Magazine article Sunset

Cool Tips for Hot Colors: Advice from the Experts on How to Use Bold Colors

Magazine article Sunset

Cool Tips for Hot Colors: Advice from the Experts on How to Use Bold Colors

Article excerpt

When it comes to decorating, white and neutral color palettes are safe ways to go. But are they always the best? Sometimes bold, vibrant colors are just what a room needs. But before you rush to give your family room a kaleidoscopic paint-over that could end in catastrophe, take a close look at the following rooms. Their designers offer some basic rules.


Bright colors should be grounded in a warm, neutral shade to prevent the space from becoming garish or overwhelming.

This room that was once all white lacked depth and definition; its charming window seats were lost in a milky wash. What a difference color makes. Now chartreuse, tangerine, and hot pink delineate the separate spaces, giving the room a new vitality.

For this 1997 San Francisco Decorator Showcase, taupe walls act as a buffer between the rich, bright hues. The white ceiling and trim also have a softening effect, framing the room the way you would frame a painting.

* Design: Marion Philpotts-Miller and Jonathan Staub, Your Space, San Francisco (415/357-9800)

* Paint: Green: Spinach Salad, KM492D, by Kelly-Moore Paint Co. (800/874-4436); pink: Lipstick, C116, by Fuller-O'Brien Paints (800/368-2068); orange: Harvest Moon, B122, by Fuller-O'Brien; taupe: Craggy Bluff, KM695M, by Kelly-Moore; white: Swiss Coffee, 23, by Kelly-Moore


Work a couple of dominant shades into the overall color scheme rather than trying to mix a random assortment of hues.

Six layers of wallpaper were stripped from this room to make way for its miraculous face-lift. Homeowners Tim and Shannon Artl took their color cue from the sofa, working closely with designer Samantha Cole to create a bold yet warm color palette. Initially Shannon wanted yellow walls, but opted for a butterscotch shade instead. Cole suggested the dramatic purple curtains as a backdrop. "When you're matching colors with a multicolored print fabric, it's important to pull out the right shades," says Cole. In this instance, the couple had first leaned toward a taupe shade that was also in the sofa fabric, but it did nothing to enhance the room.

The buttery colors add warmth, the violet curtains add depth, and the splash of red in the coffee table provides an effective accent. …

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