Decorating with Red: Before & After

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.35.32 PM Paula from Salad in a Jar hired me in April for an on-line consultation to help with colours and decorating updates on her house. Two hours later, she had a plan and three months later, here is the fabulous result! This is what she said: “Thank-you again for helping me a few months ago. You gave me a lot of confidence which made the whole project a lot more fun! I’m thrilled with the end result.”

Some observations from Paula to help my readers:
“1. If you aren’t sure about a certain room, take a picture of it. It’s amazing how problems and clutter will jump off the page at you.
2. Although it may not be obvious in the pictures, I think I finally get it about “clean and dirty” colors and how they affect each other. I talk so much about it, even my husband has become aware of it. Painting the “dirty” fireplace changed my whole perspective on this house.
3. The suggestion to use Agreeable Gray upstairs was worth the price of the consultation — Can’t imagine picking gray myself but it worked!”

You’ll see a lot more than the red in her living room. If you love red, you might like her red kitchen before but the white is my favourite (of course).

Entry BeforeBefore

I totally encouraged Paula to go for the black and white carpet. So much better than the wear and tear (above) your regular beige carpet will take.

Entry After


Paula’s comment was, “I feel like I’m in a fancy hotel every time I climb the stairs.” Living Room Before


Getting rid of the gold fireplace was the best plan to make the room feel fresh. I suggested a black and white zebra rug, two upholstered chairs and some colour blocking pillows. Paula found this houndstooth carpet that she loved even more.

Too much red can be intense, now this room has just the right amount.

Living Room After


This was how Paula painted the fireplace, which wouldn’t look so great if it was just a solid paint colour:

“I first painted the fireplace with white primer from Sherwin-Williams. Then I used Annie Sloan’s French Linen — diluted some with water, and used a rag to swipe on and wipe off in a random faux-like manner. I did not seal it because nobody touches it or walks on it but I might someday. I don’t want a shiny look like it was previously so I’m hesitating.”

kitchen before


For the kitchen, she wanted to go from red to white! If you want some texture go for a bevelled subway tile backsplash!

Kitchen After


SW Pure White (cabinets) and BM Tranquility (walls)

Guest Bedroom Before

Guest Bedroom Before

Green and White Bedroom

During our call, this was the inspiration picture I found for her guest bedroom (above).

Guest Bedroom After

Guest Bedroom After

I love her room even more!

Master Before


Here I suggested cream drapes to bring fresh to the master bedroom.

Master after


bathroom before


Paula did not want to re-do her entire bathroom, I thought her tile could have stayed because she had found such a great rug to cover most of it but she decided to replace it anyway.

Bathroom After


Which room is your favourite?

Is it time to freshen up your space?

Related posts:

Before & After: An On-line Colour Consultation in Texas

The 80/20 Rule for Getting Colour Right: Before & After

The Zen of One Day Decorating: Before & After

If you would like your house to fill you with happiness when you walk in the door, become a client. Online or In-person.

To get your exterior colours right, download my How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence webinar and get my go-to list of colours.

Download my eBookHow to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

And, if you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert.

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  1. I love the entry. I love it because of the black painted rail. The rail is a very common style but the way it is presented makes it look very grand.

  2. All the before room pictures were great, but the after were fantastic. Amazing how just a few changes makes the space look like new. Loved the black and white entry and carpet on the stairs.

  3. Did she really cover the beautiful wood floors in the kitchen or is it a rug? Love the red …looks fresh …just what she wanted. Great job!!!

  4. The owner is so right about photographing ones space and the defects somehow jump right out. Amazing transformation! The most improved room is the LR… Too dark and beige before. That annie Sloan paint can also be applied to fabric believe it or not. The kitchen is also beautiful. Just goes to show that no matter how much one loves color a healthy dose of white/cream is needed for balance and contrast and freshness!

  5. love the stair case area… question as I noticed in your photos and I am thinking about updating my back splash area is what is considered “proper” when choosing the standard 4″inch back splash that matches the counter top OR taking tile straight down the the counter top edge? is there a reason we don’t do the 4″ AND a tile on top ? THANKS

  6. All of it is a huge improvement. Love that carpet on the stairs.

    My favorite is the master bedroom and bathroom. I love the freshness!

  7. Beautiful transformations. Loved that guest room! It went from ho hum to fresh and classic. What color did you use on the walls of the guest room? I could not see what you did with the window in that room. Curious as to how you treated that.
    By the way I will be trying my hand at some homemade Greek style yogurt a la Paula.

    • Deborah,
      The paint in the guest room is Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, just as Maria suggested. The windows have 2-inch blinds–nothing special … yet. 🙂

  8. Amazing transformation. I love red, so I liked the kitchen ‘before’ — but, it looks even better in white! Also love the new living room, with the toned down fireplace, creamy mantle, new run and accessories. I read Paula’s blog, too. Congrats!