COLOR. One of our favorite 5-letter words! When color is correctly used in a well-designed room, the effect is electric, unifying and dynamic.  Unfortunately, color can be used incorrectly or in the wrong combinations, eliciting nothing but shrieks and screams from its beholders and causing it to be demoted from a 5-letter word to  a 4-letter one instead. Today, we're lucky to have Austin, Texas designer, Annie Downing, give us some help in this area. Her no-fail tips will give you that extra boost of confidence for accurately infusing color within a room. BACKGROUND:  Austin based interior designer, Annie Downing, loves what she does. All of her projects use a mix of modern and traditional furnishings. She has worked on both residential and commercial projects in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. ANNIE'S THOUGHTS ON DESIGN: I love what I do but what I like the most is when I find something unique for a project that no one else has. That's the best.  I love to mix modern and traditional but I think I am art deco girl at heart.  I think I just love the eclectic. I think I always knew I loved interior design, it just didn't occur to me to do it for a living.  I worked in politics and media and took art classes at night. Then, I just started helping friends and it evolved from there.



I find that the request I get most often from my clients is that they want to add color to their interiors but aren't quite sure how to do it. That's where I come in! My favorite thing to do is to add unexpected colors that aren't trendy or "right now."  Today I'll give you a few ideas on where to use color within a room.


Where to add color... ON BOOKS: Bookshelves and colorful coffee table books can make a huge difference and are easy to find. Just look at the subtle difference the books above have on the table's color scheme!



 (Throw pillows on bench covered in: Groundworks by Lee Jofa. Fabric on desk chair seat: Osborne and Little

Trims on pillows are a great place to add color!  Pick a trim that coordinates with something else in the room. We did that here  (above) by using Chartreuse on the desk seat cushion and on the pillows in the window seat. For another pop of color, we added a huge bolster to the adjacent room's king sized bed in the same fabric as the velvet chairs (see below).


(Fabric on 2 Lee Industries Arm Chairs: Kravet.  Ottoman: Lee Industries. Floor lamp & sconces: Visual Comfort.)

My client wasn't afraid to add the gorgeous velvet chairs in the most perfect color: persimmon. People are constantly debating this color; some say it's orange, others red, others pink. Persimmon is constantly changing as the light in the room changes. I often hear my clients tell me they are afraid to cover a big piece like a sofa in a color, instead they always like to cover it in neutrals. I disagree!  My favorite projects are the ones where my clients take risks...and using a bold color like persimmon is the perfect risk for this space.



 (Wallpaper: Schumacher)

We used a really subtle grasscloth in this room and took it up behind the shelves as well. It added the dimension that we needed and provided a really light blue to coordinate with the existing wall color in the bedroom area. We also added a metallic wallpaper to the bathroom area in another shade of blue for added subtle color.


USING ART: Adding art to a wall is ideal for bringing color into a room.  It's personal, and if you have a reaction to a piece, then you know it's meant to be. Look at how the painting on the wall ties together the bold colors we used, but also makes the space seem complete and cohesive.



(Headboard covered in: Groundworks by Lee Jofa. Side tables: Festoni. Table lamps: vintage. Painting by Meredith Pardue)

I found these amazing light turquoise colored pendants on a buying trip. One was made into a lamp (see above). We also hung two in a  powder room with this very graphic wallpaper and it just worked.

In this case, the orange wallpaper with the turquoise pendants made a great match. Sometimes the best color combinations are the least expected ones!


In summary, don't be afraid of color! In the right doses, color brings life to a room and makes your guests do a double take!
Thank you, Annie!  We adore those persimmon velvet chairs!! Great color combinations!!  For more information on Annie, please see below!
Annie Downing Interiors
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(Images courtesy of Annie Downing)
Austin Interior Design Blog