Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Natural Process

Yesterday I received two interesting e-mails from two readers who were new to the blog. The first asked me: "What is your decorating process? How do you come up with creative color combinations?" and the second: "Really!? Purple and yellow? Green! I can't picture it ... do you have any sample or inspiration pictures of this very awkward combination - IMHO!! :)"

I thought no better time than now to answer them both!

I come to my designs in a variety of ways - sometimes it's a fabric, sometimes it's an accessory, and sometimes it's just the person who asks for help. But for color inspiration and pleasing combinations, I tend to look to things I find appealing in nature. For instance, if I said that I wanted to do a modern bedroom in the moss green of grass and yellow of lemons - my mind would picture the final product along side something that has those colors occurring naturally - like a lemon tree:

Click for Larger View
Or, if someone said to me that they were looking for something bright and cheery, and I knew they loved pink - I'd pair it with green ... as the color combination found in watermelon is extremely delicious!

Click for Larger View
So when I heard that purple (which made a splash in lighter hues: lilac, faded plum, and lavender in 2008) was going to take the place of some other darker shades in moody rooms used at night: bedrooms and dining rooms, I thought - Iris!

Click for Larger View
Notice the natural combination of yellow, varied shades of purple and kelly green? The petals delicate but strong, the overall impact punchy yet sophisticated? It seemed like a pretty smart choice.
Colors in flowers, landscapes, fruits, foods - they can be inspiring on many levels. Whether they make you think of furniture, paint, accessories, or fabrics - colors, textures, or shapes - they are a free and valuable resource available to everyone for free!

Click for Larger View
The colors of nature are vast and the combinations are endless: think of the gorgeous color variations in the feather of a peacock, or the sunset. The possibilities for creating beauty from this vast resource is uncanny.
For instance, say the color of an orchid inspires you to paint. Rather than taking the purple from it's delicate petal, or the green from it's hardy stem - why not combine the two?

Click for Larger View
Even flower arrangements can be inspirational. Take for instance, red roses and babies breath with fern leaf in a crystal vase could be translated into an elegant dinner table set with white linen tablecloth, red cloth napkins tied with a fern leaf, crystal candle sticks and white candles.
This informal arrangement in a modern vase certainly could inspire someone to create this modern and informal living room / kitchen:
Click for Larger
So, I hope this answers your questions, reader 1, and reader 2. I find inspiration everywhere I look, everyday in a vast number of resources that don't necessarily include pages or mentionable notation, and I hope that the few yellow/purple/kelly green images you've seen above help with any projects you may have considered for the combination.
What about you!? Do you have any color or design inspirations you take from nature, from friends, from books? I'd love to hear your processes!

18 comments:

  1. It's interesting .. when I moved from sunny Florida to the high desert of Central Oregon I brought all of my furniture. That included two very floral, large matching sofas (which I always loved.) However they NEVER fit the colors or feel of the mountains, sagebrush, juniper, rough and tumble landscape (or the four seasons.) Slowly I began to change the look of our living room. From the floral sofas to a sofa of deep red/wine to a comfy, plushy chair of deep red, green, yellow stripes to two fireplace chairs that are a perfect blend of all the colors of the room. AND they swivel which my grandson informed me is the perfect "gamer" chair! I also changed the carpet to a more rugged color. I was able to keep the buttercup yellow walls, my old barnwood coffee table, huge pine armoir and distressed wood end tables,etc. Today everything looks more comfortable, rustic and appropriate. So, as you can see, I have definitely been inspired by the environment I live in now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. YES,! Inspiration anywhere and everywhere we look...that is what keeps design moving...that is what keeps design...A CREATIVE process,
    Very nice post Artie! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! Love the comparison photos!

    I have been known to take some odd items to the paint/fabric store for color comparison!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this post. Inspiration is everywhere -- the colors and textures of nature are definitely what make me happy, and my spaces follow suit. I love all things organic - stone, wood, glass, metal, and it all sort of builds from there for me!

    I love the side by sides you posted, this is just a great post!
    xoxo Twin Isa

    ReplyDelete
  5. The colors are great. I wish I was a little "gutsier" when it comes to using color in my home.

    I tend to stick to neutrals, even though I love seeing bright colors in nature!

    Thanks for the beautiful photos and tips :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have to say that my process starts off with eliminating certain color combinations. Not that there are ANY bad combos, just some that aren't pleasing to my eye for whatever reason. I love pure white in other homes, I really do. I just don't like it in my own, even though I have no reason for that. I also don't do primary colors, I prefer grayed down hues. So, off white, browns or blacks, and any dusty hue and I'm all set. Knowing that is the color comination that I never tire of makes shopping a breeze, and moving things from room to room is simple. Everything goes with everything else!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the color combinations! It is just paint , and people can't get that fact into their heads. If you don't like it , paint it over, but try something new or diffrent.Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nature is so inspiring. It just doesn't get much better than the colors that naturally occur together.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am the same as you KSARRA as I do elimination and tend to avoid primary colors also. I cannot think of too many things in my house that couldn't be used in any other room. I love a room full of faded, mellow, natural, organic browns, tans, greens, blacks, whites and then personally a French empire blue to give it all a kick. That's why I really like Artie's last picture in his previous post.

    G in CT

    ReplyDelete
  10. You know by now that I don't have an original artistic bone in my body, so when we finally get our next house, I plan on just copying whatever you do. LOL

    Justine :o )

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very inspiring how you transfer nature ideas into real life.

    ReplyDelete
  12. very very interesting - I especially loved the watermelon!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dr, Suess first came to mind when I read "Reader 1 & Reader 2" LOL okay back to my serious answer...I know that mother nature can come up with some very pretty, yet sophisticated combinations. You never cease to amaze me Artie. ~ Robyn

    ReplyDelete
  14. Like you I start with a piece of furniture, fabric, photos or feeling. Love your explanation of it all,
    Ness xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. Morning, Artieness. Love these beautiful photos. Once I actually chipped a piece of wall off to take to the paint store so they could match my paint color.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wonderful post and inspiration, Artie!

    The catalyst for the latest condo project was a stack of my photographs. Scenes from around the lake, done in black and white and slightly tinted. I wanted the perfect backdrop for the photos and had white frames in mind. Mink by SW for the walls, was the result of this particular design process.

    I'm apt to use just about anything to come up with what I want in a design. If you remember, I found a tee shirt, just the color I wanted for the dining room and proceeded from there. Not from nature, but an explanation of how I arrived at two different project colors.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post, Artie. I usually start a room with how I want it to "feel." Then I jump off from there. I get my inspiration from books, magazines, catalogs and other bloggers. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am so the same way. I will find some pretty fabric and fall in love with it and make my room fit it. Or sometimes I get lucky, as with my living room... I knew I wanted to do green and gray with blue accents, and then about wet my pants when I found Amy Butler fabric that was exactly right.

    And I am pretty obsessed with my garden. Being in Kansas, I take my gardening seriously. I can't wait for spring so I can snap some pics of my work. I think I have taken over half my yard now with beds!

    Oh, I just posted up pics of my bedroom. I little froo-froo girly, but hey... if one room could be pink, it's gotta be the bedroom.

    ReplyDelete

I love your comments, so thank you for leaving them!