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Denver interior designer Beth Armijo was besotted with color from the very beginning: “I’ve taken art classes since I was eight,” she says. “My mom would send me down to Arapahoe Community College, and I would take art classes with adults.” Armijo, principal of Armijo Design Group, went on to study business at the University of Colorado Boulder, but pored over art coursework by night. “I was trying to make my right brain and left brain work together,” she says. “If they weren’t, I felt like I was missing something. Interior design allows me to use both.”
The owner of this Hilltop Tudor home is equally creative—a dream client for Armijo. “She lived in New York and is in the fashion industry, so she’s very into textiles and fabrics; that’s what you’ll see in this house,” Armijo says. “It was fun to have someone like-minded to work with.” The result of their collaboration is a perfect example of how to embrace color.
“Trends are there to make people feel bad; it’s my goal to be timeless with color.” —Beth Armijo, designer
5280 Home: This home is colorful, but not treacly; we wouldn’t want to rip it all out a year from now. How did you do that?
Beth Armijo: You don’t want to muddy a home with every color of the rainbow. Limit your palette to three or four different saturations of the same color in one room. I like to repeat a color in different spaces. For the front entry I might select yellow paint, and you’ll see the same hue in a fabric in the family room. If you do this right, you shouldn’t get tired of your palette.
How do you know which colors will be loved at length?
I often ask one question: What are your favorite colors? It sounds simple, but a lot of people attach stigmas to colors—like, green makes you think about your grandma’s 1970s avocado-colored kitchen. Sometimes I’ll ask clients to find things that inspire them on Pinterest or create a file of pictures of artwork; it’s subconscious what people like, but I can see repetition and dissect it and come to a conclusion.
Brilliant. Now, let’s say someone is afraid of color. Where should she put it?
On things that are easy to change, like throw pillows or area rugs. You can paint a wood mirror, or a piece of furniture you find secondhand, so you’re less invested. I also like making the ceiling color a big pop.
A ceiling doesn’t have to be white?
It’s always a forgotten thing. I love to go a little nuts there with turquoise, jade green, or a coral color—whatever ties back into the room. A colorful ceiling can open up the room, raise it. A lot of people are having fun with wallpaper there for that reason; you don’t have to use as much to bring the eye up and make the room cozier. Sometimes, if a ceiling is left bare, the job doesn’t look done.
Where do you prefer not to go color-crazy?
I like to make bedrooms more calm. You could do a bedroom in soothing colors like blue or a really rich gray—as long as it’s a warm gray—and it would be super cozy. Then again, I’ve been in bedrooms painted coral and they’re awesome because they’re almost womblike.
Any color advice that’s specific to Colorado homes?
Because we get great, bright sunlight, you can go to a higher level of color in Colorado. Pastels can be really pastel here; lighter colors can get washed out. Using enough pigment is key.