Q&A with DESIGNER CHRISTINE HUGHES
Christine Hughes isn’t afraid of color. Or, for that matter, pattern. Still, she thinks they’re best doled out in small measures, so they accent rather than overtake a room.
Q: How do you approach color?
A: I ask clients what colors they like, and then try to find versions that are a little less typical and less expected—colors with some life to them. I tend to use color in accents; I find color is more powerful that way. Q: What’s the ideal white wall paint?
I like shadowed whites that are really pale grays; they’re less sterile than flat whites, yet don’t bring in any warmth or creaminess. Grayish whites have depth, and highlight bold colors in a way that warmer whites just can’t. My favorite shadowed white of the moment is Farrow & Ball’s “Ammonite.” Q: What role do accessories play in a white room? A: They make a quiet, soothing room more interesting. A bit of brass always helps. I love brass. I love pillows, too. I don’t like to over-pillow people, but a great pillow or even a throw is a wonderful way to bring in color. They are also easy to take away when you decide you’re in the mood for something different.
Q: What’s a surprising way to add color?
A: I tell people to buy as many art books as they possibly can. Books introduce color in such a subtle way. And they’re great layering tools.
Q: What strategies do you use to build interest?
A: I think of interior design like fashion. When I get dressed in the morning, I always put on one thing that stands out—an interesting belt or something leather, something with a hard edge. Then I balance it with things that are softer, like a silk blouse. Try doing the same thing on a shelf or a tabletop.
Q: That takes confidence, doesn’t it?
A: What it takes is a willingness to make choices that feel slightly uncomfortable to you. That’s what makes a room interesting instead of just pretty. If you love blue, go slightly brighter, or richer, or deeper than you normally do. Think beyond what you feel ready for so you can grow into your house over time. That way you won’t get bored with it later.