Pantone’s 2017 color picks: bright and optimistic

Posted by Lauran

The color gurus at the Pantone Color Institute have selected their 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery—part of an overall uplifting palette for 2017.

According to Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman, “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the connections we seek with nature, one another, and a larger purpose.”

I find it fascinating that this palette is missing the dark, murky colors that paint companies are calling out for 2017. It is also missing a gray, which is in interesting departure from a trend that’s been dominant for so long.

Here are some ideas for how to use these optimistic colors in your home, in small and bigger ways.

Chilewich offers placemats, runners and coasters in Dill, a close match for Pantone’s Greenery.

The Verdure pillow from anthropologie offers a nice combination of Pantone’s cheerful tones.

Head over to West Elm for great products that match the Pantone palette, including the Muratto Cork Wall covering in Cobalt Blue (like Lapis Blue); Radiating Ovals Rug in Light Pool (similar to Island Paradise); the Leon Woodframe Loveseat in Cayenne (similar to Flame); and the Roar + Rabbit Patterned Cachepots which combine several of the Pantone colors.

The classic Eames Molded Plastic chairs are available in a wide range of colors, including Aqua Sky (a close match for Island Paradise), Peacock Blue (similar to Niagara), and Blush (much like Pale Dogwood). You could surround your dining room table with the Pantone palette!

If you’re inspired to paint an entire room or even just an accent wall, here are some good paint matches for some colors in the palette (all from Benjamin Moore).

And here’s some extreme painting inspiration for you . . .

This room pairs a color very similar to Kale with Pale Dogwood ceilings. Image via Real Simple, photo by Gentl & Hyers

What about combining Greenery, Pink Yarrow, and Flame on the walls, while using Niagara on the ceiling? Image via abookabouthearchive on Pinterest, photo by Richard Bryant

What do you think about Pantone’s picks? Will you incorporate some Greenery in your home in the coming year? Let us know in the comments.

2017 color trends: dark and moody

Posted by Lauran

Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams and PPG Paints have all released their 2017 Colors of the Year, and they are a significant departure from last year’s designated colors.


Benjamin Moore has selected “Shadow” as its 2017 color of the year. Creative Director Ellen O’Neill describes the color: “It ebbs and flows with its surroundings, and light brings it to life. Rich, royal amethyst can fade into the soft lilac-grey of distant mountains or morph into lustrous coal. Indulge your mysterious side. Let Shadow set the mood.”


I would call the entire Benjamin Moore 2017 palette moody. Even the lighter colors are a bit murky, and not as bright.



PPG Paints has also chosen a purple, called “Violet Verbena”, as its 2017 color of the year. Their website describes it as “a gray-purple hue that idealizes the popular bohemian, ‘gypset’ lifestyle. This nuanced update on a classic shade adds depth, luxury and pampering to every space, making it the perfect backdrop for consumers looking to blend the masculine, the feminine, the mystic and the modern. Violet Verbena is a moody purple with a chameleon-like presence.”


Over at Sherwin-Williams, they’ve landed on “Poised Taupe” as their 2017 color of the year. “This color creates a cozy lifestyle and brings a sense of sanctuary into our homes. It diffuses the stresses of the world outside our doors — so much so that we feel restored and in balance when we walk across our threshold,” states the Sherwin-Williams website. “Our story of taupe is simple. Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.”


The rest of the 2017 palette features darker tones as well.

When you look at the words these companies have used to describe these colors . . . mysterious, rich, moody, mystic, cozy, woodsy. . . you get a sense that we’re entering a trend away from the bright, light and optimistic colors of the past several years.

Beyond paint colors, I’ve seen home decor in general taking a turn in this direction. More photos in my Pinterest feed are featuring walls and textiles in black, dark hunter green and yes, purple.



The two spreads above, emphasizing deep purples and maroons, are from the November issue of Better Homes and Gardens. And Apartment Therapy observed this trend back in April, in a story called “Trending: Dark & Stormy Jewel Tone Paint Colors” written by Adrienne Breaux.

Personally, I might add some deeper-colored accessories to my home, and would consider one accent wall in a darker color, but at my heart I’m still a “light and bright” gal. What do you think of these moody and mysterious colors? Do you see them as cozy and comforting, or dark and depressing? Let us know in the comments below.

Trim trends

Posted by Lauran

In the world of interior decorating, paint color is a constant topic of conversation, speculation and new trends. While attention has typically been given to choosing the right wall color, I’ve noticed a shift toward a new focus on trim color. Here’s a look at some of the trim trends we’re seeing.

Trim in same color as walls


In this spread from HGTV Magazine, the owners chose to paint their walls and trim a statement-making blue. Imagine how different the space would feel if the window trim had been white instead.


In this page from the latest Serena & Lily catalog, the entire wall paneling is painted one light blue tone.


This living room designed by Thom Felicia features a deep blue covering the walls, wall paneling and window trim to create a moody atmosphere. (via Remodelaholic, via House & Home magazine)


In this traditional home, the walls, trim, and baseboards share this gorgeous green. (Image via  havesomedecorum, via Veranda magazine.)

Black trim


This homeowner chose to paint all the window trim, door frames, and baseboards black (image via Remodelaholic, via Apartment Therapy).


This image from Serena & Lily shows the power of black trim against an otherwise all-white room.

Bright colored trim


This bright yellow window trim adds just the right punch of energy to this room.

The New Farmhouse
Another happy example of yellow trim in a farmhouse dining room.
Wow! This almost-neon green is a great match for all these house plants. (Image via housethatlarsbuilt, via The New Bohemians book.)
What do you think? If you’re afraid to paint an entire wall a different color, why not try just the trim?

Fall color trends

Posted by Lauran

Pantone Color Institute has officially released its Fall 2016 Fashion Color Report — calling the collection “a unity of strength, confidence and complexity.”

fall-2016 pantone colors

Pantone’s Executive Director further explains, “The desire for tranquility, strength, and optimism have inspired a Fall 2016 color palette that is led by the Blue family. . . Blue skies represent constancy as they are always above us. Grays give a feeling of stability, Red tones invite confidence and warmth, while the hot Pinkish Purples and Spicy Mustard Yellows suggest a touch of the exotic.”

It’s always fun to find new Fall merchandise in our favorite home stores that feature these colors. Here are some ideas for you . . .


crewel pillow

The Watercolor Tapestry Pillow and Crewel Linked Tiles Pillow from West Elm both blend the red and blue tones from the palette.

rei chair

Room and Board’s Lola chair comes stocked in the Rei fabric, a good blend of the two Pantone blues.


Over at CB2, the Cleo Rug has a modern southwestern vibe that really showcases the Sharkskin Gray, Dusty Cedar and Potter’s Clay from Pantone’s collection.


CB2’s new Cupro Counter Table has dark gray legs and a copper top that perfectly reflect the fall palette as well.


Ikea’s new Vallentuna modular sectional is available in different color combinations—including this one that picks up Pantone’s Fall colors.


Ikea also has a new line of mix-and-match cabinets I really like called Lixhult, available in a variety of colors including this gold that matches Pantone’s Spicy Mustard.

If you’re looking for paint colors that reflect Pantone’s collection, may I suggest these matches from Benjamin Moore:

Old Glory811



Have some fun with paint

Posted by Lauran

Looking for a way to transform your space without committing to new furniture, rugs or artwork? If you’re willing to buy just one can of paint you can make a big impact, even without painting the entire room. Here are some ideas.


You can add color and character by painting just one wall—or even one part of one wall—a different color than the rest of the room. All three of these great examples are from Benjamin Moore‘s Ben paint catalog, available at your local Benjamin Moore store.

ben orange blue copy

green white colorblocking

ben yellow copy


Horizontal or vertical, wide or narrow, stripes bring graphic interest to a room.

ben red stripes copy

Benjamin Moore

bhg family stripes

Better Homes and Gardens

downstairs bath

Visual Jill Interior Design


Designers call the ceiling “the fifth wall” . . . don’t overlook it when decorating and painting your home!

pink ceiling

Rain on a Tin Roof, via SG Style

light blue ceiling

My Old Country House

DS blue tops

Design*Sponge, photography by Sandy Soohoo

Interior doors

If your walls are white, why not paint your doors a bright happy color?

turq doors

Airows, photography by Bailey McCarthy

DS orange door

Design*Sponge, photography by Amy Mokris

blue interior door

Keltainen talo Rannalla

Highlighting with painted shapes

These examples are especially fun. It would take no time at all to tape off a small section of a wall and paint it to highlight a specific display area.

painted square

Mobel Pobel

jungalow yellow circle

Justina Blakeney, The Jungalow


Pantone’s Color(s) of the Year: soft and soothing

Posted by Lauran

It’s December, so that means it’s time for paint companies, designers and fashionistas to declare their “colors of the year.” The Pantone Color Institute is considered to be the leader in these predictions, and for 2016 they’ve made an interesting choice—a blend of two colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity.



We have seen pink as a major color trend for a while now, and this periwinkle blue is a new twist on the soft blues that have been popular (remember “Breath of Fresh Air” from Benjamin Moore 2014?).

It’s helpful to look at the whole palette of colors that Pantone provides to see how to use Rose Quartz and Serenity in your home (without making it look like a nursery).


In our own decorating and staging projects, we find it easiest to use pink as an accent color, as we just did in this Oakland home for sale.

aitken office

The pink is limited to the artwork, one pillow and a vintage stool. We love how pink interacts with black, white and gray.

It’s interesting to note that while Benjamin Moore has chosen Simply White as their own 2016 Color of the Year, the palette they selected to complement Simply White also includes a light pink (Cream Puff) and a periwinkle blue (Enchanted).

bmcolorpalette copy

What do you think? Do you (or will you) use pink or periwinkle in your own home?


Sweet remodeled bungalow

This week we staged a charming remodeled Oakland bungalow filled with sweet details such as interior french doors and a unique kitchen floor. Realtor Ron Kriss and his team did an amazing job re-imagining what was just a one-bedroom and turning it into a two-bedroom—with a bonus detached office.

Vicente LR

Vicente LR 3

Vicente entry

We tried something a little different with this house—painting the inside as well as the outside of the front door. I just love this bright-yet-sophisticated blue (BM Jamestown Blue).

Vicente into kitchen

I also am a big fan of the floor treatment in the kitchen and dining area. The team finished the pine subfloor, then painted large black squares in a checkerboard pattern. It’s quaint, yet modern.

Vicente DR

Behind the open door into the hallway (pictured above), there is a hidden chalkboard wall that we had some fun with.


We chose a fresh cantaloupe color for the accent wall in the kid’s room (BM Golden Archway).

Vicente kids

The master bedroom is small yet peaceful, especially with Palladian Blue on the accent wall.

Vicente master

This home has an important bonus room—a converted garage that is fully wired to be an awesome art studio, playroom or office.

Vicente office

A simple paint job in white, gray and chalkboard paint makes the space light and bright.

This home will be open this weekend! If you live in the East Bay, come check it out!

Photography courtesy of Jennifer Rosen.

Give your home a Design Boost!

At Visual Jill, we believe that everyone deserves good design, regardless of budget. Sometimes you can make a big impact with just the right small tweaks, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. With this in mind, we are proud to introduce our new 3-hour Design Boost service.

For just $390, Visual Jill will spend three hours helping you refresh your home. We can do a lot in three hours! Here are some ideas.

Color consultation

Do your walls need a redo? We can choose paint colors for every room in your house.

paint example

Room re-invention

Ever tried your sofa on the other side of the room? We can help you re-arrange your furniture and use what you already have in a new way.


On-site styling

Maybe you need a little help with your accessories. Let us come to your home and hang your artwork and style the things you love!


Furniture finds

Tell us what you need and give us your budget. We’ll create a custom Pinterest board and find lots of options you’ll love from different retailers and etsy sellers.

pinterest screen copy

Remodeling help

Are you exploring options for a new bathroom or kitchen? You can get our input on the right countertops, tile or floors for your project.

materials example

How would you use your Design Boost?

A tranquil palette sets the tone for this Berkeley home

Posted by Lauran

This week we staged a beautiful four-bedroom house in Berkeley where the blue, green and gray color palette is really the star of the show.

The minute you walk into the entryway, you feel yourself relax as the cool blue surrounds you.


From the entry you enter the living room, where we chose a soft gray as a backdrop for modern furnishings and bright colored accessories.



Original artwork by Harry Gruenert


The dining room walls feature the same color, and we carried the blue tones through the pillows on the built-in bench and artwork.



Original artwork by Amiguel

As you move into the kitchen, a slightly different soft blue works well with the white cabinets and marble countertops.


There are two bonus spaces at the back of the house—a sunroom, which we staged as a family room, and a detached office. The photo below shows you how these buildings were added to the original home.

Ward back

Here’s how the sunroom/family room looks inside . . .

Ward FR

. . . note that here the grass and sky added all the green and blue we needed!

The detached office features a green accent wall.


Back inside the house, when you go upstairs you are greeted with four bedrooms. First, a sweet little room that we thought made a perfect nursery, with mint green walls . . .

Ward baby

Next, a soothing guest room featuring a soft blue accent wall and a vintage teak bed . . .

Ward guest

The third room is the kid’s room—with playful hits of green, yellow and orange!

Ward kids

And finally, the master bedroom with its dusky blue walls invites relaxation.

Ward master

Original artwork by Amiguel

The next time you’re choosing paint colors, remember to consider the flow of your entire home. While it can be fun to vary colors and tones from room to room, a more strategic color plan creates an overall cohesive feeling—as you can see from this home.

Note: This Berkeley home will be open this Sunday, July 12! Go check it out!

Photography courtesy of Toursler.

Our favorite summer colors

Posted by Lauran

It’s June, and this month our blog will focus on—what else—SUMMER! Let’s start with summer colors . . . the blues of the ocean, the hues of tropical fruits. I turned to my favorite source for color inspiration, Design Seeds . . .


summer brights

. . . then I sourced paint colors that bring these summer-fresh palettes home. (All paint colors are Benjamin Moore.)

Lake Blue

Winter Lake 2129-50, used in the kitchen of a house we staged two weeks ago


Tropicana Cabana 4048-50, as seen in Coastal Living


Kokopelli Teal 648, as seen in the Condesa DF hotel in Mexico City, via Lost at E Minor

IslandblueCovington Blue HC-138, as seen in a master bedroom from one of our staged homes


Mango Punch 154, used in a kitchen by Scott Weston Architecture Design PL, via Houzz


Tasty Apple 416, via Redbook

Which is your favorite? What colors screams “summer” to you? Tell us in the comments below!