Category Archives: Mood Boards

Basement Makeover, Part 4: “Mapping” the Color Palette

Weekend realization:  the design process is so much easier when you have a color palette to base your plan off of.

One reason our basement makeover was lagging behind (aside from the sewing studio changes) was our lack of a color palette.  With just some mid-century wooden furniture and a dark gray sofa, I felt overwhelmed with choices.  Anything goes with dark gray!  Where to start decorating?

Thankfully, an “aha” moment came during some blog reading last week.  Designers commonly build up a color palette around an inspiration piece early on in the design process.  Why don’t I?  Surely I know better.

Still, we had to have somewhere to start; and that somewhere came in the form of Ryan’s vintage pull-down school map, a Christmas gift from me to him last year, courtesy of Just L – our favorite mid-century modern shop.

Did you spy it hanging on the far wall of the basement in yesterday’s post?

I hung the map on Sunday night, and we realized that it offers a great selection of colors that all pair well with the dark gray couch.  Brightly colored accents are a must in a dark space like a basement, I think.

Vintage Map Basement Color Palette

Above you’ll see the color palette that I came up with.  When I asked Ryan about using the Tiffany Blue and the Orange as the main splashes of color, he said that he was OK with it, as long as we used more of the blue and less of the orange. I don’t blame him; with a color that bright, a little bit goes a long way.

There’s a lot of other greens and blues, and I think we’ll use them sparingly as well.  I’m excited to have so many options to play with.

Vintage Map Detail Ship Routes

One of the neat details are the apparent cruise liner routes marked on the map.  See how it says “New York to Southampton 3595″ along a dotted line?  These lines cross all over the bodies of water shown on the map.  It’s amazing how much things have changed since 1956, the year this map was printed.

So much to see, I could stare at it all day.  I’m really excited to have the map hung.  Now why did it take 14 months?  Oh right, we were trying to figure out a design plan for the basement.  How funny that this map was the very solution, right under our noses this whole time.

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Guest Room Mood Board, Take 1: How [not] to Mix Patterns

Now that I’ve got guest rooms on the brain, I’ve been going crazy with Pinterest. Ok, who am I kidding – I’m always dying over the Pinterest boards! :)  But this time it really came in handy for research!

With walls,  four poster beds, and rental-friendly wallpaper checked off the list, the next step in creating the guest room plan  is to settle on some duvet covers and then fun textiles to use throughout the room.  I may just sew two duvet covers for the twin beds, but I took a peek at what West Elm and Crate and Barrel had to offer.  This Spring Floral duvet cover,  on clearance now at West Elm, caught my eye:

West Elm Spring Flowers Duvet

The darkest blue tone would tie in with the wallpaper, and the other blues and greens would mix things up – just what I want.   But when I imagined the duvet covers on the beds, in the room, I realized that the combo may have too much pattern and color all colliding in that small space.

So how do you test out a *very rough* design plan?  Make a mood board, of course!  Continue reading

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Launched: Operation Living Color

We have 8 days in which to make our home presentable for a small dinner party.  Or something of that sort.   As usual, I seem to have bit off more than I can chew, by deciding we *must* finish painting and decorating the bland living room before this happens.  Oh, and did I mention that Saturday and Sunday are non-project days, as we’ll be busy celebrating Ryan’s 30th?  So in reality I have 6 evenings and one day (Monday) to get this all done.  So if I disappear from the blog, that’s why.

So I’m in a hurry to wake up the living room, but don’t want to waste money on poorly-planned purchases that I’ll later regret.  How to avoid this? I created a mood board.  Keep in mind this may not be exactly what we end up with.  It’s just a guide that does the following:

  1. Shows Ryan my ideas, so I no longer have to explain what a “box valance for the window” is, or what a “navy and white geometric pattern” looks like.
  2. Puts all my ideas and inspiration in one place, so that I can be sure they all work together.

So here’s the moodboard, as well as a detailed explanation.  And finally, I have a question – your opinions are wanted!!

Moodboard Blue Green Crate Barrel Dwell

Here’s the moodboard breakdown:

1.  Window Valance

Although the large windows are pretty all on their own, I think that adding some window treatments will help the room feel more coordinated and “finished.”  (I don’t dare write “pull the room together.”  Ryan’s ruined that phrase for me.)   We don’t want to do curtains because they would all be hanging behind furniture, and I think that would look silly.  Instead I’d like to build small box valances to cap each of them.  I think that will add some visual interest and height to the decor.   I’d like to use one of the fabrics shown.  (6 or 7?)

I am inspired by the valance shown, which I found at The Reluctant Blogger.

2.  Wall Art

Ryan and I still need to agree on some art for the empty back wall of the living room.  It’s the first wall you see when you walk in the front door – and it’s driving me crazy to have it bare!  I’m hoping I can convince him that two of these mid-century style prints from Jenn Ski on Etsy will fit the bill.

3. Decorative Crap

I don’t own many decorative objects.  It’s great from a simple living standpoint, but can be annoying when I’m trying to decorate a room with finishing touches.  I did, however, remember that I have two large white West Elm vases (thrifted, of course) that would add some good decorative interest against the newly painted green walls.  Now I just have to figure out where I can put them.

4.  Area Rug

Ryan and I both love the Lagoon Rug at CB2.  Ryan loves it because it looks like there is a Brontosaurus on it when you look at it sideways.  I love it because it’s a thick wool rug with gorgeous colors woven in an interesting shape.  Originally I wanted to put it in our dining “hall”, but neither size will work there.   Now I’d like to purchase the 8×10 for the living room.  It’s $550,  so this will not be happening in the next two weeks, but maybe in the next 2-3 months.

Fabrics / Color Palette

With our all-white seating against the olive walls, I thought that accent colors of olive, navy, and yellow would work well.  Between window valances, throw pillows, and the wall color, I think we’ll have kicked that all-neutral blandness in the butt!

5.   Dwell Studio Bella Porte Citrine

6.  Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow Sunflower

7.  Dwell Studio Bella Porte Twilight (not the movie)

So there you have it.  My grand plan for some living color.  The only thing I don’t feel totally confident is my choice of fabrics.

I think the best fabric for the window valance would be #7, the navy/white print.

I’m not sure that the Joel Dewberry fabric (#6) is right for the space at all.  I’m wondering if this Joel Dewberry Deer Valley print would be a better match, with its lighter and brighter colors:


I found the fabric used in the box valance pictured.  It’s the Logan Home Decor Blossom Lime.  Maybe that would be best for  my box valances, because there is more white space, and it incorporates the wall color along with the navy.  Or not.  looks like it’s green, white and black.  Hmm.

You guys always have great input.  What do you think?



PS:   My posts may be spotty for the next week, but I’ll be working hard on projects and will have tons to share when they’re done!!

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