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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Stand out – Be bold, not bland!

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

a newly decorated red dining room set for a formal dinner

Want to stand out? Paint it red!

Back in January, I posted my “18 for 2018” – 18 goals to achieve this year. Goal #12 was modestly stated: “Redecorate the dining room.”

Decorating benefits from an inspiring focal point

I determined that I would like to select a painting by local artist, Rena Brouwer, to use as my decorating focal point and inspiration. We’ve gotten to know Rena as she shares a gallery with other local artists in the Delphi Opera House; and we had one of her paintings already, hanging in our entryway.

My husband, Joe, volunteers at the opera house box office every week and when her “Red Poppy” painting came back from being on display in another gallery last May, he called me up right away and said, “I think I’ve found the painting for our dining room!” I agreed and within 24 hours we bought it and brought it home.

Paint colors make a huge difference

We got started looking at paint colors and picked out several choices in neutral tones. Our youngest son, as well as our good friend Erma, who is a retired decorator, suggested we consider red instead. “On one accent wall?” we asked. No, all four walls.

Mmmm. We weren’t so sure about that, but we were willing to consider it. So, we purchased samples of 5 different red colors and painted sections on each wall to determine which one we liked best. For a couple of weeks, our dining room looked like a patchwork quilt. Benjamin Moore’s “Exotic Red” was our final choice.

We were presented with a deadline to finish our bold room.

In the midst of our redecorating process, with splotches of red paint on the walls, we were asked if we would include our home in the Delphi Historic Home and Garden Tour, which took place on September 15th this year.

There would be 11 homes on the tour, with our 1941 Cape Cod the third youngest. Not at all the most historic, with most others built in the late 1800s; nor does it have the amazing architecture of the grand old homes. In spite of this, we said yes.

At the time, we had less than three months to finish our dining room. Would we get done in time? Just barely. We got busy painting, putting up new crown molding and baseboard trim, and hanging a new light fixture.

I went with Erma to shop for drapery fabric and she arranged for a seamstress to make our custom drapes. We hung the drapes just one week before the tour. Aren’t they spectacular?! As the seamstress described them – happy fabric! I plan to make a fun apron with the extra.

Little touches can make a big difference.

Erma helped us “stage” the rooms we included on the tour. It’s amazing what a designer can do with stuff you already own! Our bookshelves have never looked better. The lovely silver tea service on the buffet is borrowed from her. The centerpiece is pomegranates on a bed of kale.

For five hours last Saturday, we toured as many as 273 people (that was the total ticket sales) through our home. The night before the tour, all of the homeowners toured one another’s homes, and Rena was invited to go along on this “twilight tour.” She was so excited to see her poppies in our newly decorated dining room. If you would like to see other examples of her work go to:

As people entered our home the dining room was the first room they saw. It was so fun to watch their reactions to the stunning red. They overwhelmingly liked it – which we found somewhat surprising – it is definitely a bold statement.

It was interesting to note that as people went from room to room many commented on the colors – shades of blue, yellow, green, and navy with red accents. That first colorful impression seemed to make them take notice of color throughout the house. If we had selected one of those neutral shades instead of red the impact would have been quite different.

Want to be noticed? Stand out!

What does this have to do with communication? In a world in which we are inundated with messages and images, we must stand out to be noticed. To stand out, we must be bold, not bland.

When people take notice, we can deliver our messages. Without the attention of our audience, our messages fail.

How can you make your messages stand out with boldness? Abolish bland. Be bold.

“Some quick advice for success in life: Don’t be afraid, be amazing.”

~ Dr. Cuthbert Soup, author

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