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The Best (Unexpected) Color Combo Trends of 2019


Just when I thought that I had figured out what makes a color palette timeless, Laurren, today’s contributing writer, proposes this: Perhaps the new “color trend” is actually unexpected and more about clashing or pairing together unexpected hues. I suppose like many things, creating tension can be what makes them exciting. Typically for room longevity, I’m a classic “opposite sides of the color wheel” fan, but when someone proposes new, dramatic color combos that I don’t have the guts to actually implement (permanently) I say “go for it”, like literally, YOU go for it, because I’m too scared.

BUT, it is fun to think about throwing blue caution to the wind and going for a peach-on-peach (wait, do we all know that peach is HUGE right now…it is, as is mustard) vibe. Anyway, Laurren dug deep and is going to walk you through 10 combos that, like I said, might be scary to anyone used to neutrals and safer palettes, but SUPER exciting to anyone ready for a little something new. Who knows, maybe by the end of this post, I’ll be convinced to paint something orange (ha!). Laurren, take it away.

Thanks, Emily. Hi everyone, I’m Laurren. Long time reader and freelance magazine writer and stylist. (Fun fact: I actually interviewed Emily for a story when I was an editor at Country Living which I haven’t even mentioned to her until now!)

We’re here to talk color. Let me first say that light, bright and airy will always have a place in design (and our hearts). But, after years and years of largely neutral spaces, it feels like the right time for a reverse palette cleanse of sorts. (Arlyn recently made her own plea for more colored walls in design here, and I offer her my full support!) If you, too, are in the mood to shake things up—whether you embrace color via paint or textiles or both—we hope these ideas will serve to get you moving in that direction. And look, most designers (including Emily) would agree that setting a color palette before embarking on a room design is the first (and best) thing you can do to usher decisions further and end up with a room that feels intentional and pulled together.

That said, it’s not always easy to know what to put together. What colors play well in the sandbox of design life? Some combos are obvious, but for anyone who’s tired of seeing the same three colors used again and again, that’s where this post comes in. After doing some initial research and then working to finalize with the EHD team, I think the 10 combos we’re about to share with you are exciting and fresh. 

Let’s just dive right into what I suspect might be the hardest sell for some of you, shall we? Are your eyeballs ready to party?

Peach + Coral

Lyon Apartment In Green Tones Pufikhomes 5
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I fully acknowledge that the above image is a lot—like a Flintstones Push-Up (remember those? RIP) and an Orange Julius (can you tell I like frozen treats?) melted together into a dining room. I get it. We get it. In fact, the EHD team talked about their reluctance to embrace the coral trend in this post here. (Now I’m wondering if maybe I should have named this post “8 Unexpected Color Palettes We Love Plus One That Maybe Only Laurren Loves?”) but I just can’t stop looking at it. Am I going to go out tomorrow and paint my living room all the shades of orange? Well, no. But in the right space (ideally not a bedroom or bathroom—feels a little energizing for those areas) it can be really, really pretty.

In the above photo via the February 2018 issue of Elle Decoration UK, a heavy helping of black—from the table to the artwork to the light fixture—adds the grounding, sophisticated edge that makes the whole thing just work (well, that and those wood floors). It sort of acts like the little black blazer of the room, taking a color pairing that could lean childlike and fanciful then BOOM—baby’s all grown up! Being able to see into that other room also helps a lot—the dark paint job and patterned flooring gives your eyes a place to regroup, which can be important in such a bold space.

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If the first example is just a little too Wild Wild Country for you, or if you’re into something requiring less legwork or commitment, allow your textiles and artwork to do the heavy lifting and skip the paint altogether. Or, use it sparingly, like in the above photo where the orange hue is almost celebrated more than it would be if the whole space were clad in the color.  

Terra-Cotta + Cobalt

Valle Dumbo Ad Skj 23
image source | design by Giancarlo Valle

Peach was large and in charge in the ‘90s, so any Laura Ashley-induced anxiety over its return is 100% understandable. Strip away all the frills and pattern, though, and you’re actually left with a pretty versatile hue that is particularly sophisticated when you bring it down a notch and enter the earthier terra-cotta territory (this is Dead Salmon—lol—from Farrow & Ball). Pair it with black and warm wood accents and a heavy wash of rich blue (specifically that cobalt from the velvet pieces in the living room pictured above), and the controversial shade takes a moody and, dare we say it—lasting—turn.

Blush + Teal + Emerald

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While “millennial pink” may be losing steam, it’s not gone for good and goes a long way in softening up the dark blue and green that grounds this kitchen. In a smaller space with lower ceilings, we’d probably recommend layering in some lighter neutrals to add a little airiness, but this particular space can handle all the drama.  

Teal + Rust + Mustard

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image source | design by Harding and Read

A wash of super-saturated teal (we’re pretty sure this is Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue) is the perfect backdrop for the burst of warmth coming in from this rusty headboard. (It just wouldn’t feel as special against crisp white walls!) The punchy pillows keep things from feeling too moody and prove that sometimes pattern is most impactful applied in small doses. By keeping the rest of the furnishings—from the lamp to the side table to the bedding—relatively simple in terms of color and style, this bold pairing commands allllllllll the attention. (And we’re not mad about it!)

Turquoise + Red-Orange

Emily Henderson Color Palettes 2019 7.jpg
image source | design by Studiopepe

Historically, this combo is not my favorite, but after coming across the above image during a Pinterest dig, I’ve recently warmed up to it. Sure, it comes on strong and can easily lean more coastal or traditional, but when used in unbalanced quantities, with turquoise taking the lead and red-orange coming in as an accent, it feels very fun and fresh. That linen low-slung headboard and sculptural matte black sconce also help the cause.

It’s important to remember that even when your palette is this simple (as in, just two main colors), you need to layer in neutrals (like the bed) and don’t be afraid to take one of the protagonist hues and play with the tones. This could have looked a bit amateur had the walls, sheets and blanket been the same shade, but by varying them just slightly piece to piece, it feels more well-rounded and sophisticated.

Hunter Green + Pink + Yellow

image source | design by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm

2019 has promised a resurgence of bold primary colors, and I’ll be the first to admit: it’s a little intimidating. They just don’t feel all that special on their own—and would certainly feel jarring paired together—but, as seen in the above image, they can be a refreshing addition to a softer palette when used sparingly. Sign me up for those yellow chairs!

Emily Henderson Color Palettes 2019 10
image source | design by General Assembly

Here, yellow comes in in a more buttercream way with the side tables, and set against a deep dark green and a light blushy pink artwork it could feel playful, but with the cognac leather and wood furnishings, it’s elevated and very adult.

Dusty Blue + Maroon + Wood Tones

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image source | design by Atelier Abraha Achermann

Here, warm wood accents and maroon (wait…are these brown?) floor tiles lend a sophisticated edge to a soft blue that might otherwise lean a little saccharine. (It also helps that this particular blue has a lot of gray in it.) We’d pepper in some black accents to really round out the mix.

Peach + Persimmon + Teal

Emily Henderson Color Palettes 2019 12.jpg
image source | design by Sella Concept and Wilson Holloway

You didn’t think I was done with peach, did you? (I can agree to call it terracotta if that will help you open up your heart.) Designed by Sella Concept and Wilson Holloway, London-based restaurant Omar’s Place, pictured above, makes a strong case for the controversial, sherbet-y palette. A smattering of teal provides an unexpected contrast in the largely monochromatic space while a cloudy-gray ceiling adds depth and dimension without stealing the show. It’s somehow bubbly and moody all at once.

Green + Green + Green

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We definitely have a thing for monochromatic tonal palettes and earthy greens are no exception. (Why settle for one shade when you can have them all?!) Green can be moody and dramatic but also somehow warm and fuzzy and soothing—it’s a real over-achiever and the EHD team’s current golden child. 

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image source | design by Chan + Eayrs

Paired with lots of pale wood tones, stone and mixed metal finishes, the space above, which was designed by architects Zoe Chan Eayrs and Merlin Eayrs, is a great example of how you can use color to make a bold statement without sacrificing a light-and-airy feel. It helps that the green tones vary (from pastel to fresh and minty to deep and earthy) to keep things interesting and feeling intentional (not like you didn’t know what else to pair together). Also, I never thought I’d like a colored bathtub, but here we are.  

Mustard + Burgundy

image source | design by studio ashby

You might be looking at this photo (a room by Studio Ashby) and thinking, wait…where’s the burgundy, but that’s actually the magic of this. (BTW, it’s in the trim of the pillow shams and while one tiny detail does not a color palette make, feel free to amp it up yourself). As Emily mentioned in the beginning of this article, mustard and golden hues, specifically rendered in velvet textiles, are huge right now and while this would have worked just as well set against a base of white and black, the added oxblood from the pillow trim (and frankly, the book on the nightstand) is that little ounce of secret sauce that takes it to the next level.

Okay, you made it! I was afraid I lost you at “peachy pink.” How are you feeling? Did we convince you about any of these? Are there some you went “OMG YES DUH HOW DID I NEVER THINK OF THAT?” Are you on your way to buy paint RIGHT NOW!? What’s a color combo you’d be happy to never see again for the rest of your life? Tell me everything.

***Thank you to Laurren Welch, freelance writer and stylist, for helping to write and produce this post. 

Emily Henderon Updated Color Combos Of 2019 Pinterest 2500

Fin Mark


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I love peaches and oranges. To eat. I just don’t love them on the walls of my house. I actually once painted a guest room a color that claimed to be like a terra cotta clay pot. On the walls, it looked peachy pinkish — like you were stuck inside a bottle of calamine lotion. And it irritated me every time I walked into the room. But it was just paint. So even though it was a design fail for me, it was a good lesson: It helped move me toward the paint colors I DID like.

And I adore all the deep teal and turquoise shades that I’m seeing everywhere lately but … not with pink. Or persimmon. I hate to be Debby Downer but in that kitchen photo, the “blush” wall ruins the teal and emerald for me.

Say no to pink.


So interesting to se how people’s emotions are triggered by color isn’t it? I too have a bad memory of pink paint, when my (well-intentioned) step-mother painted my room Cotton Candy Pink and put up mauve curtains (very early 80s) at an age where I HATED pink. I was at least polite to her, because I did see the effort, but it took years for me to get over my personal rejection of pink as fundamentally NOT ME. Now – decades later I actually looked at thee and thought – well, I can do grown up pink if it hangs around cooler more sophisticated colors. The tea, persimmon and pink was one of my favorite looks here. But I respect and recognize your feelings of repulsion. Colors = memories = emotions for good and bad but no doubt personal.


I can feel your pain! Growing up, we had a Mamie pink bathroom. Pink tile (walls & floor), pink sink, pink bathtub, pink toilet and (bonus!) my mom coordinated everything with pink bath mats. It felt like taking a shower in a sea of cotton candy. I don’t even like to wear the color now let alone have it in my house.


That kitchen was my favorite, but I’ll admit my bedroom walls are blush, my curtains are emerald velvet and my statement chair is teal and I LOVE IT!

Love so many of the combos here.


Laurren, love your voice!

I do like the mustard. Yellow is my happy color.

All of these spaces feel more moody than what I think of for comfort/relaxation, but pretty nonetheless!


I do think yellow is more timeless than the other colors TBH. It’s like red in that way and I wish people used it more. Even if it never quite fits in my space it is always happy and when I see people use yellow I often feel the choice is more genuine and less try-hard than some of the other accent colors…


Mustard/pencil/gold yellow is great for accent pieces. In my kitchen, with white walls and charcoal cabinets, I have accents of both ice blue and mustard. The mustard (or pencil yellow) is in pieces like my standing mixer and my Le Creuset dutch oven. These shades of yellow just really pop and brighten up the place. They’re not a cutesy, Easter egg yellow. They feel more grownup.

Some people like pink/blush accents. I fall in the yellow/mustard/gold camp.


Love almost all of these, especially the mustard and burgundy; however, I’m not a fan of any wall that looks even somewhat orange. It’s something I learned from Design Star years ago: The person that painted a room any sort of orange always went home. I share those same feelings. Lol

Kayla AKA Kilo Bravo

I always felt Jenny Komenda (Little Green Notebook / Juniper) had an impeccable sense of mixing unexpected colors that I could never pull off myself….and you should check out Daniel Kanter’s (Manhattan-Nest) freshly painted basement if you are into these bright mixes!

I’m happy there were no pleas for red (burgandy, I can handle). I loved it for decor in college, and I hope I never love it again. I’ve always dug mustard and charcoal and teal (our wedding colors waaaay back in 2012) and I love when I start seeing it in more in clothing and home decor every fall. That mustard/teal/rust combo is on.point. I need more rust in my life!


That basement was the cutest. I loved his channeling of Grandpa Style lol.

Maxine Becker

Beautifully written post! I happen to love color in all its vibrant forms and found the accompanying text very interesting and informative. Will look forward to more posts by you.


I live in neutral land myself, but for future posts like these, it would be great if you could suggest a few paint colors that would achieve this look. I appreciated the occasional Farrow and Ball name, but just a couple ideas for colors to create this look would be awesome!


I have trouble with the mustard trend. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it, but mostly I just don’t think I can pull it off. I think it works better when paired with cooler tones instead earthy ones. I do love yellow, though, and have for years. I have been seeing my favorite citron hue pop up on Pinterest a lot more these days! Looks so fabulous in velvet (If only I knew where to buy it…)


I love this consideration of color and have to add the Garance Dore reveal in Domino this month (Sarah Sherman Samuel’s work) which does terra-cotta (peach) in a way I could embrace. But I’m old enough to remember when mustard/velvet was on the way out the first time and I have a hard time not associating colors with a fear of becoming dated. I am glad the whole world doesn’t feel this way so I can appreciate color elsewhere, but my home (and wardrobe) is likely to remain tied to the trends in metals and wood tones, which also come and go. But in this lovely study you’ve pulled together I keep thinking how nice it is to see more color variation – the whole influence of social media on design (versus print) feels to me to emphasize the need for a simple color story with, at most, four colors, as somehow being more photogenic? Easier to consume in the few seconds/minutes most people give it before “liking’? So a nuanced and fresh and real as these color palettes feel, I just can’t get over how we are going to feel about them when the trend moves on.


The blue and maroon palette, although presented in a much more sophisticated way here, will forever be cemented in my mind as classic “country” colors of the early 90’s. I still have nightmares about all those country geese!


That is totally what I was thinking. I hated that trend when it was new in the late 80s, and I still can’t stand it. I remember walking through a newly built house with my Mom that had mauve countertops and country blue wallpaper with a stencilled flowers print and I wanted to gag — I thought it was horrible.

Funny, too, the rust trend reminds me so much of the carpet in my brother’s bedroom when we were kids. But not in a bad way. It just takes me back to that house/time.


How often is too often to repaint your entire first floor? I have a (really lovely) neutral space that I actually love, but this post is making me want to burn it to the ground! But it was just painted it all two or three years ago sooo…


LOVE these color combos! So dramatic, and I’m into it. Love seeing design that strays a bit from your usual M.O.

Cf Betcher

Dark green and blush!!!! My favorite!! I painted my office floor dark green, walls grey and ceiling is pale pink!! Off to buy a bright yellow pillow….


Maybe because it’s March and i’ve been staring at a sea of white for months (Minnesotan here) but these colors are making my heart sing. Not as bold as this but today i’m heading to buy paint to paint my daughters closet door a soft peach (her room is gray with peach, soft green and soft blue accents) and to paint my nightstands a sfot blue/gray. #bringonthecolor


Oh gosh this post is so delicious I want to set it in front of me like bowls of ice cream and eat.

In the self-aggrandizement arena, I JUST posted on Twitter about the Mustard Moment, this week.

In the other people are great world, did you see Daniel’s two-green basement on Manhattan Nest? So awesome. Also I feel like you guys would have fun together.


I think that what makes a lot of these rooms work is their lack of fussiness and use of restraint. Many of them don’t have layers upon layers of decor or objets and most of the smaller items in the room stick to the same palette as the room itself. I feel like that would be more difficult to manage in an average home. (And this is coming from someone who tries to have everything stick to the color palette, but homey and necessary things like books, kid’s items, etc are hard to find in many of these hues.)

To me, the restraint is what separates the use of these color palettes from say, the maroon and light blue of the 80’s.


Here’s my plug for a post on making lame color combos work: I love rose gold and aqua, but I’m struggling hard with not having them veer into the “totally 80s” lane they threaten to do. Yes, this is me begging for help, from either readers or the EHD experts–I want to be bold and adventurous with color, but damn, it’s not working just yet…

Julie S

Erm. I don’t like all neutral homes a la Joanna Gaines but these are way too much for me! I feel smothered looking at a lot of them. However that second photo with just the orange above the fireplace actually made me smile. My own home has light airy paint and off white accents in most of the rooms as a base, with a happy dose of the colors natural green, warm navy, and terracotta. So I do like color a la Em’s usual style, but nothing is budging me from the airy neutral vibe backing it up. Frankly most of these photos looked almost like they were from 30 year old magazines to me! I cannot.


I LOVE color and am so glad all the possibilities are getting more attention, not just the standard white or safe combinations. Maybe it’s the endless winter but I’ve also been enjoying pushing myself for intense and moody spaces in my own home… I’ve done deep wine walls with blush and mint recently, as well as mauve walls with mustard/ochre and charcoal, and love every minute.


This post gives me all the ideas, so many beautiful combinations. It’s the proportions of each, along with smart choices for the accents, that take it from meh to amazing.


YES!!! I love every one of these & this is exactly what I’ve been trying to see in my next room. I’m glad to see this maximalism in colors & paint. We’ll be moving & I was worried about the yellow floors with a pink wall.

Last week I was dying for pink on pink, this week I centered on a terra-cotta & blue rug that I saw. Today I want to swim in the turquoise & red-orange room.

Such fun! Great post.


Yes, yes, yes! So happy to see color coming back. The light and bright so often feels too sterile to me. Color combos like this help make a room so much more memorable, which is the name of the design game right?

Also, loving Laurren’s voice here! And currently researching where to buy a Flintstones push up.


Love to see some rich color up in here! Peach + Coral, Terracotta + Cobalt, Teal + Rust + Mustard… I think I like these because this is how I dress, hehe. Thanks for the inspiration.


I just love how it looks like you are bringing old items back to life in a new modern color! It all looks wonderful!


Honestly “why settle for one shade when you can have them all” is going to be my new 2019 mantra.


These color combos are amazing! They really bring out the best in each other. All the heart eyes! I can’t even pic one as my favorite…but I’m loving the peach+persimmon+teal!

Naomi Kaplan

I’m 100% on board with that dark green room with pink and yellow. Although I’m biased as that’s my current situation. I love seeing and learning about great color combinations in the home. To my eye the more color I can show off the more vibrant and alive my house feels. Although then I get envious of Emily’s restraint! 🙂

If you’re also on the more color bandwagon, someone I adore following who’s turned me on to fantastic color combinations is Jenny Komeda. She taught me that lavender and lipstick red are gorgeous together, along with sage green and pale blue. And also helped me confront my fear of spray painting furniture.


These color combinations are so lovely and thoughtfully considered! I have to admit, I did fall pretty hard for the Dusty Blue + Maroon + Wood Tones. Not only do I love that mix, but out of all of the palettes, I personally feel like that’s one I could maybe see myself actually trying. As much as I love color, I’m so intimidated when it comes to incorporating them into my spaces or even in my wardrobe. (Hence, why I always wear black.) Thank you for posting about them, they are truly inspirational, bookmarking incase I ever feel daring enough.


I love color and use blue and orange accents throughout my home, (and I’ve ventured into mustard accents lately), but there’s not a single combo in this list that didn’t feel incredibly dated to me. Any combo with peach and teal takes me right back to Miami Vice or the Southwest trend in the 80s, and most shades of green either harken back to hospital green or Victorian-era dark green. I could probably live with a couple of these combos for a short time, and then I’d be itching to change them.


Great examples and commentary! They’re all pretty engaging though due to my age, anything with turquoise + orange brings me back to the HoJo’s of my childhood and makes me want a clam roll and ice cream!


So good! I’ve never felt more inspired to paint! Saving this roundup for lots of future reference.

Lauren Rourke

This article is so fun and enlightening! I’m constantly looking for inspiration for home decor, but often find myself deep in an unrealistic white washed space that never feels like it has personality. I always felt afraid to embrace color on color, but through this exploration I see now I NEED it! A lot of those combos feel neutral and airy, but have depth and mood – everything I’m trying to create in a space. Love it – what an eye opener! Hope to hear from Laurren again!


That maroon (pink) and dusty blue…newp. Too much like the blue and pink country-style decor of the 90s.


Gimme all the colors! Beautiful words and photos – thanks Laurren!

Renee Bouffard-McManus

That kitchen and the rust bed are my favourites! I’m not sure though if I just like seeing them in photos or if I would actually like living with them everyday.

Paula Carr

Color. Color. Color!!!! I find when I’m looking through a shelter magazine, I tend to skip quickly by the neutral interiors…they mostly bore me. I’m not crazy about all these combinations, but color adds a layer to an interior that almost nothing else can. With stark white walls it takes a LOT of talent to not make the furniture and accessories look “floaty.”

But that two-tone green wall? It’s exactly the color of the walls in one of the Brit police shows I watch. 🙂


Very helpful! After the beautiful moody house tour earlier this week I gave the green IKEA a second look, but didn’t know how to incorporate them. Well now I know they will look great in my son’s room mixed with his Minted abstract art that features his favorite yellow and some pink.


Hmm, I don’t think these clash. Most of these are just versions of complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel), shades of blue/orange and shades of green/pink (like the blush/teal).


SOLD! Your examples are convince me 100%! I could live in ANY of these rooms! I LOVE color and these are all bold, yet not gaudy.

Julie Dawson

That bathtub. big sigh


Nerd art teacher alert: I think what makes these photos so appealing is that they are split compliments on the color wheel…not just compliments. To simplify that even more: the designers are going with the formula of two warm colors and a cool or two cool colors and a warm. Often times, the two are analogous (neighbors on the color wheel or pallet) and still mostly earth tones (colors mixed with a neutral tone/brown to tone down the hue). Take a tip from painters and do it!!! Split compliments are much more soothing to the eye.


Side serious question:

How many of y’all, designers and lovers of design, think about what you learned in art class? Bc A lot of my art students love it but go into other fields, which is totally cool and I love that art has enters their life!!!
Segway: I’ve been doing a series of 30 minute Friday visits from folks from art and design fields at my high school that I teach at…it’s just conversations about art, making it, enjoying it, and having a career in it if you want…my students lovingly refer to it as “conversations about art over bad coffee” (pleas don’t sue us Seinfeld…it’s only a joke!) and they’re understanding that theirs something that they can do with their gift throughout their future, beit a career or a hobby. It’s so cool. Anyways…
So my question is (are):
Do you think about color therory and those assignments that you had to do? Did it light up an idea or something in you…even later in life? Do you carry that aesthetic knowledge with you even if you aren’t in the design field by career?

Just wondering! 🙂

Love you Em and Co!

Paula Gooding



This is very fun to see and surprising!
In almost all these pictures, I imagine myself in the rooms and I feel uncomfortable. There is no peace with these color combinations. A pop of color speaks to me and creates interest. With so many and so much color in some of these spaces, your eye can’t rest anywhere. I do love orange and pink! I have used these colors in decor but not together and in moderation. It will be interesting to see if this really takes off.


Ahh, the post that will launch 1,000 Pins! Love ther color combos and the writer’s style. But really, hunter green, pink, and yellow is giving me life!


Wow. I think all these combos are hideous! ???


Ok. Ready to redo MY ENTIRE HOUSE.


I loved this post. These are MY colors. My house that I decorated mostly in 2009 is now finally in “style”. Ha! Yay me.

Glen Conklin

Just discovered your site and I’m so inspired by your take on modern victorian.As I work and sell at the Grandview Mercantile in Col Oh.Which is a High end upscale resale antique art custom furniture jewelry and some vintage designer clothing.Can’t wait to start the mix of victorian to 80s modern.Your just the shot in the arm I needed.thnx so very much.

Glen Conklin

I think all the color hues and combinations are great refreshing and inspiring.Nothing here to remind me of the mauve turquoise and pinks of the 80s And I like the 80s look that Kelly is bringing back with a new twist.


Love love love at least half of these! I love color and this is so refreshing! I cannot handle the tup picture with the coral molding, too wonderful.


Yes! I’ve been desperate to change my dining room and was inspired by what most people must have thought were ugly copper, rust velvet cutains. They were final sale clearance from west elm and then went with a super dark charcoal navy/green wall color ( Sherwin Williams: Mount Etna ) . It’s dramatic and rich and not for everyone and I love it. I’m keeping everything else simple with a black and white wood cut and that’s it.

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