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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Color palettes: inspirations and aspirations

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I am lucky enough to be surrounded by creative talent from all areas, including gardening, food, crafts and style, and am constantly exposed to color. Sometimes I feel like each day there is a new collection of colors that inspire me and get me thinking about stories, my apartment, and product development or just life, in general.

With that in mind, today I am introducing a new post on color palettes. On a regular basis, I will be sharing with you a color palette that inspires me and, well, makes me feel good. The wonderful thing about this first palette, which ranges from a rich olive to a crisp gray, is that any color can be used on ceilings or walls. The colors (all from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot) suggest coordinating colors for ceilings and woodwork on the back and carry a Martha Stewart key symbol that identify groups of colors that work well together. Don’t be afraid of Kalamata Olive (MSL 195) or Feather Duster (MSL 251) for a ceiling. A darker color will make it seem infinitely higher.

These colors are evocative and nuanced and so ripe that you can almost taste them. Whether it’s a soft, flattering pink or a bright, warm sunny gold or cool, calming taupe, you can use these as a foundation and then come in with a deep, dramatic plum or restful pistachio or a searing chartreuse to add punch.

Whetstone Gray MSL258
Wrought Iron MSL168
Dried Chamomile MSL073
Fledgling MSL198
Picnic Basket MSL047
Macademia MSL060
Gloaming MSL170
Kalamata Olive MSL195
Feather Duster MSL251
Timothy Hay MSL091
Dune MSL078
Pink Granite MSL171

Want to see what I am talking about? I have put together a photo gallery of Martha Stewart Living images that are as timeless and flattering as this week’s palette. Look through the photos of gardens, food, collections, nature, and images from rituals of daily life and let me know which images inspire you.

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Comments (7)

  • A regular series of posts on color palettes sounds great. The photos are inspiring.

  • Kevin,

    With so many inspiring colors surrounding you all day how do you pull in the reigns when it comes time to decorate your own apartment? When do colors become 'too many' colors?

    •k•

  • I'm about to use Wrought Iron in a powder room. I tend to prefer lighter neutrals, but that's a great "cozy" color. I had an antique sideboard outfitted with a white marble top to use as the sink cabinet and think the blue will contrast nicely with the white!

  • Kevin,
    I have been at a loss of what to do with a small black china cabinet sitting in the garage. The photo of the one you posted (and I now remember the article) was painted to match the color palette and the inside was lined with a great print paper. I am going to do this and use it to house my silver flea market finds.
    Thank you so much for inspiring me.....a great solution!

  • Hi there. As a huge fan of yours and Martha, I am thrilled to see that you will be doing regular updates about the new paint line at Home Depot. I am MAD about the palette. Subtly nuanced, GORGEOUS hues. Like a modern day update to classic Farrow & Ball but more approachable and adaptable. In fact, I just posted a palette of my own here with a nod to hills in the South of France:

    http://sprucedecor.blogspot.com/2010/04/hue-love-by-sea.html

    P.S. I've even been to HQ years ago when I worked for Apple as Sr. Worldwide Advertising Manager. I met with staff re: the launch of Blueprint and re: web content (Sigh, I miss that pub...). Even more, I'm a lucky girl as Martha follows me on Twitter - yahoo! I follow you too. Can't wait to see what else you two do - exciting stuff! (twitter: @sprucedecor)

  • oh, kevin, i'm so excited to see more of these posts! as obsessed as i am with color palettes, i'll be looking here for some major inspiration! i just flipped through the images you chose, and thought #39 exemplified what i was thinking the whole time - i love the inspiration that comes from seashells - especially with that unexpected blush of pink you see on the inside. The surprise pop of pale coral in the shelving alcove against a deep neutral was a perfect interpretation!!

  • I have been trying to figure out for months now, a color for dining room. I live in an old home that has mahogany woodwork. All the colors I have picked looks drab next to the woodwork. Should I play it safe and go for beige?

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