12 July 2012

Olympic inspiration

Sometimes, dear readers, I feel like I’m thisclose to losing whatever blogging creditability I’ve built up. Sure, I completely redid our laundry closet in board and batten for $100! We installed hardwood floors, refinished our kitchen cabinets, and replaced our laminate countertops all by ourselves! Our old house was completely reinvented by our own hands and you guys came along for the ride!

And now! Now.

Now I have a new apartment and 99% of the time I have no idea what to do with it. And unfortunately, you guys are along for that ride, too.

But this is normal, I think! I remember when several big-name bloggers each moved to a new home, those bloggers who make a living talking about their house and the fun stuff they do to it. They all mentioned an overwhelming loss of creativity and sense of “OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE”. Considering I don’t make a penny on this blog, let alone support my family with my DIY projects, it seems reasonable to be experiencing a bit of “decorator’s block” too. Must happen to the best of them!

So. I’m starting over, in a lot of ways. And one way is with one of my all-time favorite decorator’s tools: paint chips. Not that I can paint the walls right now! But there is something very inspiring, very comforting about being surrounded by color and all its possibilities, yes?

In my most recent paint-department-therapy-section, I was checking out the Olympic colors (you guys know my fondness for Olympic, right?). There I found these nifty guides which are either new, or completely unnoticed by me until now:

Most paint companies produce these guides, but usually... they are not very good. They include colors no one in real life would use, or they grab a photo and extrapolate paint colors onto it after the fact, or they slap together a bunch of colors with different undertones and call it a “collection” despite the fact that the colors have no reason to belong together.

But these! Not only do these guides contain colors (at least more colors) that people would actually use, but Olympic colors often coordinate very nicely. As a matter of fact, I discovered the “Easy” color guide had several colors that we used in our old home:

Hello Almond Paste and Weeping Willow! I would put you on my walls here if I could.

Of all the different collections, I think I was most drawn to “Easy”. I mean, do you see those white dishes on the cover up there?! And I’d be happiest if my house looked like this photo:

Another thing I really liked about these guides was the 60%-30%-10% rule, illustrated above. Pick one color (usually a neutral) for the wall color to make up 60% of the visual space, use a second color (usually subdued) for large furniture or rugs that make up 30%, and choose the third color (usually bright) for pops of color in about 10% of the space. I’m not sure I’ve explicitly heard this rule before, but once it’s spelled out (like “rule of threes” and “high and wide”) it makes a lot of sense!

As much as I liked the “Easy” collection, I was also drawn to the “Traditional”, with its richer, darker colors:

And mostly I liked it because of this room in the “Traditional” guide:

All neutrals – especially black and white – and blue walls! Yes, please. Feels very familiar!

I also held on to the “Creative” color guide, even though the colors are a little bolder and brighter than those I usually pick:

While I don’t love orange – okay, I avoid orange at all costs – I was bizarrely drawn to this room with a giant orangey-red table in the “Creative” color palette:

I wouldn’t replicate it item for item, but the overall feel of the room is something I’d enjoy!

I finally decided that just like you use colors in 60%-30%-10%, I would try to use the palettes in the same proportion: 60% “Easy” because it does mostly represent my style, 30% “Traditional” to add some dark, dramatic colors, and 10% “Creative” to add some punches of color and tone that I wouldn’t normally use!

Finally, the best part of these guides – and I may have squealed over this – is that the chips are all removable, and they give you this little “playground” on the back:

Playground indeed! I’ve already spent some time pulling the different colors in groups of threes to see how they work together. Yes, that’s my idea of a super fun afternoon.

So while I’m still a bit stymied on a lot of our apartment decorating, I want to thank Olympic for at least getting some of the creative juices flowing again. Oh, and there were more guides than I’ve shown here; these are just the ones I liked the most! So if you’re stuck, consider dropping by an Olympic paint chip display (at Lowe’s) and get inspired!


Rachel C said...

When I bought my house I was super excited about decorating. Then moved in and froze...it took us over a year to do anything, even hang pictures. Now I am enjoying and embracing the slow and steady decorating method. :-)

Also, I am super excited to see your thought process for decorating your new apartment, even if it's just "watching" you move furniture around or play wih paint chips.