Something that I have been dealing with lately and perhaps you also have this in your house - fireplaces that are not centered on the wall.
It is human nature to expect an object to be centered in its space.  Just think  of where your table is in your dining room, or where you have placed your bed, or how you arranged photos on a wall.
When a fireplace is not centered on the wall I assume it was for structural reasons, or perhaps the owners who built the house had a vision that we are not privy to.

One way I have been able to get around this issue is to place bookshelves or storage units on either side of the fireplace.  An even better idea would be to build shelving units along the length of the wall and encorporate the fireplace into the shelving.  The fireplace now has "purpose" in the space.  It appears part of a unit. By placing identical bookshelves on either side of this fireplace it does not seem so out of place.  The bookshelves will give your eye the balance it craves


Now here is a picture of a fireplace inset that is off center from the brick wall behind it.  If you live in a house built in the early 70s you may have one of these in your home.  This was before the days of plasma screen televisions - and before we liked to hang our tvs above the fireplace.  So what do you do?  Place book shelves on either side to give your eye some balance and then center the television on the wall.  Quite simply... the object that is "off" is out-numbered by centered objects and the plasma tv now becomes the focal point. 
KEY POINT:  Unfortunately big, black plasma screen tvs usually become the focal point in any room.


This is my favorite image of what can be done with fireplaces the are not centered on the wall and also deals with the good ole' television set.  In order to make the fireplace feel "naturally" off center they built a set of shelves or wall unit around it.  The addition of the mantle that matches the wood on the shelves also makes it appear that this all had a purpose.  AND... the television is hidden away in the cabinet so this beautiful stone wall and fireplace remains the focal point of the room.  YEAH!

It is not a surprise that neutral palettes are very popular and the most common colour scheme used today.  It reminds us of our natural surroundings - wood, stones, clouds, trees - and hence remains timeless.  This colour scheme can be used to create a calm and harmonious space or a bold and dynamic space.
Neutral colour hues include: black, white, gray, brown and tan/beige.

Here are a few things to remember when using a neutral colour scheme.
A neutral space can be very boring unless you inject some texture into it.  Some examples - faux furs, woven fabrics, seagrass or wicker, ornamental woods or metals, rugs and throws.  Shiny objects such as glass or stainless steel also add interest to the space with a bit of "bling".

Add some visual interest, change your decor to reflect your mood or compliment the seasons by adding colour with flowers, pillows, throws, or art.  This is also a great way for people like myself - the "continuous decorator" - to change a space without a lot of time and expense.

There is a trend today that makes mixing woods absolutely acceptable - it gives the space an ecclectic feel.  What I would recommend, however, is that you pair light stained wood with dark stained wood.  For example: If you have a light floor, try adding walnut (dark) furniture or accents.
It is also important to take texture and grain into account.  Mixing woods with strong or bold grains can overpower the space.  Instead, try using a lighter grained wood like maple next to oak or pine (larger grain).  Using two lighter grained woods will also harmonize the space.
Note: Large grain on floor and muted on cabinetry
Keep in mind that anything you bring into the space should tie into something else in the room.  Try to keep wood accessories to a minimum and if you must don't introduce another style/colour or texture.  Instead accent with metals, ceramics, glass, stone etc.
Note: Metal fan and glass bowls
Note: Glass sofa table and ceramic accents
We talked about colours that give life and character to a room - Complementary colours.  But what if you have a small space?  Or need a colour scheme that is more relaxing?  Then you need to look at colours or hues that sit beside each other on the colour wheel.  This colour scheme is called Analogous or Adjacent.  

Analagous colour schemes are best used in spaces where you want to inject colour but keep it relaxing too.  For example:
- a den where the family retreats to watch TV, play games and also read
- a child's bedroom where it should be lively and reflect their unique personality but  also a place for them to sleep
- a dining room where you celebrate birthdays and also have candlelight "adult" dinners :)

Analagous colour schemes are also very appropriate for small spaces.  Again, this colour scheme injects colour without overwhelming the space.  In a small space you never want to purposefully break up the area with colour - this makes it appear smaller.  Instead choose hues that lay beside one another on the colour wheel to maintain flow. 
Notice how tranquil this child's room looks - yet there is enough colour to make it interesting.
Also, it is very easy to create unisex spaces with Analogous colour schemes.  So if you are expecting a baby and do not know the sex of your child - try this scheme.  Or... if you are having a "difference of opinion" with you significant other over a space feeling too feminine or masculine this scheme might help you compromise.

Another example - this time in the living room.  Not just "neutral"...  there is colour without being over done.  You could relax and read in this space.

Great outdoor space that is lively, yet relaxing.  I would love to throw a party here! I would also enjoy turning down the lights and enjoying the tranquility or snuggling with my loved one ;)

Personality, personality, personality... yet - relaxing.  Imagine this room at night with the lights turned down!!!  Beautiful.

Does colour affect your mood?  Absolutely!  Studies have shown that simply changing the colour in a room can affect the way we emotional respond.  Keep the following in mind when choosing colours for the rooms in your home.

GREEN - soothing and comforting (like sitting in a feild of green grass)
YELLOW - uplifting and energetic (like the sun)
BOLD RED - passionate! (like our lips)
APPLE RED - makes people hungry (like fruit we eat)
SOFT PINK - sweet and delicate (like a baby's skin)
BLUE - calming and quiet (like looking up at the sky)
ORANGE - warm and cozy (like sitting around a campfire)
PURPLE - sexy or spiritual - very complex (royalty? - not sure)

For more:

Stay tuned - tomorrow's topic is Adjacent colours.  Happy Decorating!
I have been asked to give examples of some Complementary Colour Schemes so here are some ideas!

Green and Red
Try different hues of green and red.  It is not just for Christmas anymore...
Notice that the space is grounded by some black (adding black to a room is like adding a frame around a picture) and refreshed with a splash of white.  The white fluffy pillow also adds texture.  Try to add something in every room that attracts you to "feel" it (fluffy, soft, rought, smooth).

Orange and Blue
Notice the orange has been "knocked back" to make it more inviting.  Also by changing the hue of the orange we have made the blue really vibrant and striking - keeping the furniture and flooring neutral helps to keep the space from becoming to overwhelming.

Purple and Yellow
Creamy yellows and
grape purples work well together.  Again, in this example the yellow has been knocked down to bring out the beautiful, rich hue of the purple.  Notice the fabric choices - lots of pattern, but the patterns are all of the same size and scale.

Green and Pink
Here is an example of green and pink done right :)  Can you see which colour has been knocked back and which has been "shaded" or made darker?  Note the patterns - large on the wall, large on the bed cover and large on the surfboard - scale is all the same...