Softening the Bold Into Beautiful

Decor Mentor is thrilled to have Texas Interior Designer Elaine Williamson join our team as one of our latest mentors. She will be bringing insight in to the big, bold and beautiful designs of Texas!—>

Throughout my years as an interior designer, the need for color-school, or perhaps better stated as educating clients to the use and advantages of bold colors, can at first make them uncertain.  For many clients a bold color in a finite space such as a bathroom or dining area may expand beyond their color-comfort-zone.  However if the color element is used in a design with a sense of balance, a balance between focal, warmth, blending and transition, the bold can certainly provided finished designs that are beautiful.

The 2012 Pantone color of the year, Tangerine Tango, is just that type of color.  To the uneducated eye, one may think of this color as too warm, too loud or one that simply belongs and reserved for use only on the jersey’s of a certain University of Tennessee athletics program.  However with the correct balance of off complimentary cooling colors and elements, Tangerine Tango will emit an appropriate warmth and panache elegance to a room.

As in the above formal dining room design, a version of Tangerine Tango is a pleasing color to the eye and just makes this room work.  But why does it work with this room and elements?  If one is not careful, over use or lack of softening this color as a focal point can make a room look too weighted, too strong and potentially distorted, especially if covering large, main-accented walls.  By taking a bold color that not only sets off, but makes this room not only breathtakingly unique for an inviting dining experience, but memorable. So the answer to this question of how this outstanding tangerine color can be blended, balanced and cooled into a beautiful focal point, is through balance. For this reason it was important to add cool colors and elements to soften the tangerine.  Note the slate blues, silvers and use of crystal to give the room balance and a noticeable coolness.  Although the glass table top emits strength and boldness akin to the boldness of the wall color, by adding the soft curves of dining chairs with a linen texture covering, contrasted with floral backing and leopard accented chair skirts, the balance and cooling effect is very much in play.  The sharp pops of chrome (sconces), silver (lamp shade and overhead lighting element), all offer an overall balance to the room.

It is important when working with clients to encourage them to use colors that evoke their emotions, even if an accent piece such as this silver console where the orange takes the focus in the hardcover book.

I have enjoyed using Tangerine Tango or orange into several designs over the past two years, as bold, yet a very practical color when softened with complimentary cool colors and elements.  To know now that this magnificent color has been selected as the 2012 Pantone color of the year, positions it for further use and truly taking the bold into the beautiful and beyond.

Elaine Williamson, author of this feature, is a full service Interior Design firm in Dallas, Texas. Elaine would love to talk to you about designing a space expressly for you. Elaine opts not to go for a signature style but takes her lead from her client’s personal style!

You can also find a full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.

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