Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Colorful Pick-Me-Up

Sometimes, I'll look around a room in my home and think "OK, we need to spice things up around here." My walls are more or less the colors that I want them to be, the furniture is placed just so, and tablescapes are arranged to the best of my ability. (It's vignettes that I usually need help with.) But even when a room looks pretty good, sometimes it needs a little oomph. A kick in the pants. Something to make it seem alive and kicking.

For me, the remedy is adding a little pop of color somewhere. Usually that entails a vase of brightly colored flowers like those on my living room mantel, shown above. There is nothing easier than getting a bunch of bright pink or coral roses or blood red carnations and strategically placing them on tables, mantels, even bar carts. But flowers aren't the only weapon. A vivid throw pillow can pack a punch as can artwork, books, lamp shades, or rugs. It really doesn't matter what it is as long as it doesn't seem too forced- the kiss of death in decoration. Just think of these little splashes of color as a shot in the arm for your home.

Spice up your room through...

Throw Pillows-in the Bettencourt villa at Neuilly.

A Poliakoff painting-in Roger Vivier's sitting room.

A brightly colored canvas- by Rothko.

Stack of books- in the London home of Tamara Mellon as designed by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard.

Towels (yes, towels)- in the master bath of David Lackey.

Flowers-in a home decorated by J. Randall Powers.

Coral and a bowl of oranges-in the Dallas apartment of John Bobbitt

A firescreen- in the Milan apartment of Count and Countess Panza di Biumo

Plates and candles- in the Montparnasse apartment of design duo Ravage.

(Image at top, copyright Denis Reggie. Mellon photo from Rooms to Inspire in the City: Stylish Interiors for Urban Living by Annie Kelly, Tim Street-Porter photographer. Bettencourt photo from Architectural Digest International Interiors; Vivier, Rothko, and di Biumo photos from The Best in European Decoration. Powers, Lackey, and Bobbitt photos from Domestic Art: Curated Interiors. Ravage photo from Paris Interiors.)


  1. I absolutely love your mantel! And congrats on that onekingslane sale - I've never seen a sale sell out on there so fast in my life! I got there an hour into it and nearly everything was gone!

  2. A great post and a terrific selection of images.

  3. John J Tackett10:03 AM

    A client a One Sutton Place South has a variety of cache pots that perfectly fit potted plants bought inexpensively from any Manhattan Korean market. Hot pink azaleas are a frequent choice to give a fresh pop of color.

  4. I second the mantel. Wasn't there angst about what to do? Now you have done it: mirror and Tony Duquette inspired malachite! Rather delicious pop on its own.

  5. Great suggestions, all! I particularly like the oranges! They look great, smell divine, and last a very long time! Oh...and then you can eat them.:)

    Hope you can visit for a very beautiful give away! It's a great one!

  6. I thirdly heart your mantle! I am a decorative painter in New Orleans constantly trying to make my work more modern as opposed to faux french! Your blog has been a wonderful source of inspiration, thank you.

  7. Anonymous11:03 AM

    like that beautiful ginko or maple tree in fall or the season's first and anxiously anticipated iris blossom, well appointed pops of color lends an organic flexibility to change the mood. Keeps things the mantel!..R Goins

  8. Great illustration of your point! I love the idea of flowers or a bowl of fruit -- but a bold painting sure does the trick!

    Want to see the extraordinary windows at Bergdorf's in New York without the crowds? Come and visit Splendid Market.

  9. Great post, Jennifer!
    I especially LOVE the John Bobbitt room. Particularly the detail of how he hung the paintings over the mirrored wall. I've been wanting to incorporate that somehow :)

    Thank you for the beautiful images!


  10. All great ideas. Love the orange pillows in the Bettencourt villa and the flowers in the J. Randall Powers room but I think I'll take the Rothko - it would look lovely in my entry!

  11. I absolutely love that first image! It's beautiful. I'm so needing to "spice things up" in my house! With all the holiday decorating, I've gotten to change around a few things (to make room for a tree!) and add some festive color. It's been a lot of fun but I'm a fairly new home owner so my collection of goodies is still a bit thin. Can't wait till I have a great big collection to draw upon!!


  12. Wow. I don't think I would spend time in any other room of the house.

  13. What a great post for pointing out what a big impact small splashes of color can have!



  14. I get this itch all the time, I mean the itch to add somethihg new or exciting into my home...these are awesome ideas, I have to say your fireplace mantle is wicked cool, if that isn't a kick in the pants not sure what is!