Tuesday, November 8, 2011

True Colors

Back in September 2010, House Beautiful came out with an issue all about color, which I still pull out and flip through for inspiration. With interior design, I'm always torn between a soothing neutral palette and bold, fearless combinations of color and pattern. And then there's always the in-between option of a neutral room with bright accents... How to choose?

Here is a shot from that issue of a living room from a New York apartment that shows some thoughtful use of color along with restraint. I love the pale minty blue walls with the graphic black and white prints and pops of hot pink and red. And that mirror is amazing!

Another section of that HB issue featured an interview with textile designer Olatz Schnabel along with a couple of shots of her amazing bedroom, which is a great example of impressive confidence with bold colors. The red French antique curtains and Moroccan rug are plenty bright by themselves, but combined with the rich purple bedding and Mediterranean blue walls? Somehow it works! Even the walls and the bed are two different kinds of blue--one a blue-green and one more of a French blue--but it doesn't matter in this crazy-bold yet balanced room. I'm impressed.

The bed makes a serious statement, and the gorgeous purple bedding is from her first collection, called Palermo.

Olatz had her headboard custom made, but here's something similar from Auf France Furniture:

Here are some more examples of rooms with some serious color:

This room is a bit dark for me, but it's so cozy. And maybe I just love it for the enormous Great Dane portrait dominating the room.

For a fun splash of color in the kitchen, I love these ranges from La Corneu. They have a huge range of colors and several sizes, even up to one six feel long! Maybe someday, right?
These ranges would be a perfect way to add some bright contrast within a more neutral kitchen, too (if you're not ready to go bold all the way). This yellow one would look amazing with a gray and white color scheme.

Here are a few more ideas for neutral, more subdued rooms with accents of rich or bright colors, including this photo of Rashida Jones' studio apartment from Domino:

Since I'm always a bit timid about choosing anything non-neutral, it helps me to look through articles like these to be reminded of how fun using bold colors can be. And whenever I'm not sure I will really love a color, I try to incorporate it first in inexpensive ways, by painting furniture, lamps or accents for the room or by sewing throw pillows, looking for drapes on eBay. That way you can try out your bold choice first to be sure you love it.



  1. I love those those ovens!!! I have never seen those before. Thanks for the color inspiration. I am thinking of painting a few furniture items while the husband is away!!

  2. I love using color--probably too much so. Melina, paint some things and show them off! I want to see!

  3. Ha ha ha.... I will post my color schemes.

  4. This is great Liz! Coming from someone who really has little to no decorative eye..this helps!

  5. I'm seriously thinking about painting my hallway DARK GRAY almost BLACK color... but I'm nervous! It's already such a dark hallway, with a massive amount of molding that I think "why not just go really dark with it"...

  6. Oooh, Cate, that could look really cool and dramatic-- I definitely want to see pictures when you do it!! It sounds amazing!


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