How To Work With Color In Your Living Spaces

We recently finished a great project at a lakeside home in Powhatan, Virginia for a family of eight. This was such a fun one to work on because my clients embrace vibrant interiors as much as I do. When they purchased this home by the lake, they decided that none of their more formal European furniture from their previous home worked well, so they needed to start from scratch. We decided to set the tone for the entire house as soon as you step into the front door with this bold wallpaper in the foyer.


Most of our clients opt for more neutral upholstery pieces in their living rooms because they’re afraid to commit to a bold color. But In this case, we started our design process with the selection of a gorgeous teal leather tufted sofa. We then found the beautiful hand knotted rug that pulled in so many other fun colors to work with.

The key to working with bold colors in a living space is to balance it with softer neutral tones. In this case, we kept the walls light and brought in the ivory chairs and marble accent tables.


To further balance the scale of these soaring ceilings, we added the custom cabinetry at the back of the room. The bases of these cabinets were specially designed for the furry members of their family.


With a family of eight, my clients decided to finish the basement to create more living space for their large family. We were able to create two distinct living areas, a small kitchen and dining space, a second master suite with a full bath and two walk-in closets, a playroom and a full size pool bath out of the almost 2700 square feet of basement space.

The walk-out basement has a fair amount of natural light due to large windows and sliding doors, but that light is shaded from balconies at the floor above. So, we kept the walls light and brought the color in through the furnishings again. The sofas took on the bold purple hues of the vibrant rug with a heavy duty outdoor fabric. And I love the fabric that we used on the outsides of the pull-up chairs.


I’ll never forget when the electrician called me very confused about my installation instructions for the tealight chandelier in the corner. He couldn’t figure out how anyone would be able to sit on the bench under it. I then explained that he needed to think of it as a sculpture in the corner of the room. The light then went on in his head . . . and eventually in the corner.


This large original artwork that we specified through one of my art dealers was the perfect showstopper for this space!


The other showstopper in this room is the travertine tile fireplace with the silver leaf finish. The tile added the needed texture and bit of metallic sheen that helped to anchor the room and create a focal point.

Another area of this basement includes a family room for playing games and watching TV. We used a commercial grade teal chenille on the sectional to withstand the wear and tear of this family.


We camouflaged a weight bearing beam at the ceiling with a curved soffit and took the opportunity to create a unique lighting effect with LED tape lighting along the perimeter. And I always love a painted ceiling, so we painted this curved ceiling a soft blue.


So like everything in life, balance is the key when incorporating color into your living spaces. You need to balance bold colors with softer neutrals to keep from overwhelming a space. Your eye needs a place to rest so that the color doesn’t all blend together and overwhelm the room.

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If you love color, but you’re just too afraid to take the plunge on your own, my biggest advice is to hire a professional to help you. There is definitely an art to mastering colorful interiors and the rewards are certainly worth the investment!

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