The Best Colors for Your Spring Redesign

You probably already know that certain colors make you feel certain ways. For instance, you might adore purple and absolutely hate yellow, or you might be attracted to every shade of green under the sun. But did you know that colors truly can affect how we think and feel? Before you reach for that paint swatch and make a commitment to a certain color in your home, make sure you know what each color might mean for your mood, appetite and even your metabolism. 

The color you choose to brush on your walls can have a major effect on your everyday life. You want to create something that not only reflects the way you love to feel, but also conveys what you believe in and dream about. So without further ado, here are some of the most popular colors and what they really mean.


Red Eclectic Dining Room.jpg

Photo Credit: Eclectic Dinig Room by Boston Interior Designer (m) + charles beach INTERIORS

Everything from deep red to cherry fire-engine red can be appealing, but keep in mind that red is know to boost appetite. This makes it a perfect option for the dining room or kitchen. In fact think about some of the biggest fast food-restaurants – what color is their signage? Most of them have at least a touch of red. But avoid putting red in your office, because it has also been shown to cut down on the effectiveness of studying. 


Blue Modern Office.jpg

Photo Credit: Modern Home Office by Chicago Photographer Cynthia Lynn PhotographyFeeling blue? Then you might be very productive! Blue is known for curbing appetite and keeping production levels high, so put it in your office. It is also great for calmness and serenity, as well as being a favorite color for men, so blue accents in the man cave might be an excellent idea.


Green Traditional Hall.jpg

Photo Credit: Traditional Hall by Weston Architect Oak Hill ArchitetThis color mimics nature, so is it any wonder that it brings to mind good health and tranquility? Turn to green for your bedroom, reading room or anywhere else that you want to relax. Green is also an excellent color for those who have a strong affinity for nature, for obvious reasons.


Yellow Traditional Living Room.jpg

Photo Credit: Traditional Living Room by Wooster General Contractor Weaver Custom HomesThis cheerful, warm color is a popular one for nurseries, but unfortunately, it has been shown to make babies cry. Keep the peace by keeping yellow in your kitchen, mudroom or sunroom. Yellow can give you more energy and even boost your metabolism.


White Traditional Entry.jpg

Photo Credit: Traditional Entry by Los Angeles Artist & Artisan Blue Tangerine ArtIf you want to create the illusion of space, white is the way to go. This innocent, pure color creates the perfect backdrop for any kind of decor and keeps the room airy at the same time. Pair white with a big mirror for big impact.


Brown Traditional Office.jpg

Photo Credit: Traditional Home Office by Charlotte Interior Designer Carolina Design Associates, LLCThose who choose brown are practical, careful people. Put this in your office, living room or use it as an accent color. However, be sure to spice it up with a containing color; brown can also mean “boring” if you use too much of it.

Other Colors to Consider

What about colors that are a bit off the beaten path? Experts have plenty to say about that, too.

  • Pink is a feminine color that makes people feel safe and happy.

  • Purple brings to mind royalty and wealth; in fact, many kings throughout history have worn purple robes, the sign of power.

  • Orange gets attention and conveys excitement and enthusiasm, so use it in a room where busy people are, such as the playroom for the kids.

Finally, keep in mind that black conveys exactly what you probably think; death, mourning and darkness. Black can make a great accent or furniture color, but you might want to steer clear from putting it on your walls, as it can also make a room look smaller.

Now that you know, what color will you choose for your springtime design?

(You are reading an article originally posted on Build Direct Blog.)

Easy Green: 23 Ways to Reduce Waste at Home

We all know that growing landfill mass and, sadly, even trash floating out at sea are real issues, but it can be hard to know where to start if you want to make a difference. Thankfully, it’s actually quite easy to cut way down on your household trash by making tiny changes in your shopping habits and daily routines. If you would like to reduce the amount of trash your household creates but are not quite sure how to do it, these 23 tips can help. They are all easy to implement and can add up to a reduction in waste that makes a difference. 

Living Room and Entertaining

1. Switch to digital downloads of movies and music if you haven’t yet.

2. Ask for and give consumable or homemade gifts. Think event tickets, dinner reservations and edible treats.

3. Stop junk mail and paper bills, and cancel subscriptions that you don’t read.

Bedroom and Wardrobe

4. Be picky. By choosing to buy only what you love and know you will wear, you can slim your wardrobe and love it more.

5. Shop vintage.

6. Bring cloth shopping bags of your own… even to the mall.

7. Mend and tailor instead of toss. Take a cue from our grandparent’s generation and work with what you have.


8. Buy soap in bulk and decant it into reusable containers.

9. Keep lots of cloth towels on hand instead of paper.

10. As long as it is relatively clean, you can reuse aluminum foil several times.

11. Give old clothes and linens a second life – cut them up and reuse them as cleaning rags.

Buying Groceries

12. Shop farmer’s markets, produce stands and natural food markets – you will find the freshest and most local food that’s minimally packaged.

13. Avoid buying single-serving packages. Pick the larger containers instead.

14. Keep plenty of reusable bags around. If you have trouble remembering to bring bags, try keeping stashes of them in your car, by the front door, in your office and anywhere else they might come in handy.


15. Use real dishes and cloth napkins every day.

16. Try an alternative to plastic wrap. Place a plate on top of a bowl to store leftovers in the fridge or purchase reusable dish covers.


17. Our pets don’t ask for much, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to buy them all sorts of things. Keep things simple and stick with a few favorite toys and accessories.

18. Buy your most frequently used pet supplies in bulk to cut down packaging.


19. Simplify your beauty routine – fewer products means less waste.

20. Use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels for cleaning.

21. Buy the biggest packages of toilet paper you can find to reduce packaging.


22. Make friends with your public library. If you haven’t explored your local library lately, consider giving it another look and borrow a book, movie or music CD instead of buying.

23. Rethink leisure time. Relax in your backyard, cook dinner for friends, walk in nature, go for a bike ride, have a picnic or read a book – from the library!

BIG in 2013

Elle Decor’s Editor in Chief breaks down the trends that will define the year ahead. Plus see more design world predictions with Curbed’s Magic 8 Ball.

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Photo: Elle Decor

TREND: Lots of Brass

With its rich gleam and sculptural weight, this metal is experiencing a resurgence. With so many designers looking to the ’70s, it’s inevitable that brass and bronze will show up more – from accessories by Carl Aubock to cocktail tables by Gabriella Crespi to virtually entire rooms by Kelly Wearstler, brass is the metal of the moment.


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Photos (left to right): Brass Staircase, Mikkel Vang | Carl Aubock Brass Bookends, Elle Decor | 1970s Brass Mastercraft Cocktail Table & Burl-wood-and-brass Cabinet, Eric Piasecki

TREND: Green

Pantone named Emerald the Color of the Year for 2013, but we’re seeing all shades of greens and expect more in the future, from bright spring greens to olives, and especially lots of different blue-greens and teal.


Photos (left to right): Stephen Gambrel room, Eric Piasecki | Michael Leva room, Eric Piasecki | Barnaba Fornasetti room, Andrea Ferrari

TREND: Embellished Walls

We expect this trend, already strong, to continue at full strength. The options now are limitless, from simple grass cloths to hand-painted papers to coverings embellished with glass beads and crystals. 

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Photos (left to right): Painted Walls, Simon Upton | Flat Vernacular Wallpapers, Geoffrey Sokol | Schumacher Wallpapers, Björn Wallander


Your grandmother’s tablecloth is now hip. Already big on the runways, lace is showing up in the home collections of Zara and H&M, so you know it’s ready for its close-up. Count on seeing lots more see-through in the months ahead.


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Photos (left to right): Jason Wu/Canvas, Björn Wallander | Chinpracha House, Vincente Wolf

TREND: Beige

A surprise, but it’s showing up more often, and in quieter room settings. The danger here is going corporate bland, but very talented designers are using a variety of shades of cream, off-white, and yes; beige in a variety of textures to create serene settings. This could be the start of a backlash against all the vivid colors and layered rooms we’ve been seeing for the past few years. 


Photos (left to right): Zelenko & Piscuskas home, Miguel Flores-Vianna | Robert Stilin Hamptons House, Anita Sarsidi & William Waldron | Knight & Aponte’s home, Miguel Flores-Vianna 

Home Resolutions for 2013

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The end of the year is a perfect time to look on the past year’s accomplishments, and to look forward to new ones in the next twelve months. Resolutions have a way to up our confidence and trust that the next year will be better than the last. They anchor us into goals and hopes and help us navigate the flow of time.

Most people make resolutions about themselves: I will eat better, exercise more, be nicer to people, find a better job, give more to charity, get involved in church groups. There are so many things to do, and yet we tend to forget one of the most important things: our home. Our home is where we spend the most time, where we sleep, where we eat, where we share happy moments or weather difficult times with our loved ones. Isn’t it time that you think about your home for your resolutions?

Resolution 1: I will keep clutter away

Clutter can be a sign of an unhappy heart or an unfocused mind. Especially for people who spend a lot of time at home, clutter can become distracting and reflect a lack of care about your space, and ultimately ourselves.

This year, we talked about the emotional baggage associated with clutter and how to move on without it. What are the things you’re holding on to? How do these things manifest themselves in your home? What should you be letting go of?

Keeping clutter away means keeping an open home and an open heart.

Resolution 2: I will make my home greener

Strand-woven bamboo flooring with an “ebony” stain. Sophisticated, and green too. You don’t have to give up one to serve the other in the 21st Century.

There’s no denying it: the Earth needs help. It has been the warmest period for hundreds of years. Even though it sometimes feels like an insurmountable mountain, every small gesture to reduce your use of electricity, your waste production of your carbon footprint helps. 

From low-consumption light bulbs to eco flooring like bamboo or woven grass, there’s always a way to make your home a little greener and a little gentler on the environment. Here are some more ideas:

  • Start a composting bin in your backyard

  • Install low-flow toilets and shower heads

  • Reduce your winter heating needs with new windows or e-film

  • Reduce your summer air conditioning needs with better ventilation

  • Install automatic light switches and temperature control

  • Start growing your own vegetables and herbs in a garden patch

How could your house be greener? Involve the whole family in choosing specific actions to do every day to help the environment.

Resolution 3: I will make something with my hands

When’s the last time you made an object with your own hands? Are the clothes you wear, the chairs you sit on and the bowls you eat in all bought from stores? Have you ever felt the satisfaction of making a useful object yourself? It may be time for a DIY resolution.

Naturally crafty people tend to like having their own craft room. Magical things happen there: clothes are sewed, scarves and mittens are knitted, jewels are designed and scrapbooks are put together. It happens with patience, practice and dedication, and the reward is always worth it. Crafters are naturally generous, giving away their objects to friends and loved ones; they are creative, always inventing new patterns and transforming materials into beautiful objects.

Making and DIY is a sort of retro-volution, going back to when things were made, proudly and lovingly, instead of bought, quickly and anonymously. DIY increases your sense of belonging in a space and your independence from a capricious market. There are whole communities devoted to DIY where people happily share their knowledge, experience and tips and tricks among themselves, build community and help each other. There are even more Makerspaces scattered across North America, where people without the proper tools or space can go and work on DIY projects. 

Maybe the first step towards making something with your hands is to look up your local Makerspace?

Resolution 4: I will spend more time outside

It seems counter-intuitive to suggest spending more time outside when speaking about home resolutions, but spending more time out of doors is linked to mental and physical health. Going outdoors means being more active, having more contacts with nature and being more social.

If time is scarce, you can always get more time outside by getting an outdoor office or an outdoor breakfast nook. The point of the exercise is to breathe fresh air, move around more and get more sunlight, even in winter. 

Making your home more comfortable doesn’t mean spending all your time in it… have you ever heard of cabin fever? Contact with nature is an essential part of human life, and spending time outside is just as important as having an inviting, relaxing bedroom.

What are your home resolutions for 2013?