Friday, June 10, 2011


Happy Friday everyone. Although our temps dropped 40 degrees in a mere 24 hours, I still feel the summer light. After a cold, dreary, and GRAY winter why not take up a weekend project and excite your walls.

Yes, it's time for another design tip.....

Design Tip of the Week

This week's design tip is inspired by my current home project. When was the last time you painted those dingy walls in your home? It is amazing how one can get inspired to create just by freshening up their work or living space with a coat of paint. It is also the most inexpensive way to dramatically change your mood. 
We are all creatures affected by our surroundings ... especially writers.  Any person that has an ounce of creativity looks at their home for comfort and as a refuge from the daily drudgeries of life. 
Raise your head from your laptop and take a good look around your home. What do you see? 
If you see a soft hue that soothes your soul, then I would say, “Great! A job well done!” 
If you see a whimsical shade that brightens your day, then I would say, “Good for you! You don’t take life too seriously!”
Now here comes the but.... But if you see a plain white wall, lacking any life or if the once-perfect shade is less than perfect, then I would say, “Go to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s and pick out several different color swatches and take them home. You found your weekend project.”
Now is the perfect time to take on your writing space. It’s probably a cozy little office that needs to be resuscitated. Or if you feel more ambitious why not take on the Dining room or eat-in-kitchen, or even the kitchen. With the holidays only a few weeks away you have the time to spruce up your gathering places! Just think how festive you will feel when your Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations will POP!
Steps in choosing the right color. Please do this. IF you don’t you will curse me and regret spending the time it took to paint and re-paint the space.
Step one: Choose your color wisely. Most people love bright colors, but they necessarily do not look good on the walls. If you like a bright color use that color on an accent wall, Say the wall your desk faces. Keep the others more neutral. After you find a shade you like and put the tiny 1” x 1” on the wall and love it, make sure you do step two.
Step two: If you can try a get a larger sample. Even a 3x5 can fool you. Buy the smallest amount of the color and paint a 2x3 foot section on each wall in the space. If it’s an office or small room, two walls will do. Let it dry and look at the color throughout the day. If you love it great! If you don’t, then you saved a lot of time and money not painting the space and disliking it.
Color choice: 
Reds: All shades of red are active. Only use reds when you to stay awake and energized. It’s a great color for the dining room when you want stimulating conversations and to get the palette excited.
Blues: Almost all shades of blue are tranquil and soothing. It gives the feeling of water or sky. Blue is also a “Power” color so be careful to use the softer shades for your walls.
Greens: They have become very popular over the past six or seven years. Earthy and calming most shades of green give one a feeling of the outdoors. Trees, grass, nature. 
Yellows: Are wonderful to create a warm and inviting space. One thinks of the sun, daffodils, and spring. It’s a great color if your room has limited light. Creamy shades are a fantastic neutral to soften a home. Plus you can accent with any of your favorite more saturated colors.
Remember color can enhance the kind of living space that will bring out your inner artist. So use it. Don’t be afraid of it. And enjoy your new space. It CAN change your life.
So why not run to your local Home Depot or Lowes and pick up a splash of life for your walls! 



  1. Mu office is in my youngest daughter's old bedroom. She painted it a muted peach color that I love. It is warm yet not over done.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  2. I love this, Michael, and you've got me thinking. When I moved into my condo five years ago, I painted, and the colors are wonderful for that warm, cozy feeling (soft but deep gold walls, with chocolate and burgundy accents). BUT, I did not repaint my study, which looks good to me in paper-bag browns with burgundy accents. Result: I'm happier in the golds than the browns and end up doing almost all my writing in the family room/kitchen, not the study! Hmm.

  3. Great post!..especially since we just moved and are trying to make our home feel like "home". It's amazing what your surroundings do to "mood" and what a little thing like paint can do!

    I like how you broke down colors and what moods they may generate...and funny because I've been buying a lot of green lately :D

  4. Great tips Michael! You're right, we cannot neglect our surroundings. I'm kind of odd, darker colors sooth me where brighter or even pale colors agitate me. I'm light sensitive though so that probably has a lot to do with it!

  5. Some lovely ideas here! We have recently had a paint fest - nothing like it to make a room look so fresh!

    Lots of books bring colour to a room regardless but we've added warmth to each space with peachy/apricot pastels.

  6. Man, I wish I had some choice at WORK, which is where I spend the most time. Alas... white. Blech. At home our living room is green. We really WANTED a nice mango, but it bled into the hardwood floors. And our BATHROOM is a nice inviting yellow... as you might expect *teehee*

  7. I recently repainted some of our walls and stuck with a safe color - 'cake batter' I believe.

  8. I love color! Our living room is green, dining room is reddish, upstairs is yellow. Warms up my life on cold days!

  9. Great information. I always have trouble deciding about the paint in a room. I do love my office though. It is in a spring green with melon trim and baskets in lime green, bright yellow and blue and melon. It's bright and fun with large windows for light. Good thing. I spend a lot of time in here.

  10. When Dave and I were first married, we lived in apartments and then bought a "starter home" that all had completely white walls. Seven years ago we built and there are no white walls in my house (and never will be again!).

    We went to the Brewer game in Milwaukee last night - FREEZING!! Quite the difference over my son's Little League game two days before when it was 100 degrees!

  11. :) Our first house was painted white...Our second house was cream...I repainted every room of our third house. It was great fun. I'm still wondering if the people who bought it from us left the freehand muriel I painted in my daughter's bathroom. Our current house was repainted before we moved in. The painter did an awful job, so I repainted most of it....It's greens and browns. One thing I did in our old house was this: I used all the colors of the house to paint an abstract painting on canvas. I loved that hangs in my office in the new house. :)

  12. Greens that's my favorite, always have been a fan of mother earth (and money)Bad storms and flooding here in this part of Norway and I am still looking forward to more than one sunny day in a row. However, as midsummer nears, it stays lighter for each day. We are up to 11:30 at night now and then light again around 3:30 in the morning.

  13. I used green for an accent wall in our family room last year and I just love it. I redid my office in January and have been thinking about colors for an accent wall. Not sure yet if I want to go Active or Soothing. I'm leaning towards soothing...

    Thanks for the ideas!

  14. ...I always find it amazing how a simple change of color can tilt one's writing project onto a completely different course of action.

    Great post, Michael:)


  15. Oh my gosh! I, too, am an interior designer who has only recently discovered a love of writing novels! How funny is that? Once I got started, I just couldn't quit. I'm working feverishly to be published someday. After a three month break, I'm just about ready to jump back into querying. It's so nice to have found you. I'm your newest follower.

  16. Great idea! I hate white walls. We just painted our bedroom two diff shades of blue. I love it.
    And sometimes if I can't actually paint the walls, I rearrange furniture just to give my home a new feel. :)

  17. Oh, but I love plain white walls. There's a kind of stark beauty about them... does that make me weird? Probably! :)

  18. Ooh, FAB design tips. Me likey!

    I like magnolias and browns at the moment. :-)

  19. Awesome tips regarding colour. When we first moved into our flat the lounge was painted a hideous peach shade. It took one coat of white and two of biscotti to cover it up. Then Mr. G persuaded me to go with lemon in the bedroom, and boy does it work. We have several trees outside and they always catch the suns rays in the late afternoons. It's wonderful to see the sunlight reflected through the bedroom windows onto the walls.

    Loved this post!

    Ellie Garratt

  20. Now Michael, I hope Home Depot is paying you well, ha ha! I love these little tips. Bright colours? At our beach house we went wild and have gorgeous sea blues, buttery whites and ahem, reds. Looks fantastic. But we are toning down our main bedroom with French blue/greys, white and added a blond timber floor. Dreamy. Unfinished at the mo'. Our apartment is simply boring with its monochrome colour scheme. Bought the paint (no Home Depot here!) but yet to apply!

    Brrrr. Sounds cool for summer!


  21. Such great advice, Michael. I love painted walls. Our hallway, bedroom, kitchen, baths, and LR are all painted in unique shades. Yet, when I followed your advice and looked up at my office walls, I saw white, white, white. I think my office needs a makeover! Great post!

  22. Hey Michael! Congratulations - you won a copy of Bob Sanchez's book!

  23. Really interesting post. I'm actually colorblind so I tend to find color-influences fascinating. Thanks for sharing!