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The 3 Ps for an Affordable Refresh: Paint, Pillows and Plants

MAY 3, 2016

What do paint, pillows and plants have in common (beside the obvious alliteration)? They’re three of the easiest ways to give your space a fresh look without going overboard on spending. Update all three P’s in one mini makeover and you’ll practically transform your whole space!


Let’s take a closer look at each of the three P’s and some of their finer points to help make refreshing your space simple and fun.



Introducing a whole new color into your space (and on such an oversize canvas as your walls) can seem daunting at first. Don’t let a little uncertainty deter you as nothing pays design dividends like a fresh coat of paint can.


For new ways to incorporate vast expanses of color, look beyond your walls to your floors, ceiling, trim, cabinets and doors. Sometimes a single focal point of color is all it takes. To get you started on your next color journey, here are three hot hues trending in a big way this year.


The Whites  

You’ve probably heard us extol the virtues of white walls. You don’t need to look far to see that white is topping everyone’s “hot colors” list.

White Paint Color

Benjamin Moore even chose Simply White OC-117 as their 2015 Color of the Year and many others have followed suit. White monochromatic  “roomscapes” are one of the most sought-after requests, according to our designers who encourage clients to keep their whites crisp, bright and clean. Anything veering into off-white territory, while still pretty, isn’t going to give you the “white look.”


The Blushes

From charming apricots to rose quartz and even dusty lavender, blush tones are being seen everywhere. There’s no mistaking how flattering this color family is, but they can be tricky to work with.

Blush Paint Color

Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy

Decorist designers recommend keeping the rest of your palette neutral or white when using these pretty paint colors. From the upholstery on your sofa to your rugs and the wood tones in your trim and furnishings, lighten up all over if you want your blush to be the belle of the ball.


The Dark Neutrals

If it looks oxidized and a little dirty, you’re doing this color trend right. From muddy green-browns to deep bronzes and charcoals, the new darks are neutral enough to be versatile but still color-rich and saturated.

Dark Walls by Kelly WearstlerPhoto Credit: Kelly Wearstler

More versatile than you might think, these deep natural tones can be treated as any neutral would. Think of them as a khaki or camel and design accordingly. Crisp white trim will give your neutral more personality and don’t be afraid to introduce brights or pretty pastels to the mix, but pick one or the other.




There’s a whole lot of power in this little designers’ darling. For a very small investment, we just love what a seemingly innocent throw pillow can do to a space. Plus, they’re just loads of fun to shop for and experiment with. There really is no easier way to incorporate a pop of color or to quickly update your look.

Pattern Throw Pillows Photo Credit: Jana Williams

Create an interplay of patterns  

For spring and summer, opt for breezier fabrics in linen, cotton and canvas. This is also a great time of year to lighten up and brighten up with color and playful, whimsical graphic prints. Make sure the pattern or print you decide to go with picks up at least one color that’s already established in your room’s palette.

Master Bedroom Throw Pillows

Photo Credit: Aubrie Picks

Create a monochromatic sofa-scape

Try not to get too fixated on matching up your colors. If you’re sticking with solids, you can explore other colors in the same family or pick a hue and deviate slightly from it with a lighter or darker interpretation of it. Or, pick a hue and play with warm and cool variations on it to create an interesting but subtle tonal contrast.

Monochromatic Throw Pillows

Photo Credit:




As with the other Ps — paint and pillows — plants can do much to transform your space and can be just as expressive as any other design form.


As a design element

Instead of thinking of potted them plants as just adding greenery or being good for air quality and productivity levels (true story!), think of them as another design accent like an art object or textile that brings color and texture into your space and can fill negative design space with something light and unobtrusive.

Plants in Living Room

Photo Credit: Jana Williams

As a textural element

There are many reasons we love plants, least of which is their talent for adding texture. The shape, color and variation of the leaves can either complement or contrast an existing motif.

Bedroom Plants

Photo Credit:

Try softening up a clean modern roomscape with a rounded fiddle leaf fern or breaking up busy upholstery or wallpaper with a long, linear palm or banana tree. A wall of mini hanging pots is a creative unexpected alternative to an accent or gallery wall. Hanging plants are re-trending in a big way and are brilliant for adding dimension and playing with room depth.


As an added material

And any designer will tell you, the pot is everything. Spring for a beautiful glazed one with light texture and color variation. Or, stick to your purist sensibility with unfinished clay pots clustered together in lovely organic shapes and varied sizes. For something more artistic and unconventional try clear and colored glass terrariums that can be hung or placed on a table or credenza.

Decorative Planters

Photo Credit:

We’ll definitely need a follow up blog to cover more on this design topic. There really are endless possibilities for making impactful changes in small and affordable ways. Stay tuned for more design tips to come.


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