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:

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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?

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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:
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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!