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Decorating With Bold Colors

July 29, 2023

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Decorating with color is a fun way to add personality and pop to your home.

You can add small accents or paint a wall. I love using red, but you can choose any hue that makes you smile. Just pick a color and dive in.

Red Home Decor Accent Pieces, lamp, bowls, crock

When we toured this house decades ago, I fell in love instantly with the living room.

There was a huge floor to ceiling stone fireplace, dark wooden beams that stretched across that ceiling and painted wood paneling on the walls.

Charming, rustic and the best cottage style bones I'd ever seen in real life.

I knew this was our house before I even looked at any other room.

Cottage Style Fall Living Room Mantel

Of course, it was totally different than the one we were selling.

That was a teeny 900 square foot cottage across the street, and while this one wasn't much bigger, it had a decidedly weightier vibe.

Our first home was light and bright, with features I can only describe as dainty.

I decorated it with pastel colors and garden florals.

Girl holding a kitten in a pastel living room

It was a charmer and super sweet...just like my first baby, a kitten named Scarlett.

However, our new cottage looked silly wearing all of our former home's colors.

No matter how I tried to make everything I lugged over look appropriate, sitting in front of that massive wall of jagged stone, it didn't fit.

The house called for an entirely different aesthetic.

This was new territory for me. I was always a pink and green girl...and while there are absolutely no rules when it comes to decorating, my former flair wasn't going to work.

Not well anyway.

So I searched through magazines, since this was long before Pinterest or Instagram existed, tearing out photos of houses I loved.

I went to the library and checked out decor books, I gravitated toward cottage style homes, even though I had no idea that's what it was called at the time.

And for some reason, after a lifetime of decorating with soft tones, I fell hard for the drama of all those deep crimson colors.

Ivory and red kitchen with accessories and baskets above cabinets

I painted my bathroom in Balmoral Red from Ralph Lauren.

I dressed the living room with red curtains and pillows.

Rustic red and white country cottage style living room in fall

I anchored my bisque colored kitchen with a striking 15 foot high red wall.

My bedroom, family room and basement den, all of which were predominantly green, had red accents to tie the house together.

And I loved every inch of my warm, cozy and very red cottage.

Until a few years ago, when I decided to step back a bit. To bring in some more neutrals.

To lighten my decor and remove some of that red.

I needed a change.

I know. What was I thinking?

Well, for a while it felt right and I really enjoyed the palate cleanse. 

Cottage Style Hallway Decor

Especially since most of my decoloring redecorating was done during the summer. 

Then last fall, the clouds rolled in and the sunshine disappeared. The trees lost their leaves and the garden went to sleep.

And all that light, bright muted decor made me feel a little...well, cold. 

The walls were too bare, there weren't enough accessories around.

The whole house was off kilter.

To be honest, it really threw me. I didn't feel the normal level of comfort or coziness the house usually projects.

Of course, December helped to quell a bit of that drab feeling with all its festive decor.

Although when the trees came down, I craved the color even more. I just didn't know what to do.

My hallway felt bland. Once the flowers died, there was no pop.

I tried to accessorize with ivory and pink, my old standbys, but everything fell short. Nothing was right.

I'd felt like I'd lost my decorating mojo and my color courage. 

That's when I decided to go back to the basics.

And, big surprise, more red.  

Apparently, that's what makes me smile and I shouldn't be denying it.

I've already shared my plans for a new kitchen chair and the delicious fabrics I chose.

Red Floral Upholstered Chair Design

I also shared the fact that I want to add colorful dishes back in my glass cabinets. I chose these cranberry ones, but there are so many colors. The blue is stunning.

The first shipment was damaged, bummer. But these mugs and these lacy bowls were in great shape and gorgeous.

Floral Lace Cranberry Dishes in a cabinet

So I reordered the dishes and two of these giant utensil crocks. (I ordered the second today, because it's so beautiful.)

Cranberry Lace Crock Utensil Holder

It was clearance and I'm a sucker for a sale. I'm going to use one to cook and one for displaying flowers or as a planter.

I also bought this red lamp.

Red Home Decor Accent Pieces, lamp, bowls, crock

I mean look at that lampshade. I was smitten when I saw it online, but in person it's even more darling.

It's small, so I have lots of options. Not sure where it's going yet, but it's a keeper.

I also added more red pom poms to the checked curtains in my living room after I saw how darling they looked in the kitchen nook.

And remember that neutral two legged table I put in my hallway last year? I'm thinking about painting it red.

I'm also considering wallpapering over the stenciled wall in my bathroom with something red and bold. Overkill?

Red and white cottage bathroom

Maybe, but I don't think so. I painted over the red walls a few years ago and I find myself really missing the color.

Now, I know that decorating with red isn't for everyone. I get that. 

But everyone has a favorite tone and I'm sharing with you today to encourage to dive in.

Add it in small bits or large swaths. 

You don't need to completely redecorate to dramatically change the look of your home. Or its personality.

Red Floral Curtain Panels In The Living Room

Oh, and one more thing.

In case you think I'm disparaging neutrals, I'm not. White is a color. A very important color.

In my home it's what anchors the red, what makes it pop.

It's also a very beautiful color on its own and can be quite stunning when it's the predominant tone. My friend Kris' home is proof of that. 

So that's my story, folks.

I'm going to spend the rest of my summer hunting down red pieces in thrift stores.

Painting over unique finds that aren't.

And enjoying the process and my new {old} view along the way.

What color will you be decorating with?

Happy Decorating, Friends!
Kim Signature

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  1. Whew..... I thought I was going to have to make a LONG road trip to dust off your visions!!!!! Had me worried there for a few months!!
    I love your new choices! I am working on new bedding using P. Kaufman's Queensland!! Shall I send you some??? Blessings, J

    1. Haha! Your comment made me laugh, J!! No, I'll never abandon the red and clearly I can't be away from it for that long. I mean, trust me, there's still a ton of it around here, but you can never really have enough, can you? And pretty! I just looked that fabric up. I might have to order some and make pillows. What are you doing with it??

  2. Red is my very favorite color! I love your red haul! You chose well!! - Briana from Texas

    1. Hi Brianna! Thanks so much! I just love that little lamp. I keep carrying it around from room to room to find a home. It looks good everywhere!!

  3. Your home is to die for........I love it!!

    1. Oh my goodness!! You just totally made my day!! Thank you!! 🥰

  4. Love love love the red!

    1. Thank you so much! I am a bit obsessed! 😉

  5. Red is my favorite, and I’m never far away from it! I’ve had at least one red wall in every house I’ve owned! Loved this post!

    1. Red lover's unite!! ❤️ I love my red wall and I'm glad I'm not alone...sometimes people ask me, when are you going to paint over the red never? 🤣

  6. I love your red and love that you stay true to yourself and what you love. That has always been the truth stick with what you love and you will never feel wrong. Everyone loves color to neutrals. I love my neutrals as you know and thank you for the compliment. I can add and subtract color as I feel need be. I miss the days of looking through decorator books from the library and magazines. Oh how I got excited when a new decor magazine came in the mail. Now we all go on Pinterest and IG to find the newest and fun and pretty things. I love that it is at the touch of the finger tips on the computer but I do miss the old days of waiting on that favorite magazine to arrive in the mail for inspiration. Happy Weekend my friend. Hugs. Kris

    1. Hi Kris!! I agree, stick with what you love. That's the key. Your home is beautiful and such a great example of using neutrals in a dramatic way. Your decor pops and it's a pleasure to look at every time you share. I think that some people are just as afraid to go all white, or neutral, as they are to add a bold color, like red. So I was happy to share you pretty decor, because it really does encourage people to try something new.

      And oh...I miss the magazines, too. They were the best. Unfortunately, those days are gone, although I really wish they'd come back. Maybe, until then I have my old books that I do leaf through when I need a fix!! Hugs to you!!

  7. Red is your color and it's perfect for your home! Our first home had a small bathroom with black and white wallpaper. I decorated it with red in the curtain and towels. It was so cute!
    My house now is neutral with pale blues and greens, and that's what I always seem to gravitate to. But I love visiting your red! And now I'm going to check out your links for dishes and bowls. :)

    1. I love blues and greens, Mari! I staged a house for a friend once when she put it on the market and it was neutral with blue/ green accents and it was almost enough to make me go home and paint over all the red. Almost! Haha!!

  8. I still have a few Longaberger baskets that I love.

    I love red but I don't have much in my house. We're getting ready to build a new house & I am so overwhelmed.....I have no idea what color I want to use. White for sure for a nice background but beyond that who knows. My husband wants gray.

    1. Sadly, I gave away my baskets and now, of course, I would love to have them back! I was young and silly. These days I know better! Never give anything away. Haha!

      A new house sounds so exciting! I think white is a great background, because then you can swap colors out anytime you like, especially since sometimes, it takes a while to get to know a house and how it should be dressed to make you smile! Good luck!!

  9. You do red beautifully. As my color-blind friend always said---I love red no matter what color it is. lol. He would actually be able to SEE your red!

    I have done a lot of aquamarine in my home since we moved. My old colors just didn't work well here. I just got rid of a couch that was in my upstairs sitting room (navy blue leather) and so now I have to find a replacement as furniture from downstairs moves up and so the game begins.

    Kris's house pictures just don't do her place(s) justice. I have been in two of them over the years and they are absolutely beautifully done...the layering of white tones on each other is amazing.xo Diana

    1. Thanks Diana!! I know I use a lot of it, but there's something about it that makes me smile and feel comforted when I catch a glimpse of it. I think it's coming back in style, again and that makes me happy! Now I'll be able to find more pieces to add around husband will be soooo happy!! 😉

      I totally understand the musical furniture when you move. Every home has its own personality. I love aquamarine. It's such a soothing color and has just enough pop to make you sit up and notice. I have a few pieces around here and the writing in my floral wallpaper is aquamarine.

      And yes, Kris' house is lovely. I read a comment on her blog where you said that in person it's so warm and tranquil. I believe it. She has a true talent and I want people to see that white can be powerful on its own when done that way.

      Enjoy this first week of August my friend!! xo

  10. It's important to 'Do You' - and that's red in your house, Kim. My color is blue, but, hey we complement each other!

    1. Absolutely, Ann! I just love color and it makes me happy to see room filled with matter what hue of the rainbow it is!!

  11. Love red! Purple is another color I love! I have to have a touch of red in every room.

    1. Ah, purple is beautiful. As I said, that was the base in my first cottage. I had a plum carpet, lilac walls, my dishes were yellow and green with purple tulips. I guess tulips have the been the constant in my decor…with big pops of bright color.

  12. You know I'm with you on the red! Gorgeous!

    1. Yes, we are definitely cut from the same decorating mold! I adore all your pops of red and can't wait to see how you use it in the new addition!!

  13. I also ove red! So your home is perfect in my eyes! 😁. About eight years ago I bought a cheaper red sofa in red to see if I was going to love that color in living room, and I did! It made me smile every time I looked in there! So I replaced it with a more expensive piece knowing that it was going to be perfect no matter how many years passed. I have accents of red all over the house now, but I do mix in some colonial blues during the summer for a break. But in the winter, the red comes out in full force! It’s just so warm & cozy. We must all stick to our color that warms our heart, and red seems to be ours! ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Thank you so much!! Oh, a red sofa is the dream. It sounds perfect!! I think that will be next on my list or at least a slipcover in red. I love that you mix the blue in for a change. I've started adding some green, but yes, totally agree that in the fall/winter months, red reigns supreme! Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring me to go looking for a red sofa!!

  14. I enjoyed this post Kim. I love your home sweet home.
    Blue is my color. ;-)

  15. Kim,
    First I want to THANK you for all your visits and sweet words!! Secondly, I want to apologize that it took me so long to stop by... I think I am busier now that I am retired than when i worked...
    I LOVE all your new and "old" red accents... As a fellow lover of red, I understand completely what you mean...I am so looking forward to decorating for Fall and Halloween because those are the colors that touch my heart....Your home is just so darn charming and I can not wait to see what else you do!!