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6 Ways to Use Color Daringly

Country Living
At Home
August 8, 2012

A few of Country Living's favorite designers show us how they add loads of character to interior spaces with dramatic color.

Sara Gilbane Sulllivan's Lively Living Room

A neutral backdrop of various textures--ivory stucco and oak beams--begged for punches of warm red and orange to create an intimate and approachable space in this seaside retreat. So New York City designer Sara Gilbane Sullivan started small, injecting easy beachy blue and white tones before throwing the vivid suzani-print sofa into the mix. "Without this wild pop of color, the room would have felt stagnant," she says. Now the gathering spot for her client's family game night feels cozy and happy, plus the allover print hides spills.

Plus: The hot colors of 2013 and how to use them »

Tobi Fairley's Colorful Collection

Playful color combinations enliven the rooms that Tobi Fairley designs. And the master bedroom and adjoining sunroom that she decorated for an eco-friendly show home in Arkansas were no exception. Fresh mint and coral add "an interesting punch and help make mismatched collections look cohesive," Fairley says of the grouping of frames she painted the same citrusy tint and hung in a narrow hallway. She recommends bringing in pops of color sparingly throughout a room for balance-a pair of throw pillows on a sofa, a bright lamp in one corner, and a colorful throw in another, for instance.

Shawn Henderson's Dark Room

"Painting the floors in my home in a high-gloss black was, by far, the boldest color choice I have ever made," says New York City designer Shawn Henderson. To give a modern take on his historic home, the walls are all painted Sail Cloth white by Benjamin Moore, and the striking contrast gives the allusion of height, making every room look bigger, he explains.

Plus: How to pick the perfect paint finish »

Thom Filicia's Saturated Space

For big impact in spaces without a lot of real estate, designer Thom Filicia chooses strong colors and uses them everywhere. At the Kips Bay decorator show house in New York, he lacquered the ceiling and walls of a pass-through space in Benjamin Moore's Cat's Eye, a fun Kelly green. "Using the same color and finish on the ceiling and walls gives so much depth to a tiny room," he says. He suggests using bold colors in powder rooms and small entries, where they won't overwhelm since there's not a lot of wall space for the color to live.

The Novogratz's Blushing Bedroom

Cortney and Robert Novogratz, authors of Home by Novogratz, never hesitate with color. In a recent project, the couple painted the ceiling, the walls, and the floors of this teenage girl's room in similar tones of pink. "It's like a lagoon of color," Cortney says. "A room feels so warm when it's wrapped in a single shade." If you're worried about drowning in a sea of color, Cortney recommends starting in doses, like painting just the door or only the molding in a room.

Plus: 100+ beautiful bedroom design ideas »

Darryl Carter's Lesson in Contrast

Darryl Carter, known for his penchant for pale neutral palettes, made quite the entrance in the foyer of his country house in Virginia by painting the original front door in a glossy Marbury Brown from the Darryl Carter Colors collection for Benjamin Moore. "Glossy finishes tens to highlight imperfections," he explains. But that's precisely what he was hoping to achieve since he wanted to emphasize the patina on the 18th-century door's surface.

See more from CountryLiving.com:

Our Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Decorating »
40 Amazing Before-and-After Home Makeovers »
10 Ways to Design a Colorful Bedroom »
20 Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen »

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

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