Posts by Khristian A. Howell
Sooo… I wrote a book! True story! It’s called Color + Pattern: 50 Playful Exercises for Exploring Pattern Design. If you are a lover of pattern and have been curious about the pattern making process, this one is for you. This book is full of lovely images, but it is also about seeking true inspiration. The search for inspiration is something we can all relate to and continue to practice daily. If you are interested, you can find it anywhere books are sold. You will also have the opportunity to win a copy at the end of this post.
For now let’s talk about color inspiration and how to become a hunter and gatherer!
Color is the beginning of everything for me. It sets the mood and is in many cases the driver of the story. Before I begin designing any patterns I build the color palette. For me it is often the case that the color leads the direction I go with the pattern. Here are a few tips for seeking color inspiration daily.
1. First – commit to a spirit of play about color.
I have said it over and over and will share with you again here. Are you ready to have your mind blown? Nothing is permanent in design! IT’S JUST PAINT! It’s just not that serious. If you choose a paint color, upholstery, bedding, rug, etc. and hate the color after living with it for a moment then return it or change it! It is ok, really. Color is something that we have to allow ourselves to experiment with – often. It falls into the cliche saying; it is the journey not the destination. Your feelings about color will continue to change, forever. This is because color is so closely connected to mood, emotion, memory, etc. This is what makes working with color so magical. Keep this easy attitude about color and go at it with a spirit of play and your mind and “eye” will start to open up immediately.
2. You have a smart phone – use it!
Don’t be shy, snap away! Create a color folder on your phone that is dedicated to collecting images for color inspiration. Remember the first tip – keep that spirit of play! If you have a particular project you are working on great! Bigger picture – you are training yourself to view the world around you with new eyes. Inspiration really IS everywhere. You just need to make a little effort to leave the house with your eyes wide open.
3. Become a color collector.
Fabric swatches, magazine tears, packaging, business cards – I keep them all if the color is talking to me! It is with all these little moments in time that I like to build color palettes. Although I do a lot of my work digitally, I must build my color palettes with my hands. Here’s one of my favorite tips. Go to your fabric store and pick up stacks of cotton solids from a few different manufacturers. They are inexpensive and the different manufacturers will all run their own range of blues, greens, etc.
For me, part of being a collector is collecting pretty. Find a pretty storage box and/or journal to keep all of your colorful bits. I am more inspired to play when my collection feels like a treasure chest instead of a junk drawer!
Follow me on Instagram for more color and pattern inspiration!
We’re giving away five copies of Khristian’s new book! To enter, comment below with your favorite pattern to decorate with by 8/26/15.
You can also enter for another chance to win by following @BHG on Twitter and tweeting with #BHGPatternSweepstakes.
Let’s talk about wallpaper for a moment shall we? For a pattern loving girl like me I love seeing the resurgence of wallpaper! However, I know this can be quite the polarizing subject. You are either firmly in the love camp and staying put (likely forever) in the hate camp. Maybe, just maybe a good look at the gorgeous possibilities available today will get the doubters to reconsider. Designing with wallpaper gives you the opportunity to make a statement in your space. Even using a subtle print or a textured paper like grass cloth will make a huge impact. The most exciting thing about wallpaper at the moment is the choices available for application. There are some really great temporary papers out there that make going bold feel less risky. A temporary paper is also the perfect solution to make a rental feel more like home. If you want dip your toe in the water, start with a powder room or laundry room or another small space.
Children’s rooms are a fantastic space to incorporate wallpaper in your design. There are so many great options out there that create a sense of whimsy in the room. To make sure the room can grow with the little person who lives there consider staying away from super themed patterns and opt instead for more modern prints like this great from dot Juju Papers. Since it is not perfect there is still a sense of youthful energy and movement.
I adore the idea of using wallpaper on the ceiling of a nursery! Baby is often looking up – make the view great!
Incorporating patterns that are inspired by nature is a great way breathe a little life into your design.
These graphic statements are perfect for a hallway or entry way.
Summer is in full swing. There are many lovely long summer nights filled with cocktails and good company still ahead. In that spirit these are some of my favorite finds for infusing a little pattern into your summer celebrations. I love these pieces because they can fit so well into your existing accessories. Something as simple as a pretty patterned pitcher like this one found on Waiting On Martha is the perfect way to add a festive feeling to you table while also creating layering, depth and interest. When you are ready to take the party outside and play en plein air (as you should every single minute you can!) this blue and white picnic blanket is the perfect patterned base for creating colorful memories. Bonus – it is waterproof! I just love how simple touches of pattern can really transform the look and feel of your space. Playing with pattern in these small doses with fun accessories is a great way to experiment with low commitment.
On the flip side of the coin – maybe your are the planner. For you the Fourth marks the time to start planning for fall! It is hard not to get into the swing of things really with all those yummy cozy fall floor sets are landing at all your favorite furniture retailers. If you are in this camp, here are a few patterned delights to get you inspired for the golden fall days ahead. First of all, can we talk about this lamp? This is just pure sassy chic fun! It would be the cherry on top in a dressing room, or a fun femenine desk. I can see this little charmer moving around the house from vignette to vignette for years to come.
Throw pillow are always the instant go to for changing things up from season to season. Consider thinking this way about rugs as well. They are a fantastic way to infuse great color and pattern into your space especially if you have kept your investment pieces (like your sofa and chairs) neutral. Check out places like Joss and Main, Overstock.com, and Hayneedle to find great options at affordable pricing.
Oh be still my heart! The shine trend is not reserved for all those metallics we love. High gloss finishes are happening and this color-loving girl could not be happier. I mean, this ceiling? Stop – it’s just too good. But where do I use a high gloss finish? Um, everywhere! The ceiling, interior doors, furniture, the back of your book shelf – incorporate a high gloss finish anywhere and on anything that you want to be a strong focal point in your space. Well placed and used strategically, high gloss finished can work with a range of design styles. This bedroom feels super luxe and also very clean and modern.
LOVE this pop of color on the interior side of this front door. We spent lots of time making a statement on the outside. Why not turn your attention to the side you actually see a lot more of! This look adds so much energy and personality to the space.
This is the such a great way to play with the brass trend while keeping the piece from feeling dated. This high gloss pop gives the piece a bit of colorful whimsey
High gloss black interior doors are popping up everywhere, and it is easy to see why. This looks instantly adds a feeling of luxury to the space. Keeping the walls and trim white adds to the high drama look. This example is done with very ornate decor, but this look would also be amazing in a very modern and minimalist space.
A high gloss finish would be a great update to any pallet project on your horizon.
I love the mix of styles working in this space. The butcher block counter tops keep this kitchen feeling grounded, warm and welcoming while the high gloss cabnets are forward and fresh.
Like to take your trend in small doses? How fun are these? The colors will give your space a sense of play while the black and metallics can work well in a minimal modern space.
Raise your hand if you are doing the springtime happy dance! Now that winter is finally giving up the fight it is time to freshen up or revamp those outdoor spaces. Whether you dwell in the city, the suburbs, or the country any outdoor space you are fortunate to have can become your little oasis during the season. The key to creating an outdoor space that you love is to really think of it as an extension of your living area. This space has the potential to be the place you will spend a lot of time during the spring and summer (and fall if you are lucky!). Think about how the area can function for you. Do you love dining al fresco? Be sure to consider comfortable seating and sun protection. Also think about lighting after dark as those late summer dinners turn into long evenings with pretty cocktails. Do you love to entertain? Create multiple vignettes designed for people to gather and chat. Do you dream all winter long of those wonderful summer afternoons that you can spend with a light throw and a book? A cozy couch, sectional or even a hammock will be on the top of your priority list. Here are three different looks to help you get the juices flowing for your upcoming refresh to your outdoor space. You’ve been living for lazy summer days all winter long. Now is the time to play and enjoy the sun!
This look is perfect for the urban city dweller. Carpet tiles are a great option since they can be cut to accommodate your space. This is a terrific way to add a little softness under foot if you have a little balcony or any city outdoor space without grass. Furnishings with a bit of wood are great for adding an organic touch. A little wall planter helps to serve the same purpose and make the space feel alive in an urban environment
Lover of fresh color and pretty pattern? This look is for you! This is also the perfect setting for a sweet Mother’s Day brunch! Keep it feeling well loved and gathered by using a fun mix of different chairs, sweet floral patterns and a mix of serving ware.
Update the all American picnic table and bench feeling by keeping the wooden table and chairs and adding saturated colors and nature inspired patterns to the mix. This looks is the perfect backdrop to your gatherings all summer long.
Full disclosure. I am a new mom to the most wonderful little boy who is six months old this week. Am I becoming that designer who is now obsessed with all things kids design?? Maybe…a little. Even though I have a background in kidswear design, something changes when you have one of your own. The good news is that design for kids has reached new amazing heights as of late. There are some seriously lucky little people out there! Some of the spaces we see for kids today would be equally amazing for any grown up! This is what I love about the current landscape for kids – there is a new playful sophistication available if you have a more modern aesthetic. These fresh looks are more likely to be able to grow with the little ones and fit into the overall look of the home. Don’t be surprised if the big people in the house find themselves gravitating to these fun spots in the home too!
Pattern drives the core of my design aesthetic (surprise) so let’s talk about all the amazing options available for creating a colorful, pattern filled, and super stylish space that any little person would love. Geometrics for kids are really leading the way. Simple patterns of circles and triangles in fresh colors are great because they are ageless. Executed in fresh colors they are flexible enough to read gender neutral which is a bonus for many families. Woodland and safari themes have turned up the chic factor when expressed in two color or more grown up palettes. There is something intriguing about the juxtaposition of juvenile themes colored in sophisticated palettes.
Don’t be afraid to use a few dark features in a space for kids. High contrast patterns are great for them! This woodland wallpaper would look equally great in a nursery as in a big kid’s room. Depth and lots of highs and lows create big of visual interest!
Layer, layer, and layer some more. As always vary the scale and ground colors of your pieces with pattern. Wall decals are a great low commitment way to add some unique pattern to your walls or spruce up old furniture.
What a great way to add a splash of color and pattern to a simple piece. This is easy to do with contact or decorative paper.