start with A THINGYOULOVE
KATHLEEN WALSH, an interior designer, offers another strategy: Use a multicolor object you spark to, like a patterned chair or rug, as a cheat sheet. You can see the colors working together, so pull out three (the magic number creates cohesion) to build your room around. But first, establish a background with a coordinating color on walls and floors. Bold or medium tones create a cocoon; lighter ones let furnishings shine. Then bring in your color palette through furniture and accessories. But avoid exact matches—a shade or two lighter or darker looks less formulaic.
START WITH A FABRIC
Walsh pulled red, green, and blue from the ottoman fabric’s
nine colors and set them in a warm neutral envelope.
Bright red in the sofa doesn’t overwhelm the room because of the equal amounts of ivory in the small-scale pattern.
Dark grayed-back green in the throw pillow and artwork “is about equal weight as the wall of cherry built-ins,” Walsh says.
Triangulating a color
through the room keeps the eye moving and builds cohesion. Here, blues repeat in solids and patterns.
Walsh wrapped the room in a light neutral via the rug and wall color. It offsets wood tones in the bookcase
DARK ELEMENTS— CHANDELIER, FURNITURE LEGS, AND ARTWORK— COUNTER THE CHALKY ENVELOPE. WALL COLOR MATCH: PALE ALMOND OC-2 BENJAMIN MOORE