Color speaks to us. It calms, energizes, cheers, and enfolds. It’s a powerful tool in interior design—for good and ill.
We sense that color affects us. Red, for example, is warm, bold, and exciting. Yellow, the color of summer, feels happy and optimistic. Blue is restful and tranquil, often the go-to color for bedrooms. Green, the color of nature, also leans cool and serene.
We may intuitively understand those effects, but translating them into the décor of a bedroom, study, or master bath that is stylish and captures the mood and emotion we want to convey? The aesthetic and psychological choices can be overwhelming. The default for many: neutrals—white, beige, greige, or gray. Nothing inherently wrong with those choices, but often we’re opting for little color because we’re afraid to commit to making a statement with bolder, brighter tones.
Cue the talented interior designer who knows color and its impact. Well-versed in color theory and color psychology, interior designers skillfully balance color, pattern, and texture to create rooms that capture the personality and preferences of their owners.
Midwest Home and the American Society of Interior Designers Minnesota (ASID MN) created the annual Life in Color competition to demonstrate the power of color. For the 2018 competition, we asked ASID designers to submit vibrant designs that showcased their use of color and creativity, and successfully fulfilled their clients’ needs and wants. From the entries, we selected the six projects featured here.
The color blue is well represented among the winning entries. No surprise there—it’s the most popular color in the world, according to numerous surveys, universally appealing because it’s the color of sky and (clean) water. But what blues! They range from a high-gloss, saturated navy that encases an entire room to a cheery sky blue on a bedroom ceiling to a turquoise that unifies a modern home.
The designers’ skillful and innovative applications across the spectrum of blue make for especially noteworthy rooms. Other winners just as artfully employ corals, sunny marigolds, leafy greens, and toasty cinnamons to create the mood homeowners wanted.
All these spaces speak volumes: The glam sitting room encapsulated in deep blue says mingle and indulge; the sophisticated solarium declares repose and relax; the bright, pattern-filled bedroom urges guests to rise and shine; while the cream and burnt orange bedroom says get cozy and unwind.
All you have to do is listen.
Retired principal,Ron Scolman Interior Design
Bethany Wrede Peterson
Principal, Atelier Wrede Waters
Editor-at-large, Midwest Home magazine
Glam & Glossy
Martha O’Hara Interiors
Thanks to a deep shade of aqua navy fully encasing the room—walls, ceiling, millwork—this sitting room is a glam, downright sexy, parlor. A high-gloss lacquered coating adds drama, and the five-tier chandelier hung lower than normal makes it sparkle. Neutral furnishings keep the focus on the rich walls and the faux bois-patterned rug adds whimsy. When the doors to the adjacent room are closed, they are nearly invisible and a bar is hidden behind the paneled walls. The client loves to host gatherings, so this space is designed for easy conversation and entertaining.
Rise and Shine
Martha O’Hara Interiors
The designer’s instructions: Make this cabin’s guest bedroom joyful. Vibrant patterns, playful colors, and unique details do exactly that. The bold pattern of the wallpaper—repeated in the fabric of the window panels and accent pillows—sky-colored ceiling, and graphic chair underline the room’s happy personality. The curves and delicate details of the spindled chair, scalloped dressers, and clover-shaped ottoman soften the design. Amidst calming white, bright orange accents add the finishing touch.
ImPeckable Design, Inc.
Laura Antognozzi Peck
This windowless master bath is a fresh, invigorating retreat for an active sophisticated couple. The floral wallpaper is an eruption of sunny color tempered by its mist-colored background. Clean white and mirrors balance the space, while the natural stone floors and the gold accents of hardware and the sculptural chair highlight the mustard tones in the wallpaper.
Twist Interior Design
The homeowners requested an international flavor for the solarium in this historic renovation. Handmade floor tiles, in a hue similar to the original, are installed on the diagonal to add interest. The ceiling, painted a rich, spiced orange, offsets the green and contrasts with the sweeping view of the river valley below. The queen-sized daybed, covered in a custom cover of teal strie velvet, monk’s bed coffee table, and Moroccan rug add exotic charm.
Inspired by his art collection, this client wanted a tech-driven style and bold pops of color throughout his home. The designer balanced playful and sophisticated to oblige, with a glass backsplash in the kitchen that continues on the ceiling, Vetrazzo countertops with flecks of turquoise glass, and a turquoise geometric wallcovering in the master bath upstairs.
This cabin-themed guest bedroom in a midcentury home reflects the client’s love of lake life. Warm finishes, fabrics, and colors underline the luxury lakeside hotel ambiance yet feel comfortably rustic at the same time. Masculine touches make the room welcoming and cozy for guests.