I believe the world is divided into two color groups, blue and green. Blue and green are the two colors we have the strongest emotional response to. Most men prefer blue, while only about 33 percent of population prefer green. There’s a good chance you’re married to an opposite. Compromise is important to solving this color dilemma. Allow the person for whom the room is most important to choose the color.

I am definitely a green person and I love bright colors, with strong contrasts – they energize me. I also know that I need a lot of sunshine. In fact, I love to nap in the sun – just like cat. I love Country French and Caribbean – a strange mix for some – but for me it’s perfect and makes me happy. It’s comfortable, inviting, and easy to maintain. I laugh every time as guests fall into the sofa and prop their feet up on the ottomans without my needing to suggest that they get comfortable. It happens automatically because the room invites them in.

Gaining a New Perspective

Understanding yourself, defining your priorities, and designing your personal spaces to accommodate your priorities will enhance your life. Too often, we let fashion dictate our spaces. In the end, we sacrifice function and personal taste, which directly impacts our lives.

Think about the last time you left a hotel room, what did it look like? For some the disaster they leave behind makes a tornado feel like a summer breeze. If this describes you, then it’s time for my photo trick.

Start with the room that is most lived in. Take a photograph of the space. I think you will find that what the camera sees, is not what you thought the room looked like. It’s difficult to have an objective perspective on our own, this camera trick will help.

You may find from the photo that your home is like most, and has accumulated more than it needs. Start with cleaning, tossing and organizing. This will bring a sense of accomplishment as well as a calming peace.

Next, evaluate your space and needs. Prioritize the tasks that need to be addressed in this room. If you need desk space, then add it. If you need a comfortable chair, then find one. It doesn’t have to be new or expensive. Some of the best finds are at used furniture stores because often the local retailer will send their merchandise there when it’s too old for their inventory.

I have always believed that a home is never finished and that there is no such thing as the perfect home. By accepting these statements as facts, we remove a lot of unrealistic expectations. Our homes should be living homes that meet our needs and lifestyle. It is a home that changes as we and our family’s needs change. It is a home that adapts to the changing environments of age and economics. It is a place where the story of your life can be read by each memento that is placed there.

Here are some tips for using color and pattern to improve the quality of your home life:

1.Some rooms can handle stronger more stimulating patterns than others because they are "transient" rooms. For example, use bolder more dramatic patterns in your powder room or foyer. The kitchen, too, is a good place to add color if you need a pick-me-up in the morning.

2. Recognize your personality traits and complement them with the right color and pattern. For example, my bathroom wallpaper is a wonderful shade of green (my favorite color) with pinks and whites as accents to help me start my day in a great mood!

3. If you find yourself feeling stressed out at the end of the day – then decorate your resting space, i.e. your reading room, bedroom, or den, in paler colors that will help you calm down.

4. If you suffer from lack of sunlight, use sunny yellow as your color of choice, it will perk up your spirit.

5. One of the biggest misconceptions in decorating is that small spaces require small patterns – actually the opposite is true, make small spaces feel larger by using larger, open-spaced patterns, especially on the walls.


Sharon Hanby-Robie is the resident home décor expert for QVC, Inc., an author, speaker, and television personality.  It is Sharon’s goal to “help people discover their own personal style, and to give them the confidence to move forward with making choices that make sense for their families and lifestyle.” She has been an interior designer and member of the American Society of Interior Designers for more than thirty years.  Her new book series, The Spirit of Simple Living™, is published by GuidepostsBooks.