Paint Color Picks | Our Go-To's

We’re thinking today is a good day for a good ole fashioned paint color post! Everything has been upside down recently with hurricane Dorian so we’re looking for a little stability. And we couldn’t think of a better staple then our go-to neutral paint colors. Even though there’s a number of different paint brands out there and each one comes with a huge variety of color options (only adding more each year), most designers have their comfort zone of paint — colors and brand. We pick colors that we know work because we’ve used them before….and thus, a staple is born.

When we’re going for brighter pops of color, we are usually selecting it based on another specific element in the room — a fabric it coordinates with or a wallpaper. So bright colors don’t usually make it on our staples list. Neutrals however, are always being used. Neutrals work not only for wall colors but also for trim colors, door colors, even exterior paint colors. Once you find a good neutral, you file it away for safe keeping because you know you’ll have another use for it soon.

So that’s what we’re giving you today — our go-to, tried-and-true, tested and proven neutral paint colors. Instead of giving you a bunch of whites or a bunch of greys, we’re going to give you our top pick of each — one white, one greige, one grey, or black, and one blue. These colors, like almost any color, will change in different lights, so be sure to test them in your own space before you go painting an entire wall….but we don’t anticipate there being much not to like about them. They’re just good colors!

As a side note, we love Sherwin Williams. Sherwin Williams is our go-to paint brand for color choice. So all of these selections are Sherwin Williams paint colors.


The image never does this white justice. It’s much brighter in person but has just the right amount of warmth in it to not feel cold and sterile. It’s soft but crisp and clean—definitely our favorite white!

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We refer to this as our chameleon color. This color can go more gray in rooms with cooler tones and more beige in rooms with warmer tones. It’s definitely more current then a basic beige with it’s gray undertones however, it works well for the person who’s scared of white but wants an updated look!

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If you’re still a die-hard gray fan and haven’t given up on the “new neutral” that emerged around 2011, then this is the best bet for you. Repose Gray will give you that cool gray tone with just a hint of beige to keep it soft. It’s darker than Drift of Mist so it’ll give you contrast, if that’s what you’re looking for, but won’t feel like an office building!

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Black has become a staple color for us. We love it just as much, if not more, than white. Black makes things pop and makes a statement. While selecting a good black isn’t as hard as figuring out the perfect white, there are still lots of choices out there but this one is our fave.



With the revolution of the painted cabinet, blue has quickly become a staple neutral. We’ve always thought it was (for the record), but everyone else is finally catching up! Ha! So what’s the perfect blue? It’s hard because for cabinetry, the wood species can affect how the color takes, but we do love this muted blue by Sherwin Williams. Naval is denimy and calming and if you test it out, you’ll realize it can really work with any other color!


How To | Making a Small Family Room Cozy

The family room is one of the most used rooms in the house with the exception of the kitchen. It’s a gathering place, a relaxing space, and entertainment area, and often one of the most seen rooms in your home. You want it to look good, feel good, and hold up to wear and tear. But if you’ve got a small family room, you may be frustrated because it feels cramped or you can fit enough seating in it for the number of people you’d like to accomodate. We get it. Small spaces can be tricky. So today we’re talking about how to furnish and decorate a small family room space.

The first and most obvious thing to do is to scale down your furniture. The thing about small spaces is that the furniture can’t fill them up if you want people to be in the space as well. So evaluate the type of furniture you’re using. Are the pieces streamlined and not overly bulky? Of course you want them to be comfortable but space is everything. So if you need to replace your super fluffy, oversized sofa with something that’s not as fluffy but still comfortable, then that’s what you need to do. A rolled arm on a sofa is basically a whole entire seat on a track arm sofa and that’s valuable property. Consider your chairs too. Some reading or accent chairs can be really deep and the back may even slant taking up additional space. Scale those stylized things down and use the space for more people or more seats instead.

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The next thing to think about when assessing your furniture is the number of functions it can have. The less pieces in a small space, the better. So the more each piece of your furniture does for you, the better. Little ottomans are great because they act as a foot rest, an extra seat, and a coffee table depending on how you use them. They’re also light weight and moveable so they’re a great multi-functional piece. Select case goods with lots of hidden storage. Those hidden storage compartments will be a life saver when you’re trying to make the space convenient for friends and also keep it tidy.

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When laying out a small space, use your wall space! This can be hard because walls may be taken up by windows or doors, but start with wall space when determining where to put your furniture. You’re not going to be able to float a seating area in the middle of the room anyway, so your walls will dictate a lot about how the room lays out. Be sure to use your corners too! A sectional that turns the corner adds a whole additional seat that two pieces of furniture perpendicular to each other would not.

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Be sure to add lots of light so that the room doesn’t feel like a cave. If you have great windows and they’re enough, awesome! If you don’t though, think about adding little wall-mount sconces or skinny and tall floor lamps that won’t take up a lot of surface area. Lighting is important! Don’t overlook it!


Finally, keep it fresh by adding greenery. Greenery always keeps a space cozy and inviting and also helps with air purification. Even the tiniest plant makes an impact!

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A Finish Comparison | Painted Cabinets or Stained?

The type of finish you used for your kitchen cabinets didn’t used to even be a question. It was paint. Always paint. Stained cabinets were dated and and normally either too yellow or too red and painted cabinets allowed you any color option your heart desired! Most importantly, paint allowed you a bright white kitchen…something everyone loved. But as always, everything comes back around and this is the case for staining. With the popularity of the SoCal look, a light, waxed white oak cabinet has become super popular and with it, the reemergence of the stained cabinet. There are so many more stain options available now so the color options are expanded…even with stain. And you can still keep the natural wood look instead of completely hiding any sort of graining like you would with paint. That being said, there are still pros and cons to both options. So aside from the style you’re wanting to achieve, consider these items before making your cabinet finish choice.

As we mentioned before, paint will completely cover the wood grain on any sort of cabinet. This can be an attractive option for those who prefer a cleaner look and wants something very tailored. More modern kitchens would definitely be the place for a painted cabinet…but also consider the rest of your home. What’s the style you’re trying to achieve and would a wood grain work well with that?


On the other hand, if you want to show off the character of your cabinets and love the fact that they are real wood, you may not want to cover them up with paint but rather highlight the natural beauty with a well suited stain.


It’s important to consider what your cabinets are made of as well. Obviously a cabinet that is not real wood cannot be stained. The stain is simply pointless since there’s no natural wood material to enhance and no graining to show. If your home has cabinet doors that are a material other than wood, paint is really your only choice.


Don’t be discouraged though. The nice thing about paint is that the color options are endless! You can literally paint your cabinets any color you want! Most stains are some version of black, brown, grey, or white. There is a variety of tones and hues within those neutral families however, there’s no getting a true blue or green cabinet which some people want.


Practicality is a big factor when it comes to kitchen cabinet finishes since the kitchen is a high traffic area. Stained cabinets, because they have more movement in the graining, actually hide more imperfections. Painted cabinets, though, typically show any sort of nick or ding. The paint color is a smooth coat so any break in that coating will be visible. For this same reason, painted cabinets are harder to touch up whereas stained cabinets are easier to fix.


Depending on where you purchase your cabinetry, it can cost more when it comes painted. Most common stain finishes are less than a painted finish, however, the newer stains don’t always fit into the “inexpensive category”.


Finally, consider what is required when you want to change your cabinet color down the road. A painted finish can usually just be primed and painted over whereas a stained finish has to be stripped and re-stained which requires a lot more work.


It’s a lot to consider! The nice thing is that you can get a lot of look with either option, you just have to make sure the practical side works well for your lifestyle!

Pro Tips | Planning for a Renovation

We’ve been doing more and more renovations recently. Some are small, single bathroom updates, while others are large. Renovations are hard. Period. They’re hard on everyone involved because they are never convenient, never cheap, and never without issues. They are usually so exciting at the end, though! A brand new room in your house…and most likely a room you’ve disliked or wanted to change for a while, is now brand new! Who wouldn’t be happy?! But there are ways to help prepare yourself for the process of enduring a renovation that we want to share. Whether you hire people to do the work or do it yourself, you will always need to be involved in a big way, so here’s what you need to know!

IF you choose to hire someone to help with the work, be sure to do your research! And remember, price shouldn’t be the first concern. We are strong believers in the “you get what you pay for” mentality and people should be compensated fairly for their time…or else, they’ll try to cut corners (to save money on the back end). So get all the info on the people you are hiring—examples of previous work, a clear and mutual understanding of timeline, a detailed scope of work and even a rating on how well you feel that they communicate. Don’t get us wrong, there is a certain level of trust you need to have in your contractor, however, there is also a certain level of communication you should have with them. Be sure you feel comfortable with how they communicate because that one element will be key to a successful renovation!

Have the money talk very early on. Discuss your budget with your contractor, designer, or project manager so that they know where things need to be. If they express concern about how much you are wanting to spend, listen to their concerns. A tight budget can make for more issues and it may be worth it in the end to either adjust your scope of work or wait until you have enough money to fairly cover the costs involved. Do research in advance as well so that you have a good idea of what you think it should be. You don’t want to get scammed by someone over estimating costs but you do need to trust their professional opinion if the conversation goes that direction. We always advise clients to have a 20% cushion for any sort of construction. There WILL be unexpected items that pop up that WILL cost money. Save yourself the headache and have the money available.


Get out! If you are doing a major renovation, move out! For the sake of your mental health, your marriage, and your kids’ sanity, remove yourself from the stress of living in a construction zone because it’s HARD. It’s loud and dirty and distracting and puts everyone in a bad mood. It also adds a whole new level of stress to the entire process that could be avoided. If you’re just doing a small one bedroom remodel and can live in another part of the house during the construction process, that’s a little easier. But if you’re doing any major updates to your home, be sure NOT to be there.


We understand things can change, but it is always best to have as many of the major decisions made BEFORE construction begins. Issues may arise that require you to change your selection, but the least amount of decisions you need to make under pressure and stress, the better. Select colors and tile and make layout decisions when you have a clear brain. Stressed brain doesn’t always make the best choices.


Finally, understand that your involvement is required, not matter what. A renovation is almost never a one man job. Multiple people are involved and even if there’s a project manager who is supposed to be overseeing everything for you, your involvement matters too. You don’t want to turn into a micromanager but you don’t want to be in good communication with the people involved so that there’s no guessing on anyone’s part. For this reason, some of your budget decisions should also involve time….not just money. Consider your daily schedule and plan for the time you’ll need to take out of your day to be involved in this project. It will require it.


Ultimately, look forward to the finished product. Keep the end in sight so you don’t forget what you’re working towards. If you have nothing to be excited about, you’ll quickly become negative which will only delay the process. Positivity and encouragement always makes for a smoother work place.

Design Tips | Tabletop Styling

It’s summer and things aren’t in their normal flow since the kids are out of school and families are traveling, so we’re just doing a fun little styling post for today. Something simple; a quick, easy summer read that may spark some ideas for fluffing when you get home.

There are many layers to interior design but the most fun and most sought after part is styling. Accessorizing and styling is the finishing touch of every room and can really make a room come to life. But even though a lot of well-designed spaces look effortless, there is a certain method to styling. This article breaks it down well so we thought we’d share some tips for styling tabletop spaces or small vignettes.

Just like in a large space, a small space needs a focal point. This could be the largest or brightest item, but essentially, it’s the item that you want the focus on. There has to be a star…not everything can be the star, so you have to decide what you’re trying to highlight.

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Be sure to select items that vary in size and scale. These differences create a balance and flow that makes it appealing to look at and adds to the overall aesthetic. Everything at one height creates a hard line which eliminates flow and too many small items make it hard to know what to look at. Variety equals balance.

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Consider your background or backdrop when selecting pieces. You want a background that adds to the overall look but be careful when pairing items. A very busy background calls for simpler, more streamlined accessories while a simple backdrop can handle something in front of it that is dramatic and makes a statement. Too much movement, pattern, or color creates the same problem that too many small items does — it doesn’t give the eye something to focus on.


Too much of a good thing is bad thing. So make sure you select items that contrast each other in color (light and dark) but are similar in style and feel. The common thread of style and/or texture will tie the entire grouping together.

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Always add something natural like a pop of greenery. Even if the greenery is fake, it still provides a little warmth and coziness to the vignette. And fake flowers can look pretty real without the maintenance, so don’t write them off until you try them!

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Finally, always consider your surface. The piece of furniture that the items are being placed on is part of the whole look as well. Be sure it’s color, size, material, and texture are taken into consideration when accessorizing it. A bunch of great accessories on the wrong piece of furniture can look misplaced or out of whack. Don’t overlook what’s in plain sight.

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