Forget about the name!

By Noel Costumbrado

I start every consultation informing clients to forget about the name of colors but it’s proven to be easier said than done. I can remember working with a client and we had picked out the perfect color for their bedroom; a soft blue hue to enhance their surrounding accessories, bed linens, and it fit in the rest of their custom color palette. While writing up their spec sheets, I can remember reading the name of the color, Green Tint 2139-60 by Benjamin Moore, and the look of doubt flushed over their faces. I reassured them that the color would translate just as we had already seen and discussed, yet the color name had thrown them off completely. They had forgot about the linear process we had gone through to get to that color and disregarded the understanding of color complements and relationships.

Green Tint 2139-60 reads more as a blue when paired with Van Deusen Blue HC-156 (both colors from Benjamin Moore).

Green Tint 2139-60 reads more as a blue when paired with Van Deusen Blue HC-156 (both colors from Benjamin Moore).

Paint companies are out to sell you one thing and one thing only: paint. What many people may not realize is that they don’t make money providing you with thousands of color swatches, but one of the ways they do make money is enticing you to buy a specific color because of the name. Now, there is nothing wrong with this marketing tactic, and in fact, it is very clever. I’m not saying that the names of the colors are bad, but if you are letting the name of the color make the decision for you, you have essentially done exactly what the paint company expected you to do (which is purchasing their product based on a name like “Princess Pink”  for your daughter’s bedroom and not actually understanding how that color will relate to all of the other colors in that space.)

We need to consider how “Princess Pink” will look in relationship to the flooring, trim, furniture, etc. Let me ask you this – have you ever painted a room with a color you just LOVED in the store, only to find out 2 coats later that it looks terrible with everything else you have? You return back to the paint store for another go at the perfect pink color for your little princess, and before you know it, you’ve bought 6 gallons of paint that you really didn’t need – BUMMER! Metamerism is a term used to define the phenomenon of how the perception of a color is changed with the surrounding light sources. When we realize that color is light reflected back at us, we can start understanding how color is manipulated two ways: by surrounding colors and what kind of light exists around.

Sometimes, a name can throw an entire project off course, but my job as a color consultant is to help clients see what they saw in the beginning. Go with what looks and feels right, and trust the process!

My design advice: Before purchasing paint, pick out the colors you like out at the store and bring the swatches home. Hold one swatch at a time vertically (you ALWAYS want to view the swatch the same way the color will be applied for the most accurate read) and see how it relates to the other items in the space. By process of elimination, you will be on the right track to purchasing the perfect color for your space.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at

Let’s discover your colors, together.

Have you had a similar situation with color? Share your story!


FIVE inspirations for 2/5/13

1. Metals

Gold, copper, and brass are shining in design trends, and the time to purchase a piece for the home has never been better. The doors above in copper This brass faucet is a must have

Incorporate brass through faucet fixtures.

Incorporate your favorite metal through faucet fixtures.

2. Baby’s Room at Grandma and Grandpa’s

I am lucky enough to announce that at any moment within the next two weeks, I will be an auntie to a beautiful baby girl, about to make her debut.

I like this space below for grandma and grandpa’s nesting spot for their grandchild.

metal finished lighting

Adding the touch of gold above creates great interest in a subtle way.

2. The Kitchen Sink

As I am gathering my resources this winter, kitchen sinks are one of my favorite things to research. I love this vintage sink below, would love to achieve that look for any client of mine.

A great kitchen sink for any home.

Vintage Sink with modern faucet fixture.

4. Salt and Pepper Shakers

I figured I’d keep you in the kitchen and continue on with my 4th inspiration at the moment: salt and pepper shakers. Whether you are a collector of sports, or maybe you have a mom that loves cows, there’s a set of salt and pepper shakers for everyone. I am fond of these vintage shakers, found on Etsy. How fun?!

I am a fan of the scale of this teapot and stove.

5. Candles

Lately I’ve had at least two candles burning every evening. Not only do I love the scent, it’s the light flicker of the flame that helps keep the feeling soft and comfortable. Keep things warm and cozy with a burning candle in the home.

Mandarin Woods at Target - favorite scent in the whole section!

Mandarin Woods at Target  – a favorite of mine.

What’s currently inspiring you? Share!

For more information, contact

Large and In Charge

By Noel Costumbrado

Below are some of my favorite ways to do it big in your space. I hope that these inspire you to consider finding something large to incorporate in your home. Playing with the scale of objects can really impact a room and fill up a lot of space if you have high ceilings or a large floor plan.

Large Mirrors

Stunning French mirror, reflecting back the opposite side of the space.

Stunning French mirror, reflecting back the opposite side of the space.

I tell clients to incorporate large mirrors in hallways, small living rooms, and bedrooms to make the space feel longer, larger, and lighter. This is a great way to add the illusion of more space as well as bounce off light. I love this photo found I on Pintrest, demonstrating how this large favorite can make a great statement in any dwelling. 

Large Pillows

Everyone loves a good pillow, regardless of the size. Large pillows are not only a beautiful, comforting accessory, but they can also serve as extra seating on the floor. Mixing and matching the size gives depth and an interest to any sofa or favorite chair.  These soft and cuddly pillows can be found at


Large Floral Arrangements

Gorgeous floral arrangement -  I also love the smaller ones positioned around.

Gorgeous floral arrangement – I also love the smaller ones positioned around.

There’s no better way to greet yourself and guests than with a large, blooming vase overflowing with flowers of the season. Besides their obvious beauty, they are also wonderful to smell too! I once learned that if your arrangement doesn’t look quite right, the trick is to add more! If you want a large bouquet but don’t have the budget, try going with large blooms such as hydrangeas or lilies and a lot of filler to get that ‘large and in charge’ effect, as well as finding flowers in season.

Large Artwork

The colors in the painting are a great complement to the wall color and furnishings in this room.

The colors in the painting are a great complement to the wall color and furnishings in this room.

Sometimes a small collection of favorite photos are an excellent way to eat up some wall space, and sometimes, a large piece of artwork might be just the statement you were looking for. The wonderful thing about large art(and artwork in general) is that your options are endless. You can purchase finished work, have a custom pieces made, or do it yourself. My advice on getting any kind of large art is to purchase what you love. Let the work speak to you, and envision how it would look and feel in your space. If you are moving into a new home, are thinking about painting, and need some color palette inspiration, start with your most coveted piece and pull colors from there. Take a look at the space above. The colors throughout the space are directly reflected from the painting, creating balance and harmony between the orange, warm tones and the deeper violet, cool tones of the walls and furnishings. This piece above is also an excellent example of how the art gives the room an instant luxury feel.

Large Closets

Large Closet

I think any woman would be delighted to wake up every morning and spend time getting ready in this closet, any day of the week.

There’s not much to say about large closets other than I love them and I wish I had one :). When I finally do, I want to re-create and achieve the same ease and elegance of this one. The soft furnishings and shiny hard surfaces are playful with each other, while the painting and chandelier keep it classy and chic.

Large Doors

Wall-sized doors are perfect for entertaining, and in this photo, for fun.

Wall-sized doors are perfect for entertaining, and in this photo, for fun.

Doors these days can be custom fit for any home. If you’ve got some extra funding in your budget, consider going large on the entry and exits of your home.  Open up to the outdoor space of your home for entertaining your family and guests.

Large Ottomans


Grand ottoman in bright warm tones.

The ottoman, whether large or small, is always a focal point in any room. For smaller spaces, a large ottoman is a wonderful way to get additional seating in while having friends over for game night, and function as a coffee table when your not entertaining. Get them upholstered in soft, velvety fabrics or tough leather to exhibit your unique tastes.


Large Comfy Chairs

Soft, warm, and purple. Cue the rain and quilt.

Soft, warm, and purple. Cue the rain and quilt.

I love curling up in a chair and blanket to read, write, knit, etc. The experience is even better when you are able to share with another. Get cozy with your partner, or cuddle up with the kids for their favorite story in an over-sized chair. The chair I’ve picked above took me to that space where the jazz is playing in the background while I’m enjoying a Caramel Macchiato, reading my favorite design magazine.


Large Dining Room Tables

Some of the best memories of your life happen at the dinner table. There’s that sense of gathering, growing, and relaxing that we can all relate to. Being prepared for guests with a spread on a rustic farm table is a way of creating an easy-going style, inviting everyone to help themselves and enjoy their time. This is also a large purchase and should be seriously thought about. You want a piece that will look good 2, 5, 50 years from now, so I always advise to invest in a quality dining room table that you will cherish for a lifetime.

Large Fireplaces

Warming up never looked so good.

Warming up never looked so good.

As January is known for being the coldest month of the year, having a working fireplace is but a dream. I love how grand they’ve made the surround, but I think they could have gone with a larger accessory for above the mantle and it could use a bit more color. Nonetheless, I’m focused on the scale and simplicity the space has to offer.

Large Lighting

Gorgeous sphere pendants by Rejuvenation.

Gorgeous sphere pendants by Rejuvenation.

I love how large these are in size, yet the fact that they are clear glass really helps them blend back into the rest of the kitchen. Some kitchen designs focus on the tile work or counter tops while this kitchen’s statement is the lighting. Have these installed with a dimmer switch and create the mood that’s right for the moment; from homework time to a romantic evening cooking in the kitchen.

In summary, some of my favorite large picks are:



Floral Arrangements





Comfy Chairs

Dining Room Tables



What’s your favorite over-sized object?

Share some pictures and why you love it!

Organizing for 2013

By Noel Costumbrado

We’ve all got a room, drawer, closet that we have planned to get organized one day.
These 10 tips are to encourage and empower anyone who is overwhelmed with clutter in their lives.
First, let’s understand what organizing is all about.

define: organization, noun*
The act or process of organizing or of being organized
The condition or manner of being organized
The structure or arrangement of related or connected items

Organizing is a great way to become free of some of the guessing, wondering, and worrying in your life. By choosing to live a more organized lifestyle, you’ll be on your way to living in a space that works exclusively for you.

Organizing and storage supply list:
Storage Bins (of any material)
Permanent Markers
Garbage Bags
Small and Large Containers
Bindings (paper clips, staples, rubber bands, large clips, etc.)
File Folders
Filing bin/cabinet
Camera (optional)

How to start:

1. Organization begins with a choice.
With any item in your home, you’ve made a choice. Either you’ve decided to keep your favorite brown leather sofa, or you’ve already thrown that unwanted mail into the recycling. When it comes to organizing, try to follow this linear process to help you make better decisions about what should stay, and what can go.

Organizational - Thinking Pattern
2. Always return from where you took.
Once your space is in order, this tip becomes the only thing you need to remember to maintain your home. You will avoid piles, everlasting messes, and cleaning for “hours.”
By making a habit of giving yourself an extra minute or two to put something back properly, you allow more room and space for other things to come.

Ex. Cleaning up while cooking is a great way to avoid dishes piling up and cuts down on the wash time after a meal.

3. Understand your surroundings.
Discover what your space can hold for you. Get rid of what isn’t serving you anymore, and allow everything that is a positive reflection of who you are, shine.

4. Find a home for everything.
Designate areas throughout your space for:

Short and long term storage
Important documents
Hobby supplies
Seasonal décor/furniture/clothing
Camping/hunting/sports equipment

5. More is More.
The more detailed and specific you can get while organizing and labeling, the better off you will be. You might realize that creating a folder for “Coupons from 2011” really isn’t going to benefit you. Get rid of what doesn’t serve you anymore.

6. Get creative!
There are wonderful resources at our fingertips when it comes to interesting ways to store things. Some of my favorite places to shop at for storage are Target, The Container Store, and Michaels. Find great ideas and get inspiration from magazines, Pintrest, and Instagram. Everyone has their own style (even when it comes to organizing), express yours.

7. Be Free!
I love to keep my home organized, but I do allow one place in the house to be “free” with “moving” items. Usually it’s the mail, coupons, spare change, something I need to return to a friend, etc. Since these items tend to get filed away, used, or given back, the clutter only lasts for a short period of time.

8. The gift of giving.
It’s always a good thing to donate gently used goods. Places such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and local thrift stores take donations all year long. The winter is one of the best times of the year to donate for those in need, where you may also receive a small incentive for your good deed.

I find it best to cycle through your things at least 2 times a year (typically beginning of spring and end of fall). Begin in any room (with anything) and start separating into the four choices (keep, sell, donate, toss) to help you make room for more. Your donation and toss piles should be larger than keeping and selling.

9. Sell the experience.
When you are ready to sell, check out online websites like eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Etsy (for vintage pieces or handmade goods), or send in an ad to your local paper. Give extra thought to the quality of the photos and text for your items – present things in an enticing way to draw in attention to your item and away from similar posts. Research your item to make sure you are starting at a fair price, and be prepared for some negotiating/bartering.

10. Love what you love!
You’ve donated, sold, and thrown everything else away, now it’s time to enjoy the treasures you’ve collected all your life. By surrounding yourself with things you’ve decided to have as a part of your daily life, display them in a way they deserve.

All of these tips translate to any area of your home that requires a bit more order.

1. Organization begins with a choice.
2. Always return from where you took.
3. Understand your surroundings
4. Find a home for everything.
5. More is More.
6. Get creative!
7. Be Free!
8. The gift of giving.
9. Sell the experience.
10. Love what you love!

And remember, by choosing to live a more organized lifestyle, you’ll be on your way to living in a space that works exclusively for you.

Got a great organizing tip? Leave a comment!

Cash in on the Gold | Style Trends of 2013


Gold for Kids

A simple solution to a luxury look.

With the coming of 2013, you can expect to see gold make a huge statement this season. Why? Not only is gold beautiful, gold is timeless. I encourage my clients, friends, and family to invest in accents with a golden touch. Gold has always been associated with success and abundance, two positive forces that should be present in any space. Any color looks good with gold, which also makes accessorizing with it that much easier. There are many ways of incorporating this precious metal in affordable ways, but if you are able to spend a bit more, by all means indulge! You can be confident that you purchased a piece that will never go out of style. Only you will know if it’s real or not; everyone else will just see how beautiful your space looks.

Unless you plan on having a gold room, my tip would be:  gold here and there, but not everywhere.  As with all of your other special pieces throughout your home, let the gold shine as it does naturally, investing in a few pieces that you plan to have for a long time. This way you are able to create a luxury feel, that is still friendly on your wallet. Capturing gold in frames, lamp bases, candlesticks, and fabrics are easy ways to incorporate gold within the treasures you already have. And it also gives you a good reason to hit up your favorite antique or thrift store!


Gold Frames from Pottery Barn

You can get these lovely frames on sale NOW (01/08/13) at Pottery Barn.

Gold Mirror from Target

Enjoy this gem from Target.

Decorating your space should never feel like work – it should just feel like home.

Painted Ceilings

When painting any space, it’s important to remember this one tip: light colors come forward while dark colors recede. This means that a white ceiling feels as though it’s coming at you, while a darker color pushes back and away, making the space feel larger. Knowing this, I need to address the issue of a white ceiling that so many live with today.

I relate your personal space to what we experience outside, in nature. When we stand outside the sky seems endless and your surroundings so spacious because of the continuation of color. To have any space flow seamlessly, it’s important to paint the ceiling either the exact same color that you are applying on the walls, or using a color that is being used in another room. There is an exception, and you can have a lot of fun with color if this applies to your space: molding that sits between the wall and the ceiling. Here you have the opportunity to really play.

Many paint brush companies today have designed tools to make it easier to get an even coat up there (some are specially designed for popcorn ceilings), and the results will make your room not only look finished, but it will feel complete. Let’s take a look at this room done by Emily Lauderback of Seattle, WA. When she decided to continue the orange up onto the ceiling, we get a continuous flow of color, capturing that same effect we witness outdoors.

The results of our spaces are harmonious because when we understand the principles of color, we focus on the relationships that are created.

Room with painted ceiling | Color in Space Cottage Palette


  • Light colors come forward and dark colors recede.
  • Relate back to nature.
  • Focus on the color relationships.
  • Don’t hesistate – PAINT THE CEILING and enjoy your space!