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20 Designers, 20 Favorite Palettes

Designers share some of their favorite color combinations

From the Editors of Traditional Home
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  • Jamie Drake
    I am currently in love with the refreshing and calming combination of pale lilac and mint parfait. I recently used this luscious palette in the guest bedroom of an 1838 house on Long Island. The combination of these two colors from the cool side of the spectrum is surprisingly warm, due to the dash of red in the lilac. It is a sophisticated recipe for making country look chic.

    Photo courtesy of Wouter Vandertol

  • Charlotte Moss
    The combination of amber, citrine, aubergine and peridot suggests warmth and the richness associated with jewel tones. The mix of paisleys, oriental rugs and leopard chenille suggest worlds far away.

    Photo courtesy of Charlotte Moss Interior Design Group

  • Amanda Nisbet
    Even though money is tight, one can always find comfort in a green color scheme. My walls are lacquered a yummy pea green. I've used graphite gray to soothe and Imperial yellow to pop the space. The colors are classic yet the combination is modern.

    Photo courtesy of Tony Williams

  • Barclay Butera
    I really love mossy greens, chocolates with touches of raffia and pattern. This color palette is fresh, comfortable and easy on the eye.

    Photo courtesy of Mark Lohman

  • Molly Isaksen
    Neutral rooms allow you to add color and depth with accent fabrics, objects, and accessories. For instance, a beautiful vase full of peonies, an assortment of books, or an antique textile used as a throw or made into a pillow can create layers in a room and prevent the neutrals from feeling bland. In this room I used a deeper neutral such as the gray/blue fabric on the beds to add a subtle contrast and drama to the pale backdrop. I think the end result is tranquil and soothing while also sophisticated and chic.

    Photo courtesy of Karyn Millet

  • Elizabeth Dinkel
    I like to use unexpected color combinations. For example a soft, relaxing hue such as Robin's Egg with a strong accent like a warm Terra Rosa can be extremely beautiful and chic.

    Photo courtesy of Jean Randazzo

  • Matthew Patrick Smyth
    Our clients have been reacting to jewel toned colors recently. Perhaps it is a subconscious reaction to the times; this gold and lapis blue combination lifts the spirits.

    Photo courtesy of Peter Margonelli

  • Joe Nye
    Paprika walls (Benjamin Moore) are a strong counterpoint to the basic one-fabric-scheme that is a Clarence House red, green and black stripe. The intensity of the red makes your pupils dilate, makes people feel good, and creates a happy environment in this beach-side bungalow.

    Photo courtesy of Joe Nye, Inc

  • Sherrill Canet
    When staying "in" seems to be the prefered option a warm and cozy place at home is what my clients are requiring. This deep dark chocolate and vibrant coral library is all embracing yet exciting and the perfect backdrop to a lovely afternoon or evening at home.

    Photo courtesy of Tria Giovan

  • Alex Papachristidis
    A timeless scheme, and mix of colors that I adore, all comes together in this Braquenié fabric of cream, tobacco, blue, and yellow that was the inspiration for this Kips Bay room. I find this color combination both sophisticated and versatile. It looks beautiful with a variety of materials and finishes like wood, stone, bronze, lacquer and gilt and works well with solid and textured fabrics.

    Photo courtesy of Stewart O'Shields

  • Michael Smith
    This is a bedroom in London filled with 20th century furniture-with yellow and white Fortuny on the walls. This "maizey" yellow is almost a neutral, in a way, and creates a modern and sunny palette.

    Photo courtesy of Michael Smith, Inc.

  • Barbara Barry
    I love gold, chocolate, and ivory in fabrics, woods, and metals. It feels rich and festive and chic. Like liquid sunshine on a cloudy day, it can warm your spirits, and by night it glows like candlelight and sparkles like jewelry.

    Photo courtesy of David Meredith

  • Michael Berman
    Persimmon and black, I have always loved a deep orangey tone like this persimmon color for dining rooms, especially smaller, more intimate spaces. The warmth radiates off the walls and always sets a beautiful backdrop for antiques, ebony wood and soft modern furnishings. I find myself using dark, graphic colors like this black/green for doors and trim in almost every project these days-it gives a crisp and contrasting outline in a home that recalls classic Architectural Engravings.

    Photo courtesy of Grey Crawford

  • Barry Dixon
    I never tire of the helios gamut of colors. Glowing ember golds, blood oranges, and muted, winey clarets fold into one another when used together. A room in these colors is warm even before we turn up the thermostat.

    Photo courtesy of Edward Addeo

  • Kendall Wilkinson
    I love combining the edginess of red and freshness of yellow and anchoring them with timeless black-you can make this trio work for any season or any mood, and it puts your personality forward.

    Photo courtesy of Kendall Wilkinson Design

  • Ellie Cullman and Tracey Pruzan
    We've moved past green and beige, the colors of money. And in the spirit of the economy, we've moved into red. On a more serious note, we do love to use colors in our interiors, and right now, red feels passionate and energetic. We also try not to decorate according to what's in fashion, and red is always a classic choice, rather than a trendy or "in style now" choice.

    Photo courtesy of Cullman & Kravis

  • Thomas Jayne
    We painted this coat room red to transport it into being an individual space of its own. It seems slightly risky to use this color, which might be why I like it so much. This particular shade is brick, which feels energetic, confident, and protective. Furthermore, it combines well with blue, which is increasingly popular again after a seeming hiatus in residential decoration.

    Photo courtesy of Thomas Jayne Studio

  • Connie Beale
    For as long as I remember, shades of turquoise have appealed to me. As an accent against greens and creams, as shown in this living room, it lifts the palette without jarring the restfulness of the space. Turquoise can provide a terrific spark without being overwhelming as a red or orange accent might. It's a cool color though its impact can be quite warm.

    Photo courtesy of Connie Beale, Inc

  • Robert Couturier
    A color palette is determined by the client preferences and by the interior architecture of each project. For me, there is really no trend to this. One thing I never do is beige! To me color signifies the soul of a room, a house or an interior, and beige has no soul.

    Photo courtesy of Robert Couturier & Assoc.

  • Betsy Burnham
    I love gray-blue. The paler tones are very chic for walls, and used with crispy white trim, remind me of oxford shirts or old school writing paper. The mid-tones I've used on wood. The darkest grey-blues I've used in all kinds of ways-from shutters on my own home's exterior to the entry walls of an art collector client. These go from classic to dramatic depending on the use and remind me of fine men's suiting. Best of all, you can accent these grey-blues with everything from Hermes orange to aubergine and mustard yellow. They make for a slightly "off" yet very sophisticated palette.

    Photo courtesy of Amy Brooke Tierney

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