ICP_7353Interestingly, Benjamin Moore named “Simply White” their color of the year for 2016. Other paint companies like Sherwin Williams, Behr and Gladden have also listed versions of white in their their forecasts for 2016 and going forward. Why white? It’s part of a larger societal trend favoring simplicity and timelessness. White is recognized as a fantastic backdrop color— one that sets the stage for everything else that will be happening in the room.

ICP_5806White and all of its many iterations can be terrific wall colors— white with a hint of yellow, pink or peach can add so much subtle warmth to a space, while white with slight undertones of blue or green can cool off a room. White also sets off other colors beautifully— think of crisp white crown molding or a fireplace mantel contrasting with the deeper wall color behind it. But white is not just for trim and moldings— furniture, walls, window treatments, tile, and cabinetry all look terrific in tints, tones and shades of white.

Using white in your interior design allows you to be more adventurous with the other colors in the space. In one recent project, the client loved bold colors like purple, red and cobalt, so we used crisp white on most of the walls, then used those bold colors strategically on accent walls and even some ceilings to create a modern, “art gallery” type of look.

If you want a mix of colors, but don’t tend to like bold, bright hues, use white and creams, paired with light grays and tans to create a very elegant and restful interior. In another project, we used a variety of whites, creams and other soft neutrals for the fireplace mantel and tile, the finish on the chairs, the upholstery fabric, window treatments and area rug. The result is a beautiful, inviting living room that will stand the test of time.

ICP_7193White kitchen cabinets are hugely popular right now, as they coordinate with almost any other color and work in almost all design styles from contemporary to traditional. In this kitchen, the crisp white cabinets coordinate beautifully with the aqua blues in the backsplash tile and the quartz counters, while the wood floor and island add warmth and contrast to the space.

ICP_2827And there’s no way to go wrong with a white bathroom. White tile always looks clean and fresh, and you can add a lot of personality with wall color, window treatments, art and accessories.

Some advice to clients who are afraid of color: if you’re defaulting to white for your walls because you are afraid to take a leap and try color, please get over that fear! Most people love colorful interiors when they see them, and just need a nudge to try something new. That said, if you are intentionally choosing white for your interior design, then go with it wholeheartedly and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. If white is the color of the year for 2016, then you know you’re in great company.

Custom drapes and top treatment add softness and color to this living room, while offering privacy.

Custom drapes and top treatment add softness and color to this living room, while offering privacy.

If it’s time to update the window treatments in your home, please allow me to offer you some advice. With so many choices out there—from brands to styles to colors and materials—it can get overwhelming. But on the flip side, with so many choices available, there is no reason not to find the perfect solution for your windows.

As you are investigating your options, make sure to keep in mind functionality as well as beauty. For instance, do you like your room to be dark in the morning? If so, select a window treatment with a room-darkening lining. Some products are described as “black-out” or room-darkening; others are described as “light-dimming.” As you can imagine, “light-dimming” is just that—it dims the sunlight coming into the room, rather than blocking it completely. Only you can decide which option is best for your needs.

Another consideration is light control. Are you a person who opens the drapes each morning and closes them at night? If so, then a single-function window treatment is probably right for you. Examples of single-function coverings are drapes, honeycomb shades, Roman shades and roller shades—anything where the covering is either open or closed. These types are great for a number of reasons, but they offer no light control. Dual-function coverings offer light control options. Examples of this type are wood blinds, shutters, vertical blinds, and Silhouettes. With dual-function shades, you can have them completely open or closed, and also have the option of controlling the light by opening and closing the louvers or slats. This can be important for reducing glare on a TV or a computer, and also for providing privacy without blocking all of the light.

This Silhouette Window Shading offers light control, privacy and a beautiful soft look at this kitchen window.

This Silhouette Window Shading offers light control, privacy and a beautiful soft look at this kitchen window.

Some clients enjoy the clean lines of the blinds and shutters by themselves, while other clients choose to dress their windows even more with drapery panels and top treatments. Curtain panels, with or without a valance, add a beautiful finishing touch to your windows. Did you know that valances, draperies and curtain panels are more popular than ever? After years of plain windows, clients are back to embellishing their windows with layered window treatments.

If you have purchased new window coverings recently, you probably had some sticker shock over the prices. It’s not uncommon to spend hundreds of dollars on one window treatment, depending on the style and material chosen, of course. It’s true there are inexpensive options out there—wood blinds, for example, are quite affordable—but I’d like to caution you about purchasing inexpensive knock-off versions of more expensive brands. Knock-offs may be manufactured with inferior materials, leading to warping or fading, or simply not functioning properly. One important difference is the warranty on the product. Make sure to ask about the length of the warranty, and what is covered. How does the manufacturer handle any repairs that might be needed down the road? Is the shade reparable or are you out of luck if something goes wrong? It’s common for higher-priced brands to last years and years before needing any repairs. The most common repairs are for broken lift cords. And fortunately, those are relatively easy to deal with.

Plantation shutters provide privacy and light control, and are a timeless look for any room.

Plantation shutters provide privacy and light control, and are a timeless look for any room.

With inexpensive brands, the warranty may be for only two or three years; higher-end brands offer limited lifetime warranties. What does limited mean? It might mean that after 10 years, some repairs are still covered at no charge, while others might carry a nominal fee. Lifetime warranty can also mean that the blind will never fade or warp. One important note: while the manufacturer might cover the cost of the actual repair, installers will charge to come out to remove and replace the blind, and some dealers may charge a service charge for sending the blind back and handling the paperwork. Even with these charges, repairs should still be more economical than purchasing a new shade.

How long will you be living in your home? If you plan to stay awhile, invest in top-of-the-line window fashions. Even if you are planning a move in the next few years, it is important to know that beautiful custom window treatments can be a very attractive selling feature for your home.

In my closet, I have several black garments— dresses, pants, tops and shoes. Black is most definitely a color that is always in style, and one that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on what you pair with it. It’s such a versatile color, and since it works so well in a wardrobe, it also works extremely well in interior design.ICP_2933

Black is a favorite color for many interior designers. It’s bold, dramatic, and makes the other colors in the room pop. Black is sophisticated and elegant, and works with any design style from traditional to modern. If you look through design magazines, you may notice walls and ceilings painted black. This can really look stunning, but people can be afraid to try it, thinking it will make their rooms look small. Surprisingly, however, black has the counterintuitive effect of looking endless, like a midnight sky, so walls painted black will actually appear as if they are moving away from you. It’s a very interesting effect! (The same is true for navy blue, in case you were wondering.)

If you want to decorate with black, here are some tips for you. Conquer your fears and go bold with this wonderful color.

ICP_30141- If you decide to paint a wall or ceiling black, set it off with some stark white architectural details like crown molding, baseboards, wainscoting, window casing or chair rails. (By the way, you can also do the opposite— paint your walls in a neutral tan, and use black for the crown molding, window casing and baseboards. Its a great look!)

2- Incorporate an accent color to play off the black. Black is a great foundation color. Think of a black dress dressed up with jewelry or a colorful scarf or shoes. Try pairing it with lime green or hot pink or yellow for a playful look. Try red for drama, or stick with shades of gray and whites for a sophisticated, monochromatic look. Black (or very dark brown) floors and countertops are excellent choices as foundations for a room, combined with other colors for interest. In the bathroom photo shown, please notice how well the red accent color stands up to the high-contrast black counters and white cabinets. And in the bedroom, notice how the color scheme is repeated, but in a softer version, using charcoal gray instead of black. And in the kitchen, white, black and gray look elegant and timeless. The wood floors and taupe walls keep the room from looking cold.

3- Use silver, mirror or gold to add touches of glamorous elegance. Try a crystal chandelier against a black ceiling, or a mirrored dresser in your bedroom against a black wall or on top of ebony stained wood floors. It’s spectacular.

ICP_29744- Black can be used to tie things together. For example— let’s say you have some hand-me-down furniture that looks mismatched and haphazard in your room. Try painting them black— they will immediately look more cohesive and pulled together. This tip works well with mismatched picture frames too.

The key to using black successfully is to make sure there is some contrast to keep it from looking too dark and flat, and some warmth to keep it from looking too cold. Probably most importantly, decorating with black will take some confidence on your part. Don’t be afraid of this classic, sophisticated color— it really can look amazing.

Anna Jacoby is a local Certified Interior Designer. Contact her at 510-378-6989 or or info@annajacobyinteriors.com. You can also visit her website at www.annajacobyinteriors.com

ICP_2855Raise your hand if you enjoy doing laundry. Maybe there are a few hands raised out there, but probably not too many. But what if your laundry room were a very pleasant place to be, rather than a cramped, dingy room with no personality?

Even if you can’t undergo a large remodeling project like these two, you can at least give your space a face lift with paint, artwork, and improved organization and storage. If your budget allows, however, borrow some ideas from these two recent design projects to achieve your own beautiful and functional space.

ICP_2869Laundry rooms are often more than just a place to wash clothes. Many laundry rooms are right off of the garage, making them the first entry point into the house. Because of this, it’s important to create space for things for more than just the washer and dryer. In these two examples, we designed multi-functional rooms, specific to the needs of the families who live in these homes.

There are spaces for each child in the family to store backpacks, shoes, jackets, and ballet bags. There is a dedicated space for washing, folding and hanging clothes. There is an organizational area where important notices can be kept. The green laundry room even includes a desk for craft projects and household organization.

In both projects, we used highly durable surfaces such quartz countertops, tile backsplashes, and porcelain tile flooring. And both baths have a sink, which is very convenient for hand-washing delicate clothing, cleaning kids’ sticky fingers, and even washing small pets.

Things to keep in mind when designing a laundry room:

  • ICP_5935ICP_5939Make sure there is enough lighting. Install ceiling lighting like recessed can lights or surface-mounted fixtures. Consider a solar tube to bring in lots of natural light, especially if you have no window. I have a solar tube in my own laundry room and I just love how light and bright the room is.
  • Add color! The lively green walls and black and white flooring makes this laundry room cheerful and friendly. The blue, black, white and gray color scheme is sophisticated and timeless. In my laundry room, when it came time to replace my washer and dryer, I decided to go bold: My washer and dryer are a color called Chili Pepper Red!
  • Think about your storage needs. Laundry rooms are usually quite small, so storage space is very limited. Open cubbies can work really well for things you need to access everyday, like backpacks and shoes. Closed storage is great to hide cleaning supplies, linens, and anything else you need to store. We keep extra light bulbs and batteries in our laundry room, and I find that drawers work best for those items.
  • Add personality with wall decor. If you have wall space, hang some artwork to add some color and whimsy. How about travel photos, kids’ artwork, or inexpensive decorative art from Home Goods? In my laundry room, I have a very cute collage my daughter made for me of clothes hanging on a clothesline.

You may never actually love doing laundry, but a beautiful environment can make this everyday task more enjoyable.

Anna Jacoby is a local Certified Interior Designer. Contact her at 510-378-6989 or info@annajacobyinteriors.com.

If you’re starting a design or decorating project, it might be helpful for you to ask yourself the same questions a designer would ask you. When I meet with new clients, I aim to get to know you, your style, your taste and your design goals, so I know best how to help you. If you are embarking on a project on your own, these questions can help you focus and prioritize what’s most important to you and help you get started.

  1. What do you love about this room?

    ICP_7176Which elements are staying in the room and need to be incorporated into the new design? Sometimes the answer is “nothing!” But there is always something! Perhaps you like the large windows, or the wood flooring. Perhaps you have a comfortable sofa you’d like to keep, or a piece of artwork you bought on vacation. One client once told me, “everything in here can go EXCEPT my husband’s recliner!”

    Whatever it is, I can usually work with it. If it’s the view and the large windows you like most, I can design a seating arrangement and a window treatment that will enhance them. If it’s a piece of artwork, I can pull colors from it and design a color palette for the room. If you want to keep something because you love it, design the room to enhance it; if you have to keep it because it’s too expensive to replace right now (like not-so-attractive fireplace tile, for example), then design the room so it’s NOT the focal point. Add other elements to bring the eye to other areas in the room.

  1. What do you dislike about the room?

    What would you like to change most? Design is about aesthetics, but it is also very much about improving functionality in a space. The most common complaints I hear are: This room is too dark; the room lacks storage; I can’t figure out how to arrange the furniture as the room is too small/large/long/narrow. Fortunately all of those problems can be solved.

    Room too dark? Guess what– add lighting! Recessed lights, track lights, a chandelier, pendant lights and wall sconces are all possible options.  For space planning, draw the space to scale and use furniture templates to experiment with different arrangements. Not enough storage? Consider built-in cabinetry, or tall bookcases, or storage ottomans.

  1. How is this room used?

    This may seem an obvious question, but there are many ways to utilize a space. A dining room may indeed be for dining, but it also may need to serve as a meeting room for business or social gatherings; a living room may serve best as a library or home office; a guest room may need to be a room for grandkids, craft projects or even daytime napping.

    It’s important to determine all of the activities that need to take place so you can design accordingly. A Murphy bed with a built-in worktable might be a perfect solution for your guest room. And a buffet in your dining room may be better suited for storing art or office supplies instead of those seldom-used “good dishes.”

  1. What colors do you love?

    And are there any colors you really don’t like? Don’t worry about what’s popular—if you find yourself still loving colors from previous decades, have no fear. Any color can be made to look new again if it’s paired with more current colors. Pore over magazine photos, Pinterest and Houzz.com to view a wide variety of beautiful color schemes. More important than being “current” however, is being happy. So choose colors you love.

  1. What is the overall look and feel you’d like to see when we are finished with the project?

    ICP_1067Do you have a favorite look or style you are trying to achieve? I’m currently working on a large design project where our design goal has been named “Modern Urban Rustic.” Having a theme like that keeps us focused when selecting furnishings and materials. For example, we are using very rustic, reclaimed wood for the floors, combined with very modern, funky light fixtures.

  1. Are there any special needs to take into consideration?

    This is very important. For example, if there are elderly parents or people with disabilities, you may want to stay away from area rugs, which can pose a tripping hazard. With small children, you may want to look at furniture with rounded edges or leather pieces that are easy to wipe off. Satin finish paint is also a good option for rooms where kids and pets hang out.

  1. Do you want to complete this project all at once, or over time in phases?

    As long as you know your long range plan, it’s OK to tackle a project in phases. However, don’t let the project take so long that you start changing your mind about your design goals, or find yourself never finishing. Sometimes this happens on a decorating project—we get the furniture purchased and walls painted, but then the clients don’t follow through with the window treatments and accessories. The result is a room that is not quite done, which can leave everyone unsatisfied. If possible, save enough money to do the whole project at once, so you get maximum bang for your buck.

  1. And speaking of money, what is your budget for this project? Is it realistic?

    I find that clients sometimes have no idea how much things actually cost. So while they have a budget amount in their head, it often does not match the reality of what they want. Remember that we always have to add on sales tax, shipping and delivery charges, installation charges, furniture assembly charges, labor for painting, crown molding, electrical work, granite fabrication, etc. Unfortunately things always seem to be more expensive than people think, especially in the Bay Area. Just keep this in mind when establishing a budget.

  1. How long are you planning to stay in your house?

    This is definitely a question that can affect your design plan. If you are planning on selling soon, then meeting with a realtor would be helpful to get an idea of the best ways to spend your design budget. If this is your long-term house, then by all means, design it for your own taste and lifestyle. Please don’t worry so much about resale if your time horizon is more than 2-3 years. Design for yourself so you can enjoy it as long as possible.

Anna Jacoby is a local Certified Interior Designer. You can reach her at 510-378-6989 or by email at info@annajacobyinteriors.com. Visit her website at www.annajacobyinteriors.com.

Let’s face it: we are all getting older, as much as we may not like to admit it. Because of this undeniable fact, having a home you can live in comfortably for as long as possible becomes even more important. Enter universal design principles. Universal design simply means designing for all ages and abilities. It would include features like wider door ways, grab bars in the shower, taller toilets and wall-mounted sinks, among other things.

I had a client a few years ago whose husband had passed away after a long illness. They had done some remodeling already, to make the house wheelchair accessible and as comfortable for him as possible. After he passed away, she hired me to update her master bath. She is able-bodied—in fact, she is a physical trainer—but she relayed a story to me about how grateful she was for all the accessible features in her bathroom after she broke her foot! The hand shower and bench seat were particularly useful to her. Since we never know when we might be stricken with an illness or an unfortunate broken foot, incorporating universal design principles before we actually need them is definitely something to keep in mind when planning a remodel.

The good news is that there is no reason for an accessible bath to look anything other than beautiful. Hand showers, bench seats and grab bars can be a very attractive part of the overall design. Here are some features to consider when planning your bath.

Meadows-Master-2Wider doors: Standard interior doors are 30- 32 inches wide, but universal access requires 32 inches of clear space when the door is open, which usually means installing a 36-inch-wide door.  And it’s best if the door swings outward, rather than into the bathroom. If you have the space, a wider doorway is a great thing to incorporate into your design.

Grab bars: Even if you don’t think you want grab bars right now, ask your contractor to frame the walls surrounding the bathtub, in the shower and around the toilet with enough studs so that you can install them later.  Manufacturers are designing aesthetically pleasing styles nowadays, so it’s definitely possible to be stylish as well as practical.

Curbless showers: Curbless showers have no lip at the floor, so people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices have no trouble entering and exiting the shower.  The bathroom floor is sloped toward the drain, and an outward swinging wide shower door, or a shower curtain can help keep the water contained. It costs a little bit more in labor to install a curbless shower, as there is extra work involved. But in terms of accessibility, it is worth it.

ICP_0726Hand-held showerheads: These can be very handy for a variety of reasons, not just for accessibility. Many people like them because it makes it easier to clean a tub or shower; others like them because it makes it more convenient for bathing children or pets. And, I’ve worked with some clients where the husband is much taller than the wife—we’ve installed a hand shower on a slider bar, so each partner can adjust the height of the shower head as needed.

ICP_5907Bench seats in the shower: Again, these can be handy for a number of reasons. Women like them because a bench seat makes it easier to shave their legs; they also provide an extra surface for shampoo and other toiletries. If your shower space is limited, a corner bench seat can be useful without taking up a lot of space.

Taller toilets: You may have noticed that toilets are getting taller. The old standard was 14-16” in height, while the new toilets are 16-18” in height. Most people prefer this new height, as it is much easier to get up and down. Consider purchasing a soft-closing toilet seat too—it’s so much nicer to have a seat that doesn’t slam down noisily.

Wall-mounted sinks: If you do need to accommodate a wheelchair, then a wall-mounted sink is a must. With a wall-mounted sink, the person can get close to the sink and be able to use it easily. You forgo the storage that comes with a traditional vanity cabinet, but there are other ways to incorporate storage in the bath, and with the floor clear, cleaning is much easier.

Incorporating universal design features in your bath can increase the functionality of your space, without sacrificing the beauty of the space.

Green is one of the most versatile colors in interior design. Since it is so prevalent in nature, it can work in almost any room, and almost any design style, from traditional to modern. On the color wheel, green is considered a cool color, although it is a mixture of cool blue and warm yellow. Greens can lean more blue—like emerald green—or more yellow, like avocado. Regardless of which way it leans, color psychology tells us that green is the color of balance and harmony, with the ability to restore and rejuvenate us.  Given the abundance of green in nature, it can actually be considered a neutral color. Green plays very well with almost every other color. Think of a garden, where green leaves sit beside reds, pinks, oranges, purples and yellows.green_2

Muted shades of green are relaxing, making green an excellent color for bedrooms and baths. Research has even indicated that blue-greens can actually have a stress-relieving effect on us, and can even help lower blood pressure. Doesn’t the soothing light minty green color of the marble in the large spa shower make you want to relax and luxuriate in the shower? (Not that I am recommending that, given our serious drought situation. But the feeling is definitely there, isn’t it? But even short showers can be more relaxing when surrounded by lovely colors like this blue-green.)

green_1More vibrant shades of green can add a welcome burst of energy to a space. Note the lime-sherbet green walls in the laundry room photo—set against the high-contrast black and white color scheme, the overall look is friendly and fun. Lime green also looks great combined with magenta or turquoise.

green_3Greens look wonderful with all wood tones as well. Just look out your window and notice the trees—dark and light green leaves combined with dark and light tree branches and trunks. It all works together well.  Warm wood tones provide a great balance for the cool green colors, as illustrated in the bathroom vanity photo. Look at how beautifully the green wall color and glass mosaic tiles pair with the natural cherry wood. With nature as your inspiration, you can’t go wrong incorporating green into your décor.

I’m betting that you can tell a lot about the owners of these three bathrooms. Each is beautiful, but in very different ways. The best part of my job is that I get to design in a variety of styles, using products in new and exciting ways. It’s great to see how the same materials— tile, stone, quartz and wood can come together in such unique ways.

Bath #1 Colorful and charming

Bathroom 1I absolutely love the handmade ceramic tiles we chose for this bath. We purposely installed the 4”x4” squares at random, using shades of blue, aqua and purple. The small diamonds you see are made up of 1” x 1” iridescent purple glass mosaic tiles. The walls are a soft lavender and, the cabinetry is white. The quartz counter in neutral cream balances the bold colors in the shower. The cool color palette exudes a feeling of calm, even with the busy tile pattern. The overall result feels fun, youthful and friendly, which was indeed my design intent.

Bath #2 Luxurious and elegant

Bathroom 2With rich wood tones, gorgeous granite slab and mosaic comprised of marble and glass, this bath feels very elegant. We mixed metallics and materials for this project— there is a combination of silver and gold tones in the cabinet hardware, plumbing fixtures, mirror frames and light fixtures, pulled together with handmade wallpaper in subtle, yet shimmery gold and silver. The colors and patterns in the granite counter also help pull everything together. The homeowner requested a luxurious spa-like bathroom and I do believe she got it.

Bathroom #3 Tasteful and Relaxing

Bathroom 3Like Bath #2, this bath features a neutral color palette, but executed in a very different way. It is also very elegant and classic, with Emperadora Dark chocolate brown marble accents, and creamy-colored porcelain field tiles. The decorative border is marble and glass, cut by water-jet machinery into a lovely fleur de lis motif. The creamy walls and tile make this large bath feel even more spacious, and the stained cherry cabinets add contrast and warmth. The bronze fixtures bring out the brown in the marble accents. We are still looking for just the right art piece for the wall above the soaking tub— an Italian landscape would fit in beautifully here, don’t you think?


I once met with a client about redecorating her living room. She showed me around the house, which was quite beautiful, and when we got to her bedroom, she showed me a very plain room, with hand-me-down furniture, very inefficient lighting, and no decor at all. I asked her about it, wondering why we were working on her living room when her bedroom needed so much TLC. She said, “Everyone sees the living room; only my husband and I see the bedroom!” My immediate thought was: Aren’t you and your husband deserving of a beautiful space too? Master bedrooms are often the last rooms to be tackled, but, as the room you retreat to at the end of a busy day, wouldn’t it be great to move it up the priority list?

Here are some tips to make your master bedroom the retreat you deserve.

ICP_18971. Highlight the bed.

The bed is the focal point of the room, and should take center stage. It should go on the longest wall in the room, and should be the first thing you see when you enter. Besides new bedding, which I will get to in a moment, add some interest to the wall behind the bed using an accent color on the wall, or a beautiful wallpaper, or a paint technique like wide horizontal stripes.

2. Address the lighting.

Bedside table lamps should be on the taller side— if your night stands are 24”-30” tall, then the lamps should be around 30-32” or so— to provide adequate light for reading. As an alternative, install wall-mounted light fixtures, or pendant lights above each nightstand. In my own bedroom, I asked my contractor to install pendant lights, with a dimmer switch on each side of the bed. Pendants or wall lights are a great option when you want as much room as possible on top of the bedside tables.

If you like to look at decorating magazines, you’ve probably noticed a popular lighting trend: installing a hanging light fixture above the bed. This is not only a great look, but it also provides good general lighting for the entire room.

ICP_66163. Dress the bed.

Treat yourself to beautiful bedding— a duvet cover is great because it can be laundered easily, but some people prefer comforters or quilts. I like to dress a bed with a quilt or coverlet, with a folded comforter at the foot of the bed. I also really like pillows. A beautiful bed has decorative pillow shams, as well as throw pillows. Pillows add color, texture, pattern and are a perfect finishing touch. Even if you or your partner are averse to pillows (I know they end up on the floor every night), please add at least one! The bed just doesn’t look finished without decorative pillows.


Every bed needs a headboard— this could be wood, iron, or upholstered. I love the look of upholstered headboards. Remember that headboards can always be re-upholstered or painted, so as you are shopping, look for shapes you like, and don’t worry too much about the color of the wood or fabric. That can always be changed. You might find a great bargain online or at a consignment store.


4. Dress the windows.

Maybe you already have room-darkening shades or blinds— that’s great. But adding fabric will do wonders for the room. Consider curtain panels in a color that coordinates with your bedding, or a tailored valance like a box pleat or mock Roman shade style. I like to use colors and styles with a timeless quality to them, so in general, simple styles are best.


5. Add hotel room amenities.

ICP_5829Comfortable hotel rooms have some additional seating— perhaps a chair and small table by the window, or a reading chair in the corner. If you like to work in your bedroom, consider adding a writing table or small desk for a laptop. A bench at the end of the bed is a nice place to sit and put on shoes, or lay out your clothes for the day. Think about your favorite hotel— wouldn’t it be nice to feel like you are on vacation in your own bedroom?

I recently went on a vacation to New England, where the fall foliage was magnificent. The beautiful oranges, reds and golds were truly a feast for the eyes. Let’s not underestimate California, however. In wine country, we have a fall foliage extravaganza of our own taking place right now. A weekend getaway to Healdsburg and Geyserville, featuring acres of golden-hued vineyards, was every bit as breathtaking as parts of New England.

Vineyards in Geyserville, Ca

Vineyards in Geyserville, Ca

Walpole, New Hampshire

Walpole, New Hampshire

Many of my clients prefer the warm, rich colors of autumn to cooler palettes of blues and grays. Those clients enjoy the warmth exuded by orange, red and gold. Warm colors tend to advance toward you in a room, so rooms decorated in a fall color palette feel cozy and comfortable—like a big hug.


This guest bedroom is a great example of decorating in autumn colors. We chose a mostly monochromatic orangey-brown color scheme, with touches of gold and bronze finishes. The wallpaper on all the walls wraps the room in color, and the doors trim is painted in a contrasting, yet still warm-toned Navajo White.

If you like the colors of autumn, you have many to choose from. Think of the seasonal fall produce for color inspiration: persimmons, pumpkins, butternut squash, red and green pears, sweet potatoes, pomegranates and golden and red beets. Notice the combination of leaves on the trees outside and pair your colors accordingly. Mother nature always gets it right.

For a monochromatic color scheme, choose one main color and decorate with darker and lighter versions of that color. For example, in the bedroom photo, you’ll notice lighter and darker shades of orangey-browns and tans in the bedding, carpeting, wallpaper and the wood tones in the furniture.

An analogous color scheme pairs colors next to each other on the color wheel. For example: yellow, orange and green. Imagine golden yellow walls, with an avocado or sage green sofa, and pillows in persimmon and pumpkin colors.

A complementary scheme combines colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Red and green are classic examples of complementary colors. For an autumn color scheme, combine deep forest green with pomegranate red, or the rich burgundy of red wine. Add touches of gold in the light fixtures or pillows to round out this elegant look.

In fall colors, your home will always exude coziness and warmth.