Time For a Refresh | Calming Color Palettes with Bold Shades, Dark Hues and an Unexpected Twist - Grace Home Design
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Time For a Refresh | Calming Color Palettes with Bold Shades, Dark Hues and an Unexpected Twist

Time For a Refresh | Calming Color Palettes with Bold Shades, Dark Hues and an Unexpected Twist

Saturday morning we woke up and our world had changed again. The tragedy in Paris is unspeakable. There are no words to describe the outrage and overwhelming sadness the world feels for everyone affected by the attacks in Paris.

I debated all weekend about whether or not to write a post. It seems a bit trite to chime in from halfway around the world, but a friend of mine pointed out that what the terrorists want is to instill fear into the world.

They want to disrupt our lives and collectively change who we are as a society. So, the best thing we can do to honor everyone whose lives were affected by Friday night’s cowardly attacks, is to move forward and show that they will NEVER bring us down.

So, I decided to move forward and post this guide to soothing colors. It’s frighteningly poignant with the mood of the world today.


When Sherwin-Williams came out with their ColorMix 2016 forecast, their top palette was Pura Vida, a beautiful set of colors that “remind us to live well, be well, and stay well…[and create] spaces to unplug.” The colors are tranquil neutrals with warm greys, blushed neutrals, pink undertone beige and bronze, copper and warm metallics.

This got me thinking about the idea of “calming color palettes,” and how we most associate the idea of comfort and calm with pale, ghostly shades…mostly whites, beige and grey. However, I think there is a new way to approach peaceful, quiet spaces to include bold shades, darker hues and even black and white.

Read on for a few palettes that I love to work with when looking to achieve quiet, hushed spaces that allow you to relax, kick back and unplug.

Dark & Stormy

There is a big trend towards dark and stormy rooms…mostly as a backlash to all the white and grey we have seen in the past few years. I’m all for it, because dark walls, moody colors and rich, lush furnishings are incredibly comforting.

The trick here is to use semi-gloss to gloss paint to reflect light. Then, it’s about the layers. Consider layering the wall color with fabric (i.e. drapes, wall hangings, etc.), big mirrors and picture frames and of course a heavy, wood fireplace mantel. When pulled together, layers of dark color are magical in creating cozy, sexy spaces.

Devine Color – Devine Pine

Dark & Stormy | Life's Too Short For Beige

 Farrow & Ball – Hague Blue

Dark & Stormy | Life's Too Short For Beige

Porter’s Paints – Brahma (deep eggplant purple)

Dark Stormy | Life's Too Short For Beige



A few weeks ago I did a post about how blush is the new neutral. This isn’t girly pink, it’s a soft blush—think the color your cheeks turn when you see your crush. So how do you pull this hue off without it looking too vintage or sweet?

Mix with warm grays and plums. Pair with earth tones like saddle leathers, natural wood tones, evergreen, mustard and espresso. Combine with masculine elements, clean, modern furnishings and lots of cozy, soft textures like chunky knit throws, sheepskins and nubby wools.

Combo 1:

Porter’s Paints – Man Pink w/ Half Strength Greythorn & Double Strength Greythorn

Blush | Life's Too Short For Beige

Combo 2:

Farrow & Ball – Calamine w/ Brinjal

Blush | Life's Too Short For Beige

Black and White

A bold combination like black and white can seem a bit counterintuitive, but this is a classic color combo that always feels like home. Go bold with black and white but hold off on too much pattern. Think lots of black—ceilings, light fixtures, window and base trim—with white accents.

Benjamin Moore – Simply White w/ Black Jack

Black and White | Life's Too Short For Beige

Black and White | Life's Too Short For Beige


No room will be tranquil—no matter what colors you use—without the right lighting. The trick is not relying on one source for lights, but instead layering with ceiling, wall, floor and accent lighting sources to capture warmth. I posted a lighting guide earlier this fall on how to pick the right kind of fixtures for your spaces, take a look here for a few more tips on how to layer and what to pick depending on the function of your room.

Calming Color Palettes | Life's Too Short For Beige

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