color theory: in the weeds still or details part 2


So we are back down in the weeds this post.  Some people can decorate with what seems like natural flair without “training” but really they constantly are practicing design in their daily life. Whether they are choosing an outfit to wear or picking a color for frosting cupcakes they are practicing color theory and design principles. How are they doing that? By coming up with an answer to a simple question “what looks better?”  Understanding how that answer works and repeating the success is what can be harder to quantify but we are taking a stab at it to help teach the principles of design and color theory in this series. In this series of post, I delve into why I chose certain colors to decorate out guest room. This is the last part 2 of the details.

Here what we covered in part 1.

  • Matchy-matchy: why it is not so great
  • Neutral Walls & Curtains: downplaying poor window placement
  • Quilt Hanger & Hat Rack: making one decorating statement with two pieces
  • Green Dresser & Mirror: why paint two objects the same color
  • Black: how to use black for contrasting and highlighting elements

What is left in the room? Quite a bit.

Dark brown

The pillow has nice dark brown that’s repeated in the stained brown tops of the dresser and night stands, the hat rack/quilt combo, the fan, the door hardware and the floor. I love painted furniture but you still need some natural or stained wood, it makes it feel comfortable. That’s part of why I think wood floors are so popular. Stained wood tops are the way to have both painted and stained furniture.  Stained wood tops have the added benefit of being kid friendly. Little finger prints on them are harder to see than on a painted surface.

Need some inspiration and advice for your guest room project, part 1 of our guest room series. In this series we will give a breakdown of steps to help you to decorate your guest room in any style or color. #darkgreenpaint#chalkpaintdiy#mountainpinepaint
guest room dresser: DIY chalk paint


Let’s talk metals and mixing colors. It’s OK, you can mix metals. To make mixing metals look intentional repeat the use of the metal at least three times. Yes, 3 times. For this project I chose brass and black. I pulled the brassy gold from the Pillow and the black for good contrast. I could have chosen a silver colored metal but, the cool dresser and night stands’ color needed warming up and contrast.

brass handles on cool gray green dresser

Why contrast?  No one wants to spend money on hardware and be unable to see it. Brass is becoming popular again because silver is harder to see against gray. I could have done black again for all the metal but I would miss the opportunity to warm up things with the brass.

The hardware on the dresser and night stands and the two lamps all have antique brassy gold but, my favorites are the towel hooks.  The towel hooks look like tree branches and have been dry brushed in green letting the brassy gold show through; so nut house appropriate.


The drapery hold backs combined both black and the brassy gold color on them. The hubby helped me make them out of clearance knobs and extra-large glass knob plates. The glass knob plates came as clear glass which I painted the backs of with craft paint in a brassy gold color so they would show up against the wall and repeated the brassiness.

Art work

I had 3 pieces of art with turquoise and other colors in them. Those I used together to make a bigger statement than letting them float around individually on their own on different walls.  When they are grouped together on one wall they create their own color story or their own vignette.  When you first enter  the room, your eye goes to the focal point, which is the bed, then it dances over to the wall with the turquoise art and finally is pulled up to up to the high ceiling by the turquoise bird cage. This is because your eyes are drawn by the turquoise which is a brighter color than the surrounding colors.

turquoise blue artwork

I painted the landscape that’s over the bed with some of the paints I used in the room and regular acrylics. The landscape painting has a lot of the room colors like the inspiration piece drawing your eye to what? Yes, the focal point, the bed. It also doubles as a faux view that the true windows lack.

Dakota Sky painting

I could have painted anything with the room’s colors and it would have worked but, I wanted to try acrylics and abstract some of the wonderful cloud formations we see here in North Dakota. I really want to do more of these types of paintings. I think it okay for a first attempt, it was certainly fun. I cranked up some tunes and just played with the paints.  My niece, who lives in North Dakota, knew right away it was supposed to be locally inspired.



Tchotchkes?  You know knickknatches, dodads, what nots, etc. So I have various other items such as: old books, vase with flowers, the bedside clock, green bottles, silver & brass hammered tray, a throw, a reed woven ball, and a bohemian basket. These all have at least one color from the Pillow or colors that look good with those colors. Keeping a tight rein on the colors in the “tchotchkes” helps you to have items that are useful or not and avoid the “overly cluttered look”.  The room seems like there are lots of colors but it really does have a limited color scheme, it’s just not limited to one or two colors.

Need some inspiration and advice for your guest room project, part 1 of our guest room series. In this series we will give a breakdown of steps to help you to decorate your guest room in any style or color. #guestroom#coralandturquoise#neutralwalls#thenuthouseco.
guest room at the nut house: coral and turquoise with neutral walls

So general rules to help with the details

  • Repeat colors of your inspiration piece
  • Avoid Matchy-Matchy unless you have a reason in match.
  • Use a color, stain or metal at least 3 times to make it look intentional.
  • Mixing metal is ok.
  • Grouping things together that have similar color makes them one larger object or vignette. This helps you avoid the unintentional cluttered look.
  • Highlight the best attributes of the room using hits of duller, darker or softer versions of your focal point in art work and tchotchkes. These colors still draw your eye to those elements secondary but don’t over shadow the focal point.

The days are growing longer so I’m getting my gardening itch. I have been fielding some garden questions from warmer climes. Coming up: some gardening posts. If you have questions about what you want to dig up or pull out, send me a good pic through Instagram or Facebook and I will let you know if it is anything worth saving or relocating.

Fill your life up and do something nutty.


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3 thoughts on “color theory: in the weeds still or details part 2

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