Pottery Barn’s new colors :: Revisited :: and design inspiration

Gasl05_soothingbath_2 I received a great comment from Rachel at the Hue Consulting blog about PB’s new colors.  And it made me start thinking about a couple of things.

Rachel says, "I, too, noticed the difference in Pottery Barn’s latest catalog. I wonder about how realistic their wall color selections are tho’, especially for the average PB customer. Those are some pretty intense hues!"  See her post about it here.

They are intense for sure.  How practical is that bright yellow for a bedroom wall?  I am not sure I could wake up to that every morning.  Also, I think it goes without saying that although PB would like you think it is as easy as plucking a Ben Moore color from their catalog, buying a loot of PB furniture and accessories and recreating the same room in your own home, it does not work that way.  But I am preaching to the choir, am I not?  Relative to paint colors foremost, you should always get swatches and/or sample pots to test out colors in your own rooms.  I can guarantee they will not look the same as in the glossy mag photo or catalog.  I know I have talked about all this before but I think it is worth mentioning again and again.

No matter where we look for inspiration, except maybe on flickr (at ‘real’ people’s photos), we can guarantee that the beautiful photo we drool over has been styled and styled and styled to make it look that way…the perfect lighting, the best combination of colors and textures, the most wonderful accessories.  When we look at these images, cut them from magazines or catalogs and save them to our computer inspiration files I think we need put them into perspective.  I truly believe we should always balance beauty with practicality for example.  If not, there is wasted time and money invovled. 

Be inspired by all that you see, but take the time to ask yourself why you are drawn to an image.  Think about the colors, light and dark, contrasting colors, quality of light, size of furniture and accessories, openness and coziness, vertical and horizontal lines, views, texture of all surfaces, contrasting textures and of course style i.e. traditional vs. modern and everything in between.  Asking yourself about all these qualities only helps you determine what your own style is and what you are looking to create in your own home and that should be your goal, not simply copying someone else’s room or a billion dollar companie’s style.

There are two images that I have recently saved for myself.  The one above of the bathroom is taken by Paul Costello of a project done by my favorite architects up in Connecticut featured in Domino.  I was drawn to this photo because of the light and airyness of the room, but also the simple color palette and the simple furnishings.  Another nice quality is the creamy yellow and white walls contrasted with the dark wood of the bench.

Gasl03_suprisekitchen This photo at left appealed to me because I find it hard to resist color palettes of greens and blues.  More specifically though, we have been considering alternatives to our badly colored Pergo floor in our kitchen and I like the creative use of the linoleum tiles in this kitchen.  Linoleum is fairly affordable and is considered a green product and has been for many, many years.  I also like the colored cabinets with the butcherblock.  Photo by Annie Schlechter for Domino.

I try to make a habit of printing my photos and marking them with notes to remind myself why I liked it in the first place.  If you don’t have easy access to a color printer, make a pdf of the photo and add an electronic note in Adobe Reader or Acrobat.

With all the luscious design blogs out there and a plethora of eye candy available to us, I think it is sometimes possible to become ‘over-inspired’ or overwhelmed.  But I really think if we take a closer look at what is drawing us in, it can help us better define our own likes and dislikes.

Do you agree or disagree?

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