June 19, 2013

Designer Roundtable Q&A Session – Color

I’ve met some great designers/decorators through Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and blogs within the last couple of months. I’ve always wanted to get some of them together to give my readers their perspectives on certain design subjects. I love variety, and I love that so many of us in the design/decor field are actually Individuals with our own style and own opinions about “what looks good” and “what works”. Below are the questions related to this month’s theme, Color, and the answers from these fellow designers and decorators.

Be sure to leave a comment below letting me know what you think about this month’s Designer Roundtable or if you have any tips to add.

Also, feel free to reach out to either of them! They’re very sweet, I promise!

via House Beautiful

1. What’s the most popular color trend?
  • “Brown, move over and make way for the new neutral in town,gray. For years, gray has been in the shadows, often thought of as drab and relegated to the masculine rooms of the house, but no more. It’s soothing, sophisticated and anything but boring. Whether you choose a warm or cool gray, rest assured it will work fabulously with every color of the rainbow or other neutrals in endless shades and intensities.While black, white and even browns remain popular, gray has exploded in the design world and has found its way into our bedrooms, baths, common spaces and kitchen in a big way. Paired with lime greens, it provides a place for your eyes to relax and take a visual break. Paired with soft yellows, it brings that often misunderstood color to new heights, and paired with reds or Pantones Color of Year, Emerald, it provides a wonderfully sophisticated level of contrast. And of course, paired with other neutrals it can provide you with a sophisticated, welcoming space.” – Doreen Sargente
  • Well I heard that it was supposed to be Emerald Green but I am not seeing much of it anymore. The photos I received from this last market showed a really deep indigo/peacock blue that I really loved. We should be seeing much of that surfacing in the next few months. Along with many natural and glass accents! Think Eco chic!” – Adam Zollinger
  • “Color can be a form of celebration, reflecting whatever it is people are feeling . When economies recover you see lots of vibrant color, especially oranges .  We’re seeing a lot of this and brightness in the market,  as well as coastal-inspired blues which have an expansive quality and reflect less constraint in our lives.  I think the trend towards achromatic rooms, particularly the black and white rooms,  reflects the way technology is almost universally embraced as part of our lives.” – Peggy Berk
  • “There are always trends and micro-trends going on. The major trends have a life span of about 7-10 years.  At the basis of all color trends are the neutrals.  When I grew up, everyone was painting their homes in warm neutrals…..tans and beiges.  The new generation of homeowners grew tired of it, and the trend right now is to have cool neutrals…..lots of variations of gray.  I think the gray is at the middle/end of its life span with the leading spots of the country shifting.  I still have most clients wanting cooler tones in this area.  While it’s not widely accepted yet, and doesn’t really have anything to do with color, pattern on pattern is making a huge comeback.  I, for one, hope that it’s short lived!” – Tawna Allred
  • “Saturation! There are a wide range of colors that are popular right now, but the key seems to be using heavily saturated color. It makes your space distinctive and memorable.” – Susan Lacy

via Phoebe Howard
2. What’s your favorite “timeless” color scheme? 
  • “Hmmmm. Personally I love a deep primary color palette – wine red with mustard yellows and navy blue. I don’t know if that is timeless for everyone else, but it is for me!” – Adam Zollinger
  • “This one is hard, because color and pattern are what date a home the fastest.  So, a lack of color really is more timeless.  This room by Phoebe Howard is one of my favorites, and I think that it will still be gorgeous in thirty years. (see above pic – Phoebe Howard).  That being said, I don’t think every person would or should go for this type of room if it doesn’t fit their personality.” – Tawna Allred
  • “I love working with grays in place of the more common beige neutrals.  It feels much more contemporary to me, a needed update for even a traditional setting.” – Peggy Berk
  • “Crisp blue and white! Blue is not even a favorite color of mine, but nothing looks fresher and more crisp to me than that classic pairing.” – Susan Lacy

via The Whited Sepulchre

3. What color combination is a definite no-no? 

  • “That is a really hard question because I believe that if colors are mixed and balanced appropriately you can get away with just about any color combination.” – Adam Zollinger
  • “I don’t think there is one ;  integrated correctly you clan make almost all colors work together.  However,  my pet peeve is mixing yellow based neutrals with pink-based neutrals in the same room.  For some reason I find it jarring.” – Peggy Berk
  • “In the hands of a master, nothing is off limits.  However, as a general rule of thumb, don’t mix “dirty” and “clean” colors if you are putting colors together for the first time.  Clean colors are pure pigments…untainted.  Dirty colors are colors that have been mixed with their compliment (green/red, yellow/purple, blue/orange) or with a dash of brown or black to make them look more like the natural world.” – Tawna Allred
  • “There are two:1)  pink/purple, because no matter what you do, people will start hunting for easter eggs; and 2) red/green. Can anyone say Christmas time?” – Susan Lacy

4.  What colors work best in small spaces? 
  • “It definitely depends on the mood you want to establish for the room.  I generally like more saturated colors on walls in small rooms because walls seem to have more visual presence in the space than they do in rooms which accommodate more furnishings.  If you use white walls in small rooms, it’s really critical that it be integrated into the full scheme, picked up in fabrics and finishings at least as an accent, so it doesn’t become just a backdrop for the setting.” – Peggy Berk
  • “Any colors that you want. I think furniture proportion, lighting, and accessories are what kill a small space, not the colors.” – Adam Zollinger
  • “Any color works in a small space that is done in a high gloss sheen.” – Tawna Allred
  • “I believe one can use any color in a small space, provided your furnishings are to scale. AND, if you use a bold color, don’t use it on EVERY wall. There needs to be some area to rest the eyes, so use a bold color either on an accent wall, or just in accent pieces or fabrics.” – Susan Lacy

5. What design rules are “breakable” in relation to color/color schemes? 
  • “What rules?” – Peggy Berk
  • “N/A” – Adam Zollinger
  • “About any rule can be broken!  However, you have to know the rules well before you know when it works to break them.  The rules, by themselves, are like truth.  They follow the rule of the universe, and there is nothing you can do about that.  The only time you can break them is when a third, unknown factor comes into play that FORCES a change.  Just breaking rules for fun will end up in a really bad project!  I go back to the rules of color and proportion time and time again.  They are my solid base.” – Tawna Allred
  • “This actually relates to the previous question. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t use bold colors in small spaces. Just be sure that if you are going to do it, you do it with confidence, so that it makes a statement. You don’t want people to look at your room and feel it’s timid or unfinished.” – Susan Lacy

via Tawna Allred Interiors

6.  What’s the best advice related to color you’ve been given? 
  • “GO FOR IT! Just pick the right shade and consult a designer if necessary.” – Adam Zollinger
  • “My best color advice came from a painting teacher when I was a teenager – warm up a cool palette by mixing a color that’s one level warmer than your warmest color into all the other colors in the palette,  and do the opposite, mixing in a color one level cooler to cool off a warm palette.  I still develop all my color schemes using paint or a digital program such as PAINTER and always tweak it this way as a last step.” – Peggy Berk
  • “In a House Beautiful magazine, I read a quote by Alexa Hampton that referred to picking yellow for a paint color.  Her advice was to pick a yellow, and then go a shade lighter.  Yellow interacts with sunlight in a way that makes it EXPLODE with strength.  I decided to take her advice when designing the bedroom for my little girls, for which I chose a yellow.  I figured it was a color that was happy but that could grow as my girls grew.  It worked out well! So I always share this advice, even encouraging two shades lighter!” (see above pic) – Tawna Allred
  • “Although at the time I heard it I thought it sounded silly, I’d have to say look to your wardrobe when choosing a color scheme for your home. If you think of your decor as accessories to you, then choose your color the same way you choose your clothing. If a lavender blouse washes the color from your face and makes you look jaundiced, you don’t want to sit in a lavender room looking sickly. You pick your clothes to make you look fresh and lively, so pick colors for your home the same way.” – Susan Lacy

The Designers/Decorators:

Adam Zollinger
Interior Designer/Owner of Adam Zollinger Interiors
Owner of Shabby – Your Chic Lamp Boutique on Etsy
Peggy Berk
Interior Designer of Area Aesthetics Interior Design

Doreen Sargente
Blogger/Decorator of House Honeys

Tawna Allred
Interior Decorator/Owner of  Tawna Allred Interiors

Susan Lacy
Interior Designer/Owner of Pepper Creek Interiors

Thank you so much to all the designers/decorators for participating! You have offered great advice that could be helpful for both myself and my readers!

So what did you think about this Designer Roundtable Q&A Session? Have any other great color advice you’d like to share?

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Till next time,
17 comments so far.

17 responses to “Designer Roundtable Q&A Session – Color”

  1. Tawna says:

    Thanks for including me, Whitney! I loved hearing from all the other designers as well.

  2. pberk says:

    Thanks for having us Whitney and for introducing me to quite a colorful group! Looking forward to more!

  3. Miss Worrell says:

    Love love love the round table.. excellent for persons looking to design and decorate .. and the professional advice is truly appreciated… nice job!

    • I’m glad you like! I’m already looking forward to next month’s roundtable. Stay tuned and feel free to participate in the conversation by askings questions, providing personal insight, etc…

  4. It was great fun participating! I hope everyone reading becomes color-empowered!

  5. I’m surprised no one mentioned black and white as a “timeless” color scheme. It’s by far my favorite color scheme, because it is indeed “timeless” and it goes with most accent colors. If a client wants a pop, or pops, of color, it’s very easy to integrate another hue with rugs, pillows, and other accessories!

    • pberk says:

      I actually mentioned it as a trend, rather than a scheme I feel is timeless…. I think it’s an enduringly dramatic scheme, but I there are times when people are looking more towards the comfort and coziness of subdued earth tones… (I just saw some great examples of this on Adam’s web site!)

    • You’re right! In relation to the coastal color schemes, do you often see these colors year-round or just during the “coastal” seasons?

    • pberk says:

      Well I think they’re pretty ubiquitous these days, but there’s definitely a difference between the seasonal, or warmer weather, iterations that have been a part of the design landscape for a long time and what I think of as the more recent northern Pacific influences, with its rocky landscapes (more grays) and cooler, deeper, more vivid ocean hues [A good example is this really beautiful vase from Arteriors Home. http://bit.ly/17YYpAo ]

      Whereas the former might present as a bit “beachy”, I think the latter expression of coastal influences can work very well in almost any environment.

  6. Hey thanks for the shout out Peggy! I had so much fun meeting all of you and hearing about your processes! I def intend to continue these round table discussions!

  7. Thanks so much for including me Whitney! I hope our insights will be helpful to your readers, and I look forward to future discussions!

  8. Loved this post! I’m finally to the point where our house is ready for the good stuff– decoration!!!

    • Victoria,
      That’s so exciting! I really can’t wait to see what you come up with! If you have any questions, feel free to let me know, and I’ll put it in our next designer roundtable!

  9. Regarding the question about what colors are a definite no-no to combine when decorating. Susan mentioned pink and purple. I can definitely see how this can be seen as a “easter” scheme, but the colors also work well in a kids room. One of my favorite color schemes is to use a deep plum with a blush pink! Does anyone agree?

  10. Great and informative…Thanks for such wonderful, colorful and exciting post!

  11. great information, maybe I will be inspired to redo our living room 🙂

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About Me

whitney j decor | whitney jones | new orleans interior designer | new orleans decorator | nola interior designer | nola decorator

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie with a love of all things HOME. I’m at my best when color & coffee is involved, but you can also bribe me with crawfish, bread pudding, and/or hibachi. New Orleans born and bred, it’s how I’ve learned to be confident in my use of unique patterns, bold color, and space planning when transforming my clients’ homes! Welcome to Whitney J Décor!

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