For artist, stylist, and Clare Collective ambassador Ashley Whiteside, color is everything when it comes to the home. “Color is energy, color is the amount of breath I can take in a space, color is the entire tone for what we get to feel when we enter,” she says. So it’s no surprise that her Raleigh, North Carolina residence is filled with a riot of joyful color inspiration—and a different hue in nearly every room.
Despite this proclivity toward the colorful, Ashley’s home hasn’t always been so bold and bright. Back when she and her family moved into the home in 2018, Ashley painted all the walls a navy shade which, while creating a classic foundation for the home, wasn’t working with the lighting or creating the vibe she wanted.
So she decided to switch it up and give her home’s builder-grade features a fresh new look—and all without breaking the bank. The key? A few clever paint tricks, and the willingness and patience to be ok with change. “Your home can provide so many functions, and I don’t view it as too precious that I can’t change something that I loved before,” she says. “Maybe four years ago we needed a space that was cozy. And now, I need a space that is more energizing. That’s ok. We can change our minds and keep making it work better for us.”
The principal challenge was working with the home’s basic features—and quirks—and adding warmth and character to the new-ish build without breaking the bank (the home was built in 2009). “I’ve always lived in historic homes with lots of charm, lots of character, and also lots of headaches,” she says. “And now, everywhere I look, I’m like, ‘This is so boring.’ How can I make it look personable and interesting? For sustainability’s sake, I don’t want to rip everything out. For budget’s sake, I can’t afford to rip everything out. I love to be surrounded by joy and beauty, and man, it just wasn’t there.”
Keep reading for a tour of her stunning space, all the color inspiration, and to learn Ashley’s top tips for using paint to spruce up your home.
Tip #1: Set the Scene with a Neutral Entry
While Ashley’s taste leans more colorful, she wanted to use a neutral paint color in the entry to help balance all the bright shades in the surrounding rooms. So she painted over the aforementioned navy walls with our creamy Like Buttah shade, which adds just the right amount of warmth that’s perfect for welcoming guests.
“I wanted to challenge myself to do something neutral. How can I play with this so I’m not doing the same thing over and over, and so there are moments of rest in the space?” she says. “I want breathing room. I want to feel like there are moments that are focal points that catch your eye, and then others that let you be calm again. So I forced myself to go more neutral.”
Tip #2: Cover Architectural Imperfections with Color
Usually, board and batten siding is a coveted feature in a home. But for Ashley, it was a bit of a headache. Typical board and batten installation follows the rule of thirds—it’s either installed a third of the way up the wall, or two-thirds up the wall. In Ashley’s case, it was installed halfway up in her dining room, which made the space feel choppy and imbalanced. And on top of that, the ceiling light wasn’t aligned properly with the windows. “You walk in, and just felt something was off,” she says. “So I started thinking about ways I could make it feel more uniform and make that architectural oddity a selling point and feature. And what made the most sense here was to paint it all one color.”
After installing wallpaper on the ceiling, Ashley chose between a handful of colors that coordinated with the tones in the paper. On a whim, she swatched Rosé Season and immediately knew it was the right choice for the walls and siding in the space, which sits directly off the entryway. “It’s pretty bold to have the first room that you walk into off a house be a bright pink color, but it feels like sunset in there all day long,” she says. “And actually, the sun does set glowing into that room, and it’s such a vibe. It’s magical. Any time from three o'clock on is golden hour. Everyone looks good in there, everybody wants to be in there.”
Tip #3: Try a Light Shade to Create Flow
“That one was a real conundrum,” Ashley says of the loft-like landing at the top of the stairs to the second floor. The space wasn’t quite big enough to create a sitting area for watching TV, and it also connects to a hallway that leads to the upstairs bedrooms. Much of the house has a continuous layout, which makes transitioning paint colors tricky, so Ashley needed to choose a shade that would work in both the loft-like space and the hallway.
She landed on Frozen, a cool, frosty blue that’s light enough to feel like a neutral, but saturated enough to bring in that hint of color she was craving. It also just so happened to be the perfect complementary color to her vintage art collection, creating a striking contrast to all the warm colors in the artwork.
Tip #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Reinvent (or Brighten Up)
During COVID, Ashley’s husband started working permanently from home, which meant he needed a proper office space to get work done. They set up shop in a former guest bedroom, which had a clean, serene, all-white vibe. But it felt off for a work-from-home space. “Suddenly working in there all the time, it didn’t feel spa-like. It felt sterile,” Ashley says.
To spruce things up, they brought in a desk and sleeper sofa and painted the walls in our bold, jade OMGreen color. The layout in the room was a little tricky—there were lots of strange angles and tons of doors. So to distract from these quirks, Ashley coated the ceiling and doors in the shade for a blended, more continuous feel.
The result is a space that feels cozy, interesting, and not too bright to appear in a corporate Zoom meeting. “It’s a good energy balance,” Ashley says. “It feels like a hug and feels good to be enveloped in that color. Everyone that comes over says that, even if they wouldn’t have chosen it themselves. It’s a crowd favorite.”
Tip #5: Employ Paint to Elevate Utilitarian Features
Ashley wasn’t totally in love with the builder-grade features of her bathroom, so set out to give it a dramatic refresh without ripping out cabinets or doing a big reno. She turned to Grayish, our soft gray with green undertones, to complement the earthiness of the tile and make the shower, vanity, and finishes feel less obvious. “I asked myself, ‘What will make everything look the best? What is a color that elevates this space? How can we work with all of that?’ Grayish did it all.”
To finish, she installed a subtle toile wallpaper that further played up the earthiness while distracting from all the built-in features. “Now, you notice those things less when you’re in the space,” she says. “It all brings less attention to the things I want to change, but can’t yet.”
Discover more projects from the Clare Collective.