Interior Designer’s Guide: How To Style Vibrant Colors
Everyone loves a pop of color in a room. Our favorite vehicle for color here at Nest Casa is throw pillows wherever you can imagine to place them. Sometimes fancy strikes, and a massive burst of color is desired in one’s dwelling. Balancing an intense hue so it doesn’t overtake a space completely is decorating magic that can infuse your space with intense pigment.
In general, yellow is a vibrant color by nature. (Though don’t tell that to mustard yellow.) Ever a cheerful hue, the primary color yellow can shine bright enough to read almost electric. Yellow walls are anchored in black and white and accented with marble in this impressive entryway in Houston. As they say, go big or go home. Another yellow entryway treatment uses hand-painted wallpaper in varying yellow and teal shades to create drama in the space.
Yellow, as shown here, also lends a sense of playfulness. Pop artist Bertrand Lavier culled Disney references for a story about Mickey and Minnie Mouse’s adventures in a modern art museum. The bright yellow wall and curtains play nicely on the color wheel opposite the purple rug, and are steadied by the green wall and teal furniture for a look that lands on the chic side of cartoonish.
Kelly Wearstler, the popular Los Angeles–based designer with a knack for making ’60s and ’70s style look new again, makes a case for orange with this seating nook in the Austin Proper Hotel. She tamed a swath of orange by grounding it in a soothing blue watercolor painting along with blue chairs and dark wood. The hotel and its sister property in Santa Monica, California, were chosen for Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List 2020.
The violet hue’s vibrancy seems to work best as an all-or-nothing strategy. This sitting room designed by interior designer Alex Papachristidis features multiple shades of purple. Papachristidis used white and blue tones to keep the effect grounded. While “eclectic” is one word used to describe the born-and-raised New York decorator, the look here is still cohesive, and the colors live together synergistically. One thing’s for sure: When Papachristidis embraces color, he goes full throttle.
Red interiors, to the well-versed eye, bring to mind a Diana Vreeland–inspired scene. Or perhaps imperial China, with its love and prolific use of red lacquer. But red can also signal a thoroughly modern look. Tommy Hilfiger retained star interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard to oversee the interiors of his Miami home. Bullard used a color-block red and blue suede wall covering offset by white, as seen in the desk, lighting fixture, and wall trim for the all-American fashion designer’s office. Playful artwork from Jean Dubuffet works to brighten the room as well.
Pierre Yovanovitch used a true red on this living room wall, which he balanced with earthy woods and neutral tones such as the pale carpet. The artwork and wall color neutralize the blue tile fireplace, which almost goes unnoticed amid the rest of the imposing room. The design industry reveres Yovanovitch for his mastery of proportion and volume, as seen with the red wall.
Green can read vibrant in a multitude of ways. It’s seen in Bernard Lavier’s Pop Art–inspired work with comic book–like characteristics, or through an exploration of the vibrancy found in nature. In Cartagena, Colombia, fashion designer Johanna Ortiz’s home references the South American country’s tropical jungle topography. This sitting room, anchored by wicker toile-upholstered furniture, geometric marble flooring, and peppered with real tropical plants, adds to the green zone’s lively appeal.
Though an inherently classic color, blue isn’t restricted to subdued designs. On the contrary. The famous Bar Palladio is an explosion of the chicest bright blue hue. The Italian foodie spot in Jaipur, India, opened by Barbara Miolini, took inspiration from Venice icons Caffé Florian and Harry’s Bar and from the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. Designed by Marie-Anne Oudejans, the bar is situated within the historic Narain Niwas Palace Hotel gardens. Its blue-and-white color scheme color spills into an open patio with tented pavilions, with the rest among wandering peacocks and mature mango trees.