m moving!  And, I realized that it is one of the few times that you think about the design and coloration of your entire home at once.

Generally, Matt and I recommend working on one room at a time, but in certain circumstances, like a move, or when building a new home, you have to think about a little more!

Well, as you can see, I’m pretty much packed.  At this writing, (early December) the movers are coming in one week, and I will move into the new house in two weeks.  During the week we are in limbo, we are adding a tile floor and pulling out a built in cabinet so our own furniture will fit.  But, that is yet to come.  Right now, I can start the design process and I’d like you to come along for the ride.

Use Magazine Photos for Inspiration -

I decided it would be fun to prove to you that I do practice what I preach.  Do you remember me telling you to go through magazines and pull out pictures that appeal to you?  Well, I’ve done just that and I have found that I am drawn to two distinctly different color ranges…, take a look.

Inspiration Room Clippings -

This group of photos shows a lot of brown, cream and red.  A little more cream than any of the other colors, but brown and red, or even an orangy-tone seem to be the accent colors.

Gather Fabrics Used Around Your House -

I knew this was a color grouping that I was particularly fond of because as you can see, almost everything in my home is now in that color range!  I have a brown sectional, a plaid chair with browns and cream, and accessory pillows that share those colors too.  The cream pillow is from another sectional and I have a couple of red chairs with palm fronds.  (I bought those here in Florida to fit in a little better!)  When you lay everything together like this, you can really see a pattern forming.

Use Designer Fabrics For Inspiration -

This pillow is from a sofa that Matt and I have shared for years.  The fabric is still one of my favorites, and notice that the same family of colors is here with the addition of a pretty aqua blue.

Rooms in Blue for Inspiration -

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the other color family I keep pulling out of magazines is this pretty aqua blue.  So, how do I blend these two opposing color families together?  Well, fortunately, my floor plan helps me there a bit because the entry, living room and dining room are very separate from the kitchen, and family room.  What I’m hoping is that I can paint the living and dining room in an aqua and go with my warmer tones in the kitchen and family room.

Use Dinnerware as Inspiration -

Well, while I’m mulling this over, I was shopping and found this dinnerware pattern.  Notice the design, there is a sailing ship, palm trees and yes, my aqua blue.  Also, I have several model sailboats that I’ve collected over the years and they would be perfect in a room with this dinnerware.

I was so excited I started looking around for co-ordinating pieces and I picked up another set and found a nice looking brown rimmed dinner plate.  Well, this sure helps tie the browns to the aquas!  Then, I noticed that the original plate has bowls with pineapples on them.  Well, my new kitchen has pineapple tiles in the backsplash, so, I decided it was a sign!!  I’m definitely going with the aqua in one area and the warmer browns and reds in another.
Inspiration Piece Leads Your Decor -

If you are like me, you get really excited about the possibilities when “signs” like this pop up.  So, I grabbed a piece of the tile from the new house, brought in my sectional pillow, my sailboats, and the china.  OOO YAA!  That part is going to work.

Inspiration Piece Helps Select Color -

The next step is to start considering the wall color in the rooms.  Remember, this will be the entry, living room and dining room.  (Right now I’m leaning towards the middle blue.)  Although, I will make sample boards before I make my final decision.

Co-ordinate Paint with Flooring -

I also brought out the brown and red family items to see how nicely they would go with the tile.  This then became a good time to consider paint colors for this area, meaning the kitchen and family room.  I chose mostly neutrals so far to keep with the design of the photos I pulled.  Remember, mostly cream with brown and red accents?

Blending Color Schemes in a Home -

OK, I had to do it, I had to bring both color schemes together to see if I thought it was going to be possible.  Well, it really didn’t look too bad to me.  I will have to find just the right place to stop the aqua paint, and start the neutral.  I will also try to find a way to bring these colors together somehow.  Hmm, perhaps in the center of it all – the kitchen.

Use What You Love in Your Home -

Oh, my roosters!!  How are they going to fit in this tropical, sailing, theme I’m creating?  Is it me or do you see a blue on that rooster?  Have you ever been to Hawaii or Jamaica?  Chickens are everywhere and they are both tropical environments….OK, you can be honest with me… I trying too hard?

Well, I have a couple weeks to think about it, play with more colors and consider a different inspiration piece other than that china.  In the meantime I’ll keep packing, do some shopping around and flipping through magazines to see if I can find anything I like better.  I have to remember that this is MY house, MY surroundings, and if I am happy and feel good when I am there, that is all that matters.  If you are going through the same thing, a move or perhaps building, please keep that in mind for yourself as well.

And, that’s as far as I can go until we get into the house.  So, stay tuned, this story is just getting started!!!


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