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Color My World

Designer Tobi Fairley creates the perfect palette for her whole-house renovation

By Tobi Fairley

As a designer who’s known for her use of color, naturally I took palette planning for my new house very seriously. Most important, I wanted to use colors my family and I love—and that fit this traditional-meets-modern house. 

One trick in my color book is to ensure there is a common thread through a whole-house design. It might be a touch of blue in the hall to pick up the cobalt in the living room, or a gray trim in a dining room to complement charcoal cabinetry in an adjoining room. There should always be one thing that ties all the rooms in a home together—otherwise you can end up with a hodgepodge of color. 

So how did I choose the colors in my new home? First, as I do with my clients, I took my family’s favorite hues into consideration. We really love anything on the blue and green side of the spectrum, so I knew those colors would be included. The one “through line” in my home is blue—there are shades of it in almost every room. But I also like to take some fashion-forward risks, so my favorite pinks and yellows are part of the palette too. Look for some color and pattern surprises when I give you the big reveal in a few months—like pink on my dining room ceiling. 

Once I had a general idea of the colors that make each family member happy, I started to go through fabrics and patterns that would both fit our traditional home’s design and be bold and modern. I love, love, love wallpaper—so for my entry and a powder room that’s where I started with the design. I can’t wait to show you some of those eye-popping selections!

Next month we’ll talk about my favorite room in the house: the kitchen. You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s full of color.