We love neutrals as much as the next design aficionado, but we’re falling hard for color, as design manufacturers and retailers entice us with furnishings, accessories, and wallcoverings in bolder hues. Whether you’re craving a sunny palette or feeling tempted by a moody, dark paint, you’ll find the confidence and know-how to add color to your space as you look at how these four gorgeous rooms came together.
1. The Red Kitchen
All-white kitchens? No more! A Boulder designer’s vibrant painted cabinets make the case for color that cooks.
Boulder designer Lauren Maggio blended a custom tomato-red color for her kitchen cabinets (manufactured by Plato Woodwork). The subway tile backsplash (by Fireclay Tile) has a deep bevel that gives it shine, and custom raffia pendants pull in the natural tones of the bamboo window shades.
When interior designer Lauren Maggio chose red for the Shaker-style cabinets in her own kitchen, she had two primary inspirations in mind. First, the hue was sentimental: When Maggio first met her husband, he had a red kitchen. Second, it was a nod to her New Orleans roots. In the South, she says, people aren’t afraid to use color in their homes—and armed with her top tips, you shouldn’t be either.
Boldly Go: “Red makes sense if you spend a lot of time in the room,” Maggio says. “It’s energetic, bright, and cheery. Bold colors, in general, do that to a room. This kitchen invites you to come in and cook.”
…But Pair Smartly: “When you decorate with strong colors, you have to think about the other materials in the room,” the designer says. “Pairing this red with more muddy colors [the creamy walls and rattan accents] allows it to shine.” White, she adds, would have created too much contrast.
Get It Right: When you’re picking paint, spend time making sure you’ve found the perfect hue: You are, after all, going to live with it for a while. “I went through many iterations with the cabinet company to get this color right,” she says of the custom tomato red.
2. The Green Bedroom
The bright green hue in this Cherry Creek master bedroom is the stuff of sweet dreams.
Blue pillows (from the Brass Bed) and artwork (“Snow Chute Above Thomas Lake” by David Warner) complement the custom green rug.
Most people interpret the enduring design rule about every room needing a bit of green as a call for houseplants. But this master bedroom remodel in a ’90s-era Cherry Creek home proves that approach falls short of embracing green’s full potential. Designers Ashley Larson Eitemiller and Conni Newsome of C&A Interiors knew the angular, tall-ceilinged space demanded a hit of color to warm it up, and green felt like the right choice due to its natural, soothing qualities, Newsome says. The design started with a custom-made rug (which was inspired by a piece of fabric the client loved). Then the duo gave the room’s door a similar cheery green color (Irish Moss by Benjamin Moore).
Designers Conni Newsome and Ashley Larson Eitemiller share their favorite go-to greens, all from Benjamin Moore.
1. Hunter Green, 2041-10: This masculine green is ideal for a man cave bar with brass accents, but it’s also a great pick for exterior trim and doors.
2. Hollingsworth Green, HC-141: This soft green shade is neutral enough for any room (use it with blue accents), but the designers especially love it in master bedrooms.
3. Minced Onion, 2145-60: “The name says it all,” Eitemiller says. “The perfect color for the kitchen—without the tears.”
3. The Blue Office
A charming blue-and-white Polo Club office makes going to work look good. Designer Ramey Caulkins reveals the secrets behind her cerulean vision.
The blue-and-white woodland pattern of Arbre de Matisse by Quadrille—on the walls and window coverings—stands out against neutral furnishings and fixtures.
The goal for this serene office was functionality. “We don’t live in a world where people want rooms too precious to live in,” says Ramey Caulkins of Griffin Design Source—but that doesn’t mean we’re not itching for somewhere pretty to manage whatever comes our way. Caulkins designed this multilayered room to meet a wide range of needs: a spot for kids’ study sessions, space to host friends, and even just a place to pay the bills in peace.
Blue Streak: The elegant wallpaper (Arbre de Matisse by Quadrille) set the exact blue hue for the room, and Caulkins used fabric in the same pattern to make custom shades and drapes. “I love how this room envelops you,” Caulkins says. “This pattern would never work in a tiny little setting because you’d miss the repeat of the trees and the branches.”
Top Shelf: “I never leave the back of a cabinet or the ceiling of a room unattended,” Caulkins says. Here, she offsets the white built-in with blue, which was custom blended by Benjamin Moore to match the wallpaper and window treatments.
Balancing Act: The client already had the circular mirror over the mantel, but Caulkins felt it was too small for the space, so she painted a blue rectangle around it like a frame.
4. The Black Dining Room
A designer embraces the boldest of bold shades in an unexpected space—her dining room.
Walls in Almost Black and the trim and box-beam ceiling in White Dove (both Benjamin Moore) make elegant statements, while the Ralph Lauren chairs with saddle-leather seats, a metallic-paint-splattered hair-on-hide rug from Saddlemans Leather, and the Sanger chandelier (by Aerin Lauder for Visual Comfort) add richness.
The thing about black, says interior designer Deidre Oliver of Oliver Designs, is that you have to commit. The space can be large or small (a powder room would be ideal!), but you’ve got to believe in the color. “Black really adds edge to a space,” Oliver says. “It’s bold, but it becomes a backdrop when you layer finishes on top.” For the dining room in her Niwot home, Oliver wanted to add saturated color but needed something that would work with her original Ralph Lauren table and chairs. “We’d all love to flip our furniture as trends and whims come around, but if you have well-made pieces, you can find ways to still make them work,” Oliver says. The black floors and walls, in Benjamin Moore’s Almost Black, and the stark white of the trim and box-beam ceiling marries the traditional with the modern.
These websites help answer your toughest questions about DIY painting projects.
1. I’m overwhelmed by all the choices. How do I pick a paint color? Try virtually painting the room first! Simply upload a photo of your room to your favorite paint company’s website (Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, and Valspar all have virtual painting tools) and go wild. We like Sherwin-Williams’ Color Visualizer at hgtvhomebysherwinwilliams.com.
2. How much paint do I really need to buy? Figure out exactly how much paint will get the job done with the Paint Quality Institute’s handy online calculator at paintquality.com/en/tools/paint-calculator.
3. Is there somewhere I can recycle my old, half-full paint cans? Yes! PaintCare Colorado keeps a list of places that recycle paint; just plug in your zip code at paintcare.org and you’re on your way.
—Photography By Emily Minton Redfield