Beyond Floor to Ceiling: Painting Tips from Benjamin Moore®

The season for opening the windows, donning those ripped jeans, and trying your hand at refreshing every wall color is here. And when it comes to painting, we turn to none other than Andrea Magno, Color & Design Expert at Benjamin Moore.

To date, we’ve touched on sheen levels, chevron stripes, and the just-right balance of dark and light. Today’s topic? Adding dimension with paint. No, not top coats and bottom coats. We’re talking the technique of using different paint tones, shades, and finishes in the same space. From matte finishes to accent ceilings, our go-to paint pro discusses the ways.

Benjamin Moore Painting Tips

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June 18, 2014

Passport to Style: Get the French, Belgian, or Italian Look at Home

With its centuries-long history of art and craftsmanship, it’s a no-brainer that Europe is one of the world’s most stylish continents. Here, we share tips for incorporating three of its countries’ distinct looks into your home.052714_blog

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May 27, 2014

Designer Genes: Meet Orlando Soria

To fans of HGTV, Orlando Soria is best known as Emily Henderson's assistant on the home-makeover series Secrets from a Stylist. But Soria’s design portfolio and talent don’t stop there. The Los Angeles–based interior designer and visual artist is also founder and author of the lighthearted design and lifestyle blog Hommemaker, as well as the West Coast creative director for Homepolish, a website that connects homeowners with professional interior designers in their region. The lucky winner of our sweepstakes with Trulia will welcome Soria into their home for a personal design consultation (and, we’re betting, lots of laughs). Here, Soria chats with Rue Living about clients, consultations, and having fun with it all.

Interview with Interior Designer Orlando Soria
Images courtesy of Orlando Soria

Rue La La: What are some of the most common hang-ups you encounter when consulting or working with clients for the first time?
Orlando Soria: Most often it’s that people don’t know what things are going to cost. For example, rugs and drapery tend to be very expensive, as is quality art. Most clients experience sticker shock with those items because they are pricey investment pieces you’re meant to buy and keep for years, and their prices reflect that.

RLL: Where do clients often go wrong on their own with their interior design?
OS: An issue I see a lot is people choosing items they love without thinking about how they work together. So they’ll paint a wall bright red and then buy maroon chairs and bring in some chrome accents and while all those things might be fine on their own, together they look garbled and chaotic. When designing a space it’s important to think about what story you want to tell, how you want the room to make you feel, and to use furnishings, wall treatments, et cetera, as a means to producing that feeling/story.

RLL: You must see a wide variety of homes and tastes between all of your clients. How do you pull together a unique vision for each?
OS: I don’t like to do anything too themey or fake, so I can find things to love about all styles. The trick is to mix it up enough that it looks unique and natural, tailored to the people who live there. You do this by making sure you’re incorporating the client’s art, books, and other items they’ve collected over the years. What inspires me ultimately is to create a space that the client will be happy in, where they see colors, objects, and furnishings that have positive connotations for them. This is why design is so pyschological. You have to really dig deep to find out which furnishings are really going to make people happy, and which things they’re going to hate because they remind them of their grandma or something dated.

RLL: At its core, what are the key elements of successful interior design?
OS: Composition. I come from an art background so I think about everything in terms of color, light, and balance. It’s important to balance a room with color, finishes, and textures. For example, if you have a large, dark sofa on one side of the room, it helps to add something dark/heavy across from it so it doesn’t feel like the room is being sucked into a black hole.

RLL: What do you typically discuss with a new client in your first consultation or meeting?
OS: I like to get a sense of who they are and what their style is by asking them about their job, movies they like, their favorite kinds of clothes, where they have lived, and where they like to vacation.  There are a lot of other indicators besides interior-design tastes that can tell you what people like. Being able to make connections between personal interests, fashion, and everyday activities and home furnishings is what makes a good designer.

RLL: What are your favorite interior design aesthetics?
OS: I’m a big fan of things that are modern and earthy at the same time. My design hero is a New York designer named Robert Stilin. His designs are simple and clean, yet still so warm and welcoming. They feel fresh and new without being hard, cold, and sterile. That’s the line I like to walk. Just modern and fresh enough, yet still comfortable, visually interesting, and inviting.

RLL: Describe your role as creative director for Homepolish L.A.
OS: My job is essentially the combination of everything I love to do: interior design, writing, marketing, team leading, making design more accessible, and promoting young, innovative designers. I do a lot of exciting design collaborations with wonderful brands and media outlets like goop and HelloGiggles, and fun collaborators like writer Kelly Oxford and fashion blogger Rumi Neely. It’s a great job and somehow everything I did before – from being on a TV show to doing graphic design and publicity – prepared me for it.

RLL: Tell us about a project you did for a client that you’re particularly proud of.
OS: I love a project I did with a wonderful family in La Habra Heights, which is a lovely little city about 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. Their home is a beautiful Spanish Revival and I had so much fun decorating it with furnishings that both complemented the architecture and reflected the young, hip styles of the homeowners.

RLL: Do you have any signature “moves” when it comes to interior design?
OS: I tend to make my own art and use it to fill spaces I don’t know what to do with. Or put benches in random places that feel empty or weird. Normally, if a space feels empty or awkward, a bench with a great art piece above it can solve the problem.

RLL: What’s your favorite room in a house to design and decorate?
OS: I love decorating guest bedrooms because you can be a little more adventurous with your design. Since no one has to sleep in there every night you can be bolder with color and art, which makes them a really fun opportunity to showcase your design perspective.

RLL: Have you ever done any staging? What are the biggest differences between staging and designing a home that someone intends to live in?
OS: I have not done any staging, but I have advised on it a lot. Basically, the idea with staging is both to give people ideas and inspiration and to show them how they might possibly lay out the space. They need to be aspirational, in a sense, because you want people to want the space, to buy the house. So in a way it’s not that much different than a regular design job. Ultimately, you’re just trying to make the space look as natural and inviting as possible.

RLL: What’s Hommemaker all about? 
OS: Hommemaker is a space for me to be creative just for me. No clients, no company, just share ideas about things I’m making, spaces I’m designing, what I’m thinking about and seeing it. I love doing it and it’s so satisfying to get feedback from readers. I kind of just treat it like a big art project and do whatever I want with it. That people read it is amazing and humbling.

RLL: Your writing style on Hommemaker is very playful. Do you try to work a sense of humor into your relationships with clients?
OS: I tend to joke around with clients and am naturally a playful person. It’s just my personality. I think it’s because I was shy my whole life, so I learned to joke as a way of making myself and others feel comfortable. Thus far all of my clients have been fun and great, so I can joke and laugh with them while also making sure we get everything done and that their home looks how they want it to look.

Want Orlando Soria to come to your home? Enter the sweepstakes in our New Home Know-How: Essentials for Staging & Decorating Boutique, opening Saturday, May 17, at 3PM ET.

Discover selling strategies, search neighborhoods, or contact a real estate professional at Trulia.com.

By Lindsay Lambert, Editor

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May 17, 2014

Breathe New Life Into Your Lazy-Sunday Table

Sundays are low-key, but that doesn’t mean mealtime has to be lackluster. Here are four easy ways to make suppertime more stylish.

Add Style to Lazy Sunday Meals

  1. Select a unified color scheme, be it black and white, pastels, or neutrals. Tip: Take cues from your dining room’s décor.
  2. Create layers – charger, napkin, salad plate, silverware. For an informal look, simply stack it all up at each place setting.
  3. Light candles, but try votives instead of tall tapers. They’re less formal, but they still incorporate soft lighting.
  4. Build a casual centerpiece using natural materials. Sprigs and herbs add texture and surprise.

 

Start your laid-back tablescape at our Spend Sunday at Home: Cooking to Entertaining Boutique on Sunday, March 30, at 11AM ET.

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March 30, 2014

3 Easy, Yet Artful, Home Updates

Infusing something noticeably surprising into a room does not  require an absolute overhaul. In fact, simple changes can make the biggest impact. Here, a few tweaks to try.

Easy and Artful Home Updates

 

Add drama to your windows
Install rods just an inch or two above the window. Then, let those curtains drape low, creating a puddling effect on the floor.

Incorporate extra seating
Store an ottoman or stool under a console. When guests drop by? Pull these out for chic, space-saving seats.

Play with pillow proportions
The fastest way to change up a room’s look: throw pillows. Try mixing oblong or round pieces in with your all-square arrangement.

Start building your creative spaces with The Total Home It List Boutique, opening Saturday, February 8, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 8, 2014

Let’s Redecorate: Pair Neutrals with Color

Neutrals upon neutrals throughout the house can create a serene, made-to-kick-back space. But whether in the form of wall paint or accent pieces, a hint of color will add life to your neutral scheme. Here, three combinations to try.

How to Pair Neutrals & Color in the Home


January 23, 2014

The New Year Home Refresh: Use One Item Multiple Ways

There’s something freeing about the start of a new year. It’s a chance to recharge and reset everything from your diet and exercise habits to your TV intake (so long, Bravo). But few things can have a restorative effective on the psyche like a change of scenery at home. Whether you’ve resolved to make over your entire abode or vowed to update a few key corners, one simple trick can keep that fresh-feeling momentum going long after the ball has dropped.

New Year Home Makeover

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January 1, 2014

Our Gift Pick of the Day: XOXO Throw Pillows

For the couple who loves sweet pillow talk

XOXO Pillows

Personalized World “XOXO” Decorative Pillows
Whether they’re about to move in to their first place together or are just picky about their home’s color palette (you can’t go wrong with neutrals), your closest couple-friends will delight in displaying these playful pillows on their bed or scattering them around on their armchairs and couch. Sending them long distance? Even better. Hugs and kisses included.

Our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique is now open.

Goof-Proof Gifting Reason #4: Extended holiday returns. Purchase now. Return through January 15.

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November 26, 2013

Instant Inspiration: 5 Pinterest Boards We Can’t Get Enough Of

A Tuesday roundup of our recent Pinterest obsessions

The impending change of seasons begs for more than just a wardrobe makeover. Hello, new home décor!

1. What does your bedroom say about you? (It has to say something.)

2. Chic bathrooms. Surprisingly, this isn’t an oxymoron.

3. Don’t tell, but we always put our feet on the living room couch.

4. The foyer is your first chance to make an impression. Make it good.

5. Our favorite part of the dining room? The food. Obviously.

Can’t get enough Pinterest inspiration? Check out past boards that caught our eye.  

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August 20, 2013

Repurpose Your Clutter with These DIY Ideas

The hardest part of spring cleaning? Disposing of all the stuff I’ve deemed clutter. But in an effort to be a little more DIY-saavy this year (in no small part thanks to Pinterest), I’m challenging myself to come up with crafty ways to reuse old items. Here, some spring DIY inspiration:

Home DIY Ideas

An old drying rack makes for a great, makeshift file organizer. Extra shower hooks? Hang them in the hall closet as bag holders. Save the drawers from that old dresser you’re replacing and mount them for some extra storage space. Replacing jiggling door knobs? Use them (or a rake head) to store and display your jewelry. Even old cans can be mounted as jazzy new storage for utensils.

There are so many possibilities and ways to repurpose those old items. All it takes is a little crafty thinking and some extra effort. (Okay, some skilled handiwork doesn’t hurt, either.)

By Anna Kuchinsky, Staff Writer

What are your favorite creative uses for old household items? Share in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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March 25, 2013