Black In The Kitchen

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A real life interior designer once told me that every room needs at least a bit of black. I believe she was entirely accurate, and some rooms will do quite well with more than just a bit. Black can be intimidating for a lot of people. Won’t it make the room too dark? Won’t it feel gloomy? Well it might, but if its use is well thought out it can be dramatic, modern, even cozy. Just like other hues, the way black feels and works in a room entirely depends on its application. If you really don’t want your room to feel dark and especially if you don’t have much natural light, of course you don’t want to paint everything black. The above kitchen uses black liberally but there’s also a lot of white, light floors, and sunlight.

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Okay yes, this is definitely more dark navy than it is black, but it gives a similar effect. Another common misconception is that dark colors simply can not work in small spaces. Again, I think the key in any size room is to make sure the darkness is not going to be overwhelming, that it’s balanced. Even with a dark ceiling and floors, the counter and backsplash create a bright visual break, and ample lighting including under-cabinet and in-cabinet makes the room glow.

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This is more in line with the “bit of black” principle and isn’t it gorgeous? I realize not everyone is able to find things like ovens and range hoods so thrilling but I sure can. Not only is this massive cooking area incredibly functional, it’s so pretty to look at. That’s my favorite kind of functional. Brass, black, and white. Hard to go wrong with that combo. How do you like the dark grout with the subway tile? It certainly gives it a modern pop that light grout wouldn’t. I love the dark grout but personally I’d probably go lighter.

one | Bo Bedre via nicety
two |  Ashley Whittaker Design via dustjacket attic
three | Domino via nicety


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I sure do love a good dose of quirk in interior design. Fuschia pink walls? Not for the faint of heart, to be sure, but it gives this space so much vibrancy and playfulness. Add some vintage cat art and you’ve clearly got a homeowner who doesn’t give a damn, in the best possible way.

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Ah yes, what was I saying about vintage art? Kitsch can be just very very bad… but it can also be a perfect moment of humor and levity. It is not easy to pull off though. Notice how all these pieces share the same basic color palette. This ties them together and keeps the arrangement from looking too cuckoo crazy. There’s a trace of theme (dogs and portraits) but it doesn’t have to be overly rigid. Truly this just takes probably years of collecting and practice mixing together gallery walls until you get really good at it. Something I have not accomplished yet, by the way.

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Alright if fuchsia walls or kitsch art is too much for you, quirkiness can be found in much smaller and equally pleasing doses. I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned that I am quite the Star Trek fan. You can bet when I saw this image the first thing I did was google “Worf pencil cup” to no avail. (It’s actually a mug made in the ’90s and yes, they probably made all the characters. It’s a good thing I don’t have a stronger collector bug.)

one Julie Ansiau via desire to inspire
two | Hannah Metz via The Selby
three | Jim Franco

Snazzy Living Rooms

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I suspect many of you are looking that photo thinking, “What the heck?” I certainly don’t love everything about it but the spirit of it is insane, in a good way. A mostly good way. I mean first of all just the architecture of this room alone is killer, and I particularly love the art all nicely framed by the moulding, and the way the pieces get progressively smaller as you go down the wall. I don’t really care for those specific modern art pieces in the center, but I do like that they mixed in modern art. I love the leopard print chairs against the wall and the chandelier (of course). I have mixed feelings about the hand seat because while I think those are awesome in a way I also think they’re creepy in a way. I’m leaning towards creepy at the moment. What do you think? Things I don’t like in this room are the carpet, the floral print on the chairs and floor cushions, the color of the sofas or any of those pillows really. Marilyn’s a little weird too.


Mmm so cozy and vintage. I really need some plants.

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This is my favorite. Rustic architecture filled with modern furnishings. A hit of pink and red but otherwise neutral. Love it. The reason you see tags on the pillows and stacks of identical books is because this is the Design Files Open House.

one | Jorge Elias via Architectural Digest
twoJessie Artigue via Design*Sponge
three | The Design Files Open House

Stylin’ Bedrooms

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So bold and chic. Quite a bit more pattern and attitude than most people I know can handle. The wallpaper doesn’t feel so busy because of its neutral colors and fairly low contrast. It’s almost more of a texture than a pattern. When mixing patterns it’s good to keep in mind the scale of each pattern. Meaning some patterns are small scale, with small repeating shapes, and others are large scale more like the rug in this room. Patterns work best together if their scale is not too similar. So a smaller scale next to a larger scale will work best. Also: BRASS HEADBOARD yummy.

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This is how you do bright colors, folks. Not on the walls. I mean sure, sometimes bright colors work on the walls but it takes a lot of skill and forethought to pull it off. I prefer neutral walls with colorful decor.

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Brass brass brass on white white white. Love it.

one | Erin Williamson
two | Rickie Dee via The Design Chaser
threeKatarina Grundströmer via desire to inspire


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