Ask any designer what frightens clients most, and the answer is usually one word: color. Thankfully, Amanda Nisbet, of New York–based Amanda Nisbet Design, has no fear. “People get scared of bold hues because they think they’re unsettling, but using lots of color can create a cozy, joyous atmosphere, especially in a family-oriented home,” she says. This feel-good approach is exactly what Amanda went for in a beach house on Long Island, where her clients, an energetic family of six, spend weekends throughout the year. They asked for “elegant but comfortable,” so she used a palette that was both full-throttle and family-friendly, from a deep green TV room to super-saturated navy and red in the living room. Read on for six ways to add bold color to your home.
In the TV room, Amanda painted the walls a vibrant green to match the custom-upholstered sectional, but softened the look with white piping, a pair of white pod chairs, and a nubby carpet. The result: a surprisingly comfortable venue for nighttime lounging and movie watching. The domed spotlights can be rotated to direct light as needed.
Bold blue and red can sometimes seem harsh, so Amanda toned them down in the game room by incorporating soft materials, such as terry cloth. An arrowroot wallcovering makes the traditional architecture look less stuffy.
Toy With Tradition
“I didn’t want to do a classic blue-and-white living room,” says Amanda, who mixed in mustard yellow and cardinal red accent pieces to liven up the blues that anchor the space. She was careful to avoid too-bright colors such as taxi yellow and fire engine red, which would have made the room look like a primary-color wheel.
Lavender is known to be a calming shade, and Amanda used it to good effect in the master bedroom. Pale lavender appears in the lamp shade and sheet set, while a deeper amethyst hue adds kick to the bed upholstery and accent pillows.
Incorporate Pops of Bright Color
Chocolate brown, which is often reserved for formal living rooms and dens, is right at home on the screened porch, especially when it’s accented with hot pink. “If you use bright tones in small details, such as contrasting piping and patterned accent pillows, they add a subtle, elegant punch,” says Amanda.