decorating 101 by coco blanca: part one

This past week I set up my youngest daughter in her first apartment at college. It was great fun putting together this small space and we did it in less than two days. Being as busy as I am with Coco Blanca, I didn’t have a lot of time to plan ahead, so we purchased everything once we got to Chapel Hill. Carly, my daughter, was amazed at how quickly it all came together. I guess with age comes experience. I drew on the decorating schemes I have learned over the years. So I thought I would share a few tips that came to mind while putting together her room. Here are the first five of ten decorating tips to implement whether you are putting together your first apartment at school, your first house, or your second home. I’ll reveal the following five in my next post in a couple of weeks…so stay tuned!

1. Use the “60-30-10” rule.

I don’t know why people respond to these proportions when selecting a color scheme but they work. This rule is a breakdown of percentages that help guide you on how much of a color is needed to make the room balanced and cohesive. So, when decorating a particular room, divide the colors into percentages: 60% of a dominant color, 30% of a secondary color, and 10% of an accent color. Typically this means 60% of the room’s color is the walls, 30% of the room’s color is the upholstery and 10% of the room’s color is the pillows and/or floral arrangement.

The kitchen below uses the 60% is the white cabinets, the 30% is the dark floors and the 10% is the yellow stools and daffodils. (one of my favorite kitchens of all time!)

60 30 10 4

2. Find a starting point.

Start with what you love. Maybe you have an heirloom rug, art, or tapestry, or maybe you love neutrals, or a certain shade of blue. This room below used the rug as the starting point. You can see the pops of color were pulled from colors in the rug.

60 30 10 14

3. Don’t always rely on color trends.

Adding a trendy color to a room’s palette can be the fresh take you need, but choose where you use the trend wisely. Wall colors and accessories can be easily switched out, but when purchasing furniture and drapes, choose shades and patterns that will stand the test of time. John Saladino, one of my favorite designers, uses restraint when it comes to color and pattern, but it really sings when he uses it. I love the pop of lavender he uses below.

60 30 10 6

​4. Draw from the influence of nature.

Use a palette of colors and tones from the natural world outside your door. Colors whisper to us from outside our windows.​ This beautiful room was no doubt inspired by the gorgeous ocean views.

60 30 10 8

5. Create rhythm with your accent color, your 10%.

This room uses pillows, art and throws around the room to keep your eye moving.

60 30 10 5

  • The latest from Gayla
Co-Owner | Coco Blanca
With her innate sense of style—making everything beautiful comes naturally.

Using the soothing color palette of a coconut by the sea—whites, neutrals and splashes of turquoise—Coco Blanca has created a trademark look. Her lifestyle boutique offers expert solutions for home design and women’s fashion—blending a clean, fresh, sophisticated, feel-good style.

210 South Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



  1. Avatar Alice Ahlerich says:

    Plz add me to your list!

  2. Avatar Alice Ahlerich says:

    Great ideas!

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