From subtle to bold, accent colors can distinguish design elements and provide a sense of continuity throughout a home. We tapped industry powerhouses to share their mantras for approaching millwork, cabinetry and walls to make a lasting impression.
Josh Greene Design, New York City
Don’t stress about being matchy-matchy.
“Pull out another color from one of the other elements in the room—a wallpaper, a fabric, a tile. But don’t do the most obvious one and most importantly: Don’t get caught up trying to match it exactly; nuance creates depth and interest.”
Nina Magon Studio, Houston
Consider matching material.
“Coordinate colors based on their complimentary colors on the color wheel. Also, featuring the color in textures and patterns creates an eye-catching moment.”
Marie Flanigan Interiors, Houston
Don’t overdo it.
“Identify what beautiful details should be accented and stick to the plan. It’s always easier to add more color than take it away.”
Right Meets Left Interior Design, New York City
Strike a perfect balance.
“There should always be moments of relative quiet in any design scheme, whether you’re using bright and bold, elegant and moody, or subdued paint colors. The trick is to create a hierarchy of color. Select a primary paint color, a secondary color, and accent colors that will coordinate and pop but won’t overwhelm a space. This will create a cohesive space where you will catch the subtleties of the accent colors without overwhelming the design.”
Katie Leede & Co., New York City
Be mindful of the style.
“With modern homes, I like to either stick to a natural palette (ivorys, charcoals, blush pinks) combined with interesting textures and finishes such as plaster and lacquer. You can’t go wrong with a clean, clear white in a contemporary setting and leave the color to the artwork.”
Jay Jeffers, San Francisco
Expertly weave color throughout the home.
“I often establish a language throughout a house using color. I like to pick one shade that acts as the underlying shade throughout the home, whether it’s a neutral taupe or white. I then use coordinating pops of color throughout each room to create personality and contrast, while ensuring that the rooms are still cohesive overall.”
Jeff Andrews Design, Los Angeles
Make your mark in a fun way.
“I love a stripe, such as a striped wall or a striped ceiling. It’s the easiest way to add a graphic punch to any room. Plus, they really do work in any style of architecture or era.”
Dwell by Cheryl Interiors, Charlotte
Continuity is key.
“Continuity is important when it comes to color. For a less jarring approach, I utilize repetition when using paint color as an accent feature. Repeating the color in the space helps to provide a connection that is visually pleasing.”
Kati Curtis, New York City
Your color inspiration is already around you.
“Use accent colors to highlight built-in elements, like a molding or trim detail. As long as the colors are integrated into the other elements in the room—rugs, wallpaper, etc.—there are really no limits to what you can do!”