rich navy blue color contrasts a white sectional; room designed by
When it comes to
color, Bill Koehnlein of Collaborative Design in Waukesha doesn’t like
to follow trends.
"I like the
unexpected," he says.
His room designs
often incorporate blocks of color or ceilings painted a bold hue in
contrast to the rest of the room.
But even Koehnlein’s
most daring clients sometimes question his color choices. Case in point,
while decorating a condo for a saucy salsa dancer recently, Koehnlein
selected a sunny gold for the living room ceiling.
"When it was
going up, she commented that it seemed rather bright," he recalls.
On its own, the
ceiling color could easily invoke memories of 1970s harvest gold
kitchens. But tempered by austere white walls, walnut floors and dark
espresso trim, the vibrant yellow bathed the room in warmth. The
layering technique is something Koehnlein relies on often to calm down
— or punch up — a color palette.
"You have to
know your boundaries without going over the top," says Koehnlein.
typically draws inspiration from clients’ artwork or interests to
create customized color palettes, Koehnlein says he tends to favor
warmer tones like Old Gold by Benjamin Moore — the paint color he used
to transform his client’s condo ceiling.
playful use of color," he says. "It doesn’t feel
gray adds a sense of comfort to a glamorous dining room; designed
by Warren Barnett
Not one to shy
away from color, Stephanie Quinn of Modern Edge Design says a coat of
paint is one of the simplest ways to freshen your home décor.
To help her
clients step out of their color comfort zone, she incorporates neutral
tones into her room designs, whether it’s furniture or accent pieces.
goes with gray," she says.
complementary color schemes — pairing colors from opposite ends of the
color wheel — is another trick Quinn, and other design professionals,
attract," she says. "When you put them together, they bring
out the best in each other."
One wall color
Midwesterners tend to shy away from — but Quinn loves — is coral.
cheerful and versatile, especially when paired with teal," she
explains. And totally on-trend — Sherwin-Williams chose Coral Reef, a
blend of pink, orange and red, as its 2015 color of the year.
Quinn is equally
fond of spicy color palettes, often incorporating them into her kitchen
designs. One of her current favorites is the Pantone color of the year,
Marsala — a rich, red wine tone. Though some homeowners may fear the
hue could overpower, Quinn finds the earthy color "soothing and
easy to work with."
hesitant to experiment with color, Emily Bachman of Warren Barnett in
Brookfield suggests starting small.
are a great place to play with rich colors," she says. The small
space presents an opportunity to incorporate color that might not work
in a larger room.
stairwells also provide excellent canvases for infusing bold hues, says
Bachman. Small applications of intense color can be incorporated
virtually anywhere in a room, from the inset of a book case to the back
of a door.
"Even a small
dose of color can make a big difference," says Bachman. "You
can use rich colors as a pop of interest on a backsplash or an accent
One wall color
often overlooked by homeowners that’s currently having a moment is
navy blue. Though the classic color may seem too overpowering, the dark
hue can actually make living spaces feel larger. Bachman has used navy
blue in clients’ entryways and bedrooms.
Brown is another
underused paint color, according to Bachman. Though it can easily be
dismissed as too bland, an espresso brown can transform a space into a
warm, cozy retreat. "Dark walls can create a sense of
comfort," says Bachman.