Design Lessons from Real Homes: Karen's Smart Color Tricks

Design Lessons from Real Homes: Karen's Smart Color Tricks

Bb2f52a9d1ee9ea79d943ce0a619f0977664129a?auto=compress&w=240&h=240&fit=crop
Jennifer Hunter
Sep 3, 2015

Karen told us her home was inspired by Saarinen's Gateway Arch. Actually, she said it like this, "It’s my arch— I just allow it to reside in St. Louis." Looking at her home, it's easy to see its amazing mid-century style, but we also noticed the many savvy and strategic ways that Karen used color to enhance her great architecture and decor. These tricks would work with any style.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

She uses color to highlight architectural details

This home has so many amazing details and its structure stands out even more when it gets a dose of color. Those angular lines in the bedroom really pop thanks to the dark swath against the white and pale blue of the ceiling and walls. The unique, faceted walls in the kitchen below really shine thanks to that yellow shade. Color draws the eye, so make sure you're highlighting the best features.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)
(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

She limits her palette

The colors Karen picked are punchy, but she doesn't overdo it on the range of shades. See how she picks just two or three main colors to feature in each room? In the kitchen it's green and yellow and white (anchored with a rug that echo those same shades) and in the living room below it's orange and bright blue. There's a lot going on so she keeps things from going off the rails with a limited palette.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

She uses a small space to take a risk

Certainly this entire house is a great expression of Karen's point of view, but I suspect that this bathroom is her baby. Look at the care with which she gave her drawers the royal treatment (while also highlighting their structure, see above). This much purple might not work in a larger room, but a bathroom is the right place to try this. I'll bet this color makes Karen happy every morning.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

She adds little kicks of color with accessories

There's no lack of interesting things in Karen's home, but since she does stick to a strict palette (see above), she uses her accessories to add in other colors that she may love, but doesn't want to use too much of. Take her tour and you'll see she does this all over her house, but I had to show you this amazing bureau. Those curves! So sexy!

See the whole tour here → Karen's Mid Century Modern Nashville Home

Created with Sketch.