Color therapy is no joke. Color has the power to heal, energize, and create balance in our physical and emotional state. Janelle Blakely of Blakely Interior Design is a firm believer that this theory extends well into the interior design space. When it comes to designing with a bold color combo, people tend to be scared to go all in. We get it, commitment is hard, but once you take the plunge and realize the risk is worth the reward, you’ll never turn back. We sat down with Janelle to get a look into her design process and how she approaches color.
What draws you to decorating with bold colors and patterns?
Color creates emotions in people that excite and energize, and the use of color in design has a profound impact on how a space makes people feel. Different colors inspire all sorts of emotions, actions, and interactions. At Blakely, our tagline “Live Vibrantly” refers to how you should feel both in your home and in your everyday life. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to surround yourself with sassy pink and fluorescent green (unless that’s your jam), but color does play a huge role in how you feel in a space. There have been scientific studies that show the right colors can create energy (in your family room), help you relax (in your bedroom after a full day at the office), inspire romance, and so much more. You just have to choose the colors that work best for you.
Our clients are drawn to our design aesthetic because it’s unexpected. While we love and appreciate soft, muted interiors, they don’t light us up the same way a colorful interior does. Using color and patterns in a tasteful way is a bit more challenging than designing a white and beige color scheme. There are literally thousands of patterns out there and selecting those that work harmoniously together for our clients is one of the best parts of interior design.
How does one master styling with a vibrant color palette?
Using bold colors is all about balance. Choosing a textile or a piece of art that has multiple colors and values can bring a room together, and suggest colors to style with. I have a set of chairs in my living room upholstered in a purple, pink, red and green fabric so we infused these colors throughout the room through accessories, the rug and the art. Using a unique color combination like this adds a level of sophistication, without being overly feminine and pink. If you want to add some color into your home, start small with accessories, but continue to add in some neutrals along the way.
We often reference the 60-30-10 rule when infusing color, where 60% is your main color, 30% is your secondary color, and 10% is your accent color. In most situations, bold colors fall into the 10% or 30% category.
After digging into a little color therapy, we realized we all need a little pink in our lives. What advice do you have for choosing the correct shade for your room?
Choosing the right shade of a color depends on the overall vibe of the room. If your goal is to create a soft, relaxing space, hot pink should not be your first option! Instead, opt for a pastel pink. Depending on what else is in the space, the intensity of the color will play off of the rest of the room. You can add bits of intensity in small doses. We love Pepper’s patterns because they offer a range of intensities to be used in various applications. If you’re looking for a muted vibe, choose their Hockney print, and for a vibrant pop of color, choose their Poppy print.
Once you decide the vibe you want, determine how much of that color you will use. If you want it to feel feminine, use more pink or red in a lower intensity. Using different tones of the same color creates harmony and balance.
Adding vibrant colors to your home may seem intimidating at first, but the magic happens when you push yourself out of your comfort zone!
What are some easy ways to incorporate bright statement colors in your décor without going overboard?
If you love pink but don’t want your home to look like Barbie’s, choose a chair with a pink pattern instead of painting your walls in a bubblegum hue (although we do have a bubblegum pink wall in our studio because it makes us smile ☺ ). Bringing in elements of black through furniture or accessories anchors the intense pink, and doesn’t feel like Barbie is about to move in.
Decorative objects, books, throws, art and other home accessories are the best way to bring bold pinks and reds into your room. Here’s a pro tip: we almost always take the sleeves off of books when we’re styling a shelf or table; often times there is a beautiful color hiding underneath the book sleeve, you just have to look.
What advice do you have for someone who is hesitant to go all in on print?
You can use a bold print virtually anywhere. In fact, I can’t think of a place where you shouldn’t use a print. From a tablescape, to the laundry room, to the master bedroom, even if it’s just a small touch, you can infuse color and pattern.
If you want to start small, choose a patterned tablecloth, throw pillows or even bedding. We love the Blake Bundle by Pepper because the patterns vibe so well together, and it’s a great way to add interest to your dining room. The great thing about home accessories is that if you realize you don’t like the pattern, or grow tired of looking at it, you can easily switch it out for something new.
If you do want to step further out of your comfort zone, choose a vibrant wallpaper to cover a small space like the back of a bookshelf, a powder room or a laundry room.
What budget friendly decorating tips do you have for new homeowners? How can you maximize impact without breaking the bank?
When developing a design for a client, we always give them options of good, better, or best for selecting furnishings. Of course we like to see our clients invest in the best pieces of furniture that are guaranteed to last for years to come, but we recognize that’s sometimes not in the budget. The bigger ticket, statement items (sofas, flooring, appliances, beds etc.) can be balanced with budget friendly accessories and accent furniture.
Using paint in a creative installation can be a great project to tackle by yourself if you’re designing on a budget. Painting a wall in a fun cabana stripe pattern, in a bright hue is a great way to add interest to your walls. The best part is if you don’t like it, you can always paint over it! You could also add a fresh coat of paint to an existing bureau – you still get that feeling of having a new, custom item, but at a fraction of the cost. Choosing to use a bold print in a small space can create substantial visual impact, invoke movement, and even act as a great conversation starter!
QUICK FIRE ROUND - GET TO KNOW THE DESIGNER!
Where are you located? North Kingstown, Rhode Island
How would you describe your style in one word? Vibrant!
Where do you get your inspiration? Textiles. They anchor the room and provide inspiration for the color scheme.
Wallpaper or paint? Wallpaper
Favorite project you’ve worked on? The Ocean Meadow Project