When creating a neutral color scheme for their home—one that doesn’t include strong colors that pop out—people often think of beige. While there are indeed hundreds of wonderful beige variations available, there is so much more to a neutral color scheme than just that one color

Pair Dark Neutral Colors With Light Neutral Colors or White 

A color doesn’t have to be light to be considered neutral. Dark neutrals include charcoal gray, dark brown, deep gold, navy blue, and black.

Use dark neutral colors for furnishings like sofas, chairs, and headboards. Dark neutrals can anchor a room in the form of an accent wall, an area rug, or window treatments. If you’re putting together a color scheme using a dark neutral, that’s the first color you should choose.

Dark neutral colors look best with light neutrals with the same undertones or the same color temperatures like warm with warm and cool with cool. Learning about warm versus cool colors can give you a solid color foundation for building any color scheme.  A cool charcoal gray looks best with cool and light neutrals but can be accented with pops of warm non-neutral colors. A warm espresso brown looks great with warm light neutrals but can be accented with pops of cool color like aqua and blue. 

Simple Tips for Creating a Monochromatic Neutral Color Scheme 

A monochromatic scheme is one of the best ways to create a stylish neutral color palette. If you’d like a sophisticated look in your home without stressing about matching your colors, a monochromatic neutral scheme is a great choice.

The monochromatic color scheme starts with a color that you truly love and could easily live with. If deep espresso brown is your favorite color and you’ve bought a sofa and chairs in that color, you could build a monochromatic color scheme around your furniture.

To create a monochromatic color scheme for a dark neutral like espresso brown involves matching that color in a paint fan deck or on a single sample strip. In the majority of paint fan decks, the colors on one strip are simply lighter or darker shades of the same color. The color on the paint strip that would match a dark neutral would most likely be at the bottom of the strip. When you are creating a monochromatic scheme, you could use any of the colors that are varying shades of your dark neutral. To keep the monochromatic scheme balanced, use a mix of shades from the top to the bottom of the paint strip.

Try an Easy Neutral Color Scheme With Pops of Color 

If you love the look of neutral walls and furniture but still want to express your creative side, a neutral color scheme featuring pops of color is a wonderful choice. The beauty of a neutral color scheme as a backdrop is that you have the freedom to easily add brighter or heavily saturated colors.

Choose only two or three accent colors; things can get out of hand pretty quickly if you add too many bold colors to your neutral scheme. Choose colors from your favorite accessories and build from there. By sticking to a simple color palette, your home will feel more balanced.

When adding pops of color to your neutral color palette, your room will look more relaxed if you know how to use cool and warm colors. While you can pair a cool neutral color like gray with warm accents or a warm neutral like beige with cool accents, mixing both cool and warm accents with neutrals can look awkward. To find the right balance, it’s essential to experiment with and edit accent colors.

When creating an interior or exterior neutral color scheme, the successful combination of colors is actually more important than the individual colors you select. And the key to any workable color scheme is ensuring the proper balance among the components.

By Diana Hathaway Timmons. From THE SPRUCE

How does your garden grow?

10 Top tips for beginners YES you can grow your own garden anywhere❣️

How to Start a Garden – 10 Basic Steps

  1. Decide what you’d like to grow
  2. Choose a location
  3. Plan your garden beds
  4. Invest in basic garden tools
  5. Test your soil
  6. Prepare the soil
  7. Choose the right seeds or transplants
  8. Plant with care
  9. Nurture your garden
  10. Enjoy your harvest!

For more in-depth information please visit

11 Hacks for the freshest smelling home ever

How to make sure buyers are not put off by the initial smell walking in to your home.

There’s nothing quite as nice as coming back to an amazingly fresh-smelling home. It’s one of those little details in life that makes all the difference. And the good news is there are a ton of easy hacks to make your house smell good that require little to no effort on your part. And isn’t that the best kind?

I used to be weirdly against little home niceties like air fresheners. I thought they were an unnecessary expense that provided little actual return. If you kept your home relatively clean and odor free, what was the point? However, after being gifted a scented candle one holiday season in my absolute favorite scent (lilac), I tried it out and literally never went back. It turned out that one, technically unnecessary detail made me so incredibly happy. “I’d kind of be crazy not to keep buying these,” I thought.

And it turns out it’s not just me who notices a big difference. A 2009 study published on found that teens who received aromatherapy were significantly less stressed than those who received a placebo, indicating that it could be a very effective treatment for stress management.

Basically, a good-smelling home isn’t just nice, it can literally help you de-stress. Which, in my opinion, is kind of worth its weight in gold. If you’re on the lookout for ways to make your home smell amazing, here are 11 super easy hacks that should help.

1. Get Some Linen Spray

There are economical linen sprays available everywhere now from your local .99 store to Ross, TJ Maxx, Target and beyond. Have fun smelling them all and find one you like!

2. Make A Stove Simmer

According to a piece on The Huffington Posta super easy way to make your home smell great is by making a stove simmer. Simply boil some water and then add some cinnamon sticks (and orange slices if desired). Let it simmer for 30 minutes and say hello to a delicious smelling kitchen and surrounding area.

3. Buy Baking Soda In Bulk

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of those home maintenance super hacks that can help you out in about 1,000 situations. In terms of odor absorption, I always sprinkle a coating at the bottom of the trash can in my kitchen before putting in the bag, and also keep an open box in my refrigerator and by my cat’s litter box at all times. Game changer!

4. Scented Candles

Scented candles are just about the easiest way to make a room smell amazing, and the variety of scents make them my usual go-to. And pro-tip: you can usually find really high quality brands and scents at discount stores like T.J Maxx and Marshalls. I never buy mine anywhere else any more.

5. Dryer Sheets In Trash Can

According to the same Huffington Post piece, keeping a dryer sheet at the bottom of a garbage can is a super convenient way to control odor. Keep a box on hand in your kitchen for a quick odor-solution.

6. Essential Oils In A Mason Jar

A post on the super awesome site DIY Crafts recommended filling an empty mason charge with baking soda and adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. You can then poke holes in the lid and use the jar as a portable air freshener for any space that needs a scent-boost.

7. DIY Plug In Refills

DIY Crafts also suggested making your own refills for store-bought plug-in air fresheners. “You just have to remove the wick, fill the container with your favorite essential oils and water and then replace the wick. This is a great way to save money and have a wonderful smelling home at the same time,” they note.

8. Reed Diffusers

Reed diffusers are a great alternative to scented candles because they emit really nice fragrances without the whole potential fire hazard thing. I’ve tried to make my own at home using essential oils, but I’ve honestly found that buying the scent pre-mixed works just as well and is a lot more convenient. They’re awesome for spaces where candles might not necessarily work well, like at the office.

9. Go Crazy With House Plants highly recommended investing in house plants to help keep the air in your home purified and smelling fresh. Aloe vera, English Ivy, and Chinese evergreen are just a few plants known to best help neutralize air.

10. Make A Pomander

A “pomander” is just a fancy word for a nice smelling, fruit-based air freshener. Check out the tutorial


to see how to make one with an orange and cloves for a super nice-smelling spicy citric accent (and while the video specifically references making them for Christmas, they can of course be made any time and for any occasion!).

11. DIY Gel Fresheners

This last one is also from DIY Crafts. Simply fill a jar with some plain gelatin mix, water, and your favorite essential oils, and voila! You have your very own gel air freshener. You can also add food coloring if you want to make them look more decorative.

A fresh-smelling home isn’t out of your reach, nor is it super difficult to achieve. Just try some or all of the above tips, and be prepared to never want to leave your house again.


Beautiful and helpful article By Toria Sheffield – blogger – thank you so much❣️

9 Home Trends Making a Huge Comeback

History repeats itself when it comes to design. Several home fads from years past are re-emerging, but with a modern twist.

17th Century: Stately Sunbursts

© Photo by Getz Creative; Design by In Site Designs

Then: Sunburst motifs
Now: Sunburst mirrors

The sunburst motif, with its circular center and beaming rays, has a long history in decor. At the royal Palace of Versailles in France, sunbursts from the 17th century grace the Gate of Honor and Hall of Mirrors and are reflected throughout the famous palace’s architectural details. And for the past few years, they have proven a popular home accent as mirrors with thin rays in silvers, golds, or natural woods above a bed or fireplace or in a powder room. “A sunburst mirror in the entryway can be a burst of energy,” says home stager Krisztina Bell, owner of No Vacancy Staging in Atlanta.

Then: Metal-stamped ceilings
Now: Wallpaper or painted ceilings

During the roaring 1920s, stamped ceilings dressed up a home’s fifth wall. Ceilings were plated with copper or tin decorative sheets, using floral patterns or corniced ceiling roses. They were often painted white to give a hand-carved look. Now, the statement ceiling is back, but this time it relies on paint, wallpaper, or wood molding. It can brighten up a space and make it memorable, Skoloff says. “We find the interest on a ceiling draws the eye up, and you cannot help but feel a space is there to ‘wow’ you,” Skoloff says. For example, using metallic wallpaper in gold or silver offers up a historical take on the tin ceiling that can make a space feel more luxurious at a lower cost, she says.

1930s: Art Deco Glam

© Furniture Choice,

Then: Black-and-white checkerboard tiling
Now: Geometric patterned accents

Art deco design in the 1930s embraced geometric patterns to make a big statement. High-contrast bathroom and kitchen tile flooring in black-and-white checkerboards was all the rage. Nowadays, these bold shapes and patterns are making a comeback in lighting fixtures, tile backsplashes, wallpaper, artwork, rugs, and mudrooms. Joseph says she sees black-and-white geometric shapes being merged with urban farmhouse styles, such as in the bathroom with mosaic black-and-white octagon tile then mixed with other classic period pieces like a claw-foot bathtub and pedestal sink. “Black-and-white is timeless,” Joseph says.

Then: Terrazzo as a flooring surface
Now: Terrazzo tabletops, floor tiles, rugs, and more

A big design star for 2019: terrazzo and its speckled, confetti-like designs. Terrazzo is a composite material made up of marble chips set into cement. It can be traced back to ancient mosaics in Egypt. But in the 1920s and 1940s, it became popular as a flooring choice within art deco and modern homes. The latest terrazzo craze began last year: Pinterest found that in 2018 users saved imagery of terrazzo-designed spaces at more than triple the rate of the year before.Terrazzo is stretching beyond floors, appearing in a variety of locations, such as shower wall surfaces or countertops, as an alternative to granite. Terrazzo-inspired designs are also showing up in specked wallpaper, lamp shades, and kitchenware.

Then: All-pink bathrooms
Now: Pink accents

First lady Mamie Eisenhower—nicknamed “First Lady Pink”—deserves credit for the original pink craze in the 1950s. In 1953, she had the White House’s private quarters—as well as the bathroom of the Eisenhowers’ retirement home in Gettysburg, Pa.— redecorated in pink. Wall-to-wall pink and bubblegum hues may be a thing of the past, but toned-down varieties like blush, and peachy pink accents are catching on in throw pillows, vases, blankets, and accent walls. Paint forecaster Pantone chose “living coral,” a rich pinkish color that blends oranges and reds, as its 2019 color of the year. Pairing pink throws and pink vases as accents with crystal, like in a chandelier, offers a luxe, glamorous look, Joseph says.

1960s Groovy Curve Appeal

© Krisztina Bell, No Vacancy Staging

Then: Rounded furnishings used in formal living rooms
Now: Curved furnishing accents

A curvier design aesthetic from the 1960s is changing the hard-edged vibe in modern interiors. Rounded backs can be spotted in everything from orb bar stools to wingback chairs. Rounded ottomans, or poufs, and tufted, curved sofas and love seats are gaining favor. In staging, curvier furnishings can be used to accentuate a fireplace or create a cozier overlook of a picture window showing off the home’s backyard, Bell says. Rounded designs even have the potential to make homeowners happier and more relaxed in a space, according to a 2011 study from Oregon State University researchers Sibel Dazkir and Marilyn Read that appeared in the journal Environment and Behavior. “We want people to realize that simple changes, such as adding curvilinear form, in your home or office can make a big difference about how you feel in your environment,” Read said in the study.

1970s: Velvet Glory

© Furniture Choice,

Then: Velvet everywhere
Now: Velvet furniture

The elegant, plush fabric was draped on curtains, furniture, and bedding in the 1970s. Now it’s back, adding a retro vibe to interiors. “Velvet has emerged as a top fabric pick in 2019,” says Rebecca Snowden, interior style adviser at Furniture Choice. “Whether it’s in a ‘Scandi’ minimalist space or a glammed up art deco room, velvet’s success lies in its adaptability to various interior trends.” Bolder velvet hues—in navy, green, or fuchsia—make for a contemporary, yet sophisticated contrast tootherwise lighter interiors, she says. On the flip side, lighter pastel tones, such as baby blue or dusty pink, give rooms a softer touch. “Velvet accessories like cushions and poufs are on trend and can transform any room,” Snowden say. “These details add a ‘wow’factor no matter the shade and are an easy way to embrace the look without having to make any big changes.”

1980s: Flower Power

© Furniture Choice,

Then: Chintz-patterned florals
Now: Supersized florals

The 1980s ushered in a floral explosion of sorts: Floral-patterned chintz bedding matched on the drapes, the pillows, the bedskirt, and everything surrounding them. In today’s design, the floral touch is more discerning and less “matchy,” Joseph says. Today’s versions feature enlarged florals compared to the smaller patterns of the 1980s. For example, large peonies or roses make popular artwork accents. Also, black backgrounds in floral throws or pillows offer a fresher take on the trend, Joseph says. “Florals or topical prints are excellent statement makers,” Snowden adds. “They pop well with smaller decor or can firmly anchor the room with a striking feature wall.” Opt for larger botanical prints in the form of murals or wall art for a bigger statement, Snowden suggests. Use light-colored floral patterns for a more relaxed, natural look, she adds.

1990s Green Machine

© Reid Rolls; Designed by HGTV designer Leanne Ford

Then: Hunter greens
Now: Jewel tones

Dark greens were a popular home accent color in the 1990s, seen from leather sofas to marble flooring. Those greens fit into the era’s love for cooler palettes. Now green is reemerging from homeowners’ love of nature. That’s why the paint company PPG chose Night Watch, a dark green with blue undertones, as its 2019 color of the year. “The dark green … recreates the calming, invigorating euphoria we feel when in nature,” says Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager. PPG teamed with HGTV designer Leanne Ford to show a nature-inspired look with dark green dining room walls accented with wood tones and different textures in the furnishings. Dark greens also make trendy accents in bedrooms, dining areas, and areas without any view or tie to the outdoors, like the end of a dark hallway, Schlotter says. Jewel-toned greens and navy blues pair well with gold or brass accents for a luxury statement, Joseph says. The hues can be toned down when paired with peachy salmon or gray colors, she adds.

June 28, 2019 Melissa Dittmann Tracey

The Budget-Friendly Renovation of this Torrance home was an exercise in patience

A first-time homeowner saved for a decade before updating her parents’ placeBy Kelly DawsonAugust 20, 2019

When her mom left the property to DeDe following her death in 2004, DeDe knew then that she eventually wanted to renovate it. The original 1950s layout sectioned off the floor plan, creating small bedrooms and making the galley kitchen feel like an isolation booth. A 1980s renovation to the front exterior only added to that disarray with a row of cramped windows cluttering an awkward curve. But the worst part? “There was only one bathroom for the whole house,” she says, laughing. DeDe made a plan to save as much as she could for a future gut job as she simultaneously paid off debts. She ignored the sun-bleached paint and structural issues that surrounded her, and instead researched modern properties for inspiration and design-build firms that could deliver comprehensive results. And then one day while stopped at a red light, she noticed the office of Robert Sweet, the lead principal of ras-a studio. It took a decade of saving, a home equity loan, and a pause in traffic for work on her long-awaited renovation to begin.

a retro kitchen with dark cabinetry
BEFORE: The original kitchen had a door that could be closed off, which no modern host wants. “If you were in the kitchen, you were completely separated from anything and everyone else,” DeDe says.Photo courtesy of ras-a studio

“I knew this going in, but I got to learn it firsthand: Renovations are always going to be more expensive than you originally budgeted,” she notes. “Robert and his team were so clear about what everything was going to cost, which was important to me. This was not their fault—it’s just the facts of being a first-time renovator. You spend a year planning and getting permits, which costs thousands of dollars before even breaking ground. I couldn’t believe it. But I had to have faith that all of this was the groundwork for my future dream home.”

An overhead plan of a 2 bedroom home
AFTER: The new layout has a more open flow and adds plenty of indoor-outdoor space to enjoy the Southern California weather.Photo courtesy of ras-a studio

There were two major constraints to this renovation project, which took the home down to its studs: size and money. DeDe wanted a bright, open floor plan on essentially the same footprint, and she asked Robert to make it happen with as little cash as possible. Robert and project architect Paul Miller drew up a solution of two gable-roof volumes that unified the living, dining, and kitchen areas in one blended space. A new deck would appear to add an extra 200 square feet to the 1,250-square-foot home, too, since a sliding pocket door could completely disappear between indoors and out. “I went into our initial meetings with nonnegotiables to help keep the budget and my vision on track: the open concept, the indoor-outdoor living, the yoga studio, and a place for my cats,” DeDe says. “The house is the way I wanted it because Robert had these tools.”

a double peak house with wood deck
AFTER: “Since the deck wraps completely around the back of the house, I treat it like additional living space,” DeDe says. “I can slide the pocket door open, and the entire house feels larger.” The deck in the back of the home is entirely new, and the front patio and porch were also added to the original footprint. Other than that, the home stayed pretty much the same size.Photo by Lauren Moore

The yoga studio stands where the bay windows once were, and a small deck was extended from it to create a separate public entrance from the street. “A vertical garden was another nonnegotiable, and the trumpet vines in front of the studio are what we came up with,” she continues. “They’re on metal mesh that blows gently in the wind, and I can open a panel door so that the leaves make pretty shadows on the walls.” At the moment, the studio is more of a guest bedroom with a closet on one end and mirrors on the other. Soon, DeDe will host clients in this space as another way to be efficient with her money. “I wanted the option to have a yoga studio so that I could use it for tax purposes when the time comes,” she adds.

A white kitchen countertop and closets
AFTER: “I wanted an open concept so that if I had guests, I didn’t have to be separated from them,” DeDe adds. “It was one of the first things on my list of nonnegotiables.”Photo by Lauren Moore

For now, DeDe is content with what she has. She moved back into the property in April 2018 after about a year of renovations, and she feels that this version of the home is the space she’s been patiently waiting to love. “The previous house was never aesthetically pleasing to my eyes,” she says. “But now when I’m driving up to it or leaving it, I feel a sensation of pleasure all the way to my bones. It affects me on a visceral level, to look at where I live and feel a sense of happiness.”

the exterior of a house with two peaked roofs
AFTER: “We chose a drought-resistant yard to cut down on my water bill, and also because it looks nice against the white stucco,” DeDe says. “A gardener comes once or twice a month to keep the shrubs from looking shabby.” The front entrance niche is highlighted with Western red cedar, which contrasts the stucco.Photo by Lauren Moore

DeDe’s Tips for First-Time Renovators

Spend at least a year living in the house you plan to renovate “It’s true that I spent 10 or 11 years in my house before the renovation, but it gave me a lot of time to think about what worked and what didn’t,” she says. “I think if you give yourself a year—and take note of how a home operates through the seasons—that would be enough time to get a feel for what you need.”

Ask yourself how you actually spend your time “I think the reason why my renovation went so smoothly is that I took time to consider all of the ways I like to spend my time,” she adds. “I told Robert exactly what those points were—relaxation, yoga, spending time outdoors—and that made the end result easier to picture. And we had to figure out how to maximize a small space, so having this list helped us figure out what worked.”

a white kitchen with silver appliances
“Robert suggested that we use IKEA cabinets and countertops in the kitchen to stretch the budget,” DeDe notes. “Everywhere where you see storage in the home, it’s IKEA. It’s also very easy to order—we just updated the hardware.”Photo by Lauren Moore

You’ll be glad you hired a project manager “I looked at the budget before we started, and I saw that 10 percent of it was essentially going to a project manager, so I told Robert I didn’t need one,” DeDe continues. “Robert told me that the project manager would be on site every day, all day, to make sure nothing went wrong. I wanted to save the 10 percent, but ultimately, I’m so glad he talked me out of that. If you can afford to hire one, a project manager makes the process smoother. Mine wouldn’t let people leave unless things were done right.”

If you can’t live in the home during the renovation, live close by “I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to live in the house during the renovation, and I was lucky enough to be able to rent a condo two miles away. I also saved for that, because I wanted my home equity loan to go toward the project and not toward rent,” DeDe says. “I was able to go to the house every day and see the progress. It made me feel involved in the process, even though I didn’t pick up a hammer or anything like that.”