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Color Tips from Designer Julie Goldman

The L.A.-based designer offers her tips for creating interiors with great color

From Interior Designer Julie Goldman
  • Julie Goldman is a born collaborator, whether she’s fishing with her father in the marshlands of Louisiana, browsing Christie’s catalogs with a fellow art collector, or teaming up with artisans on designs and products for J. Latter Design, the L.A. firm she founded in 2000. After graduating with a degree in art history from Tufts, the flea market aficionado returned to New Orleans to work for the hallowed firm of Holden & Dupuy. Her tutelage in antiques there is reflected in the way she reimagines pieces to add distinction and function to modern settings. Her one-of-a-kind interiors always look artisanal and touched by hand.

    Visit Julie's website. 

  • Kerri McCaffety

    Hushed Palette

    Consider your location when selecting your palette for a space. Exactly the same color looks very different in Los Angeles than in Chicago, so adjust hues accordingly. You also need to take the architecture into consideration. For this project in New Orleans, the palette was inspired by architectural details and the mature trees beyond the large bay windows. See an adjacent room on the next image. 

  • Kerri McCaffety

    A (Little Bit) Bold

    A commitment to a bold color doesn’t need to be huge. Consider repeating small accents of a similar color—a lampshade, a throw, a collection of books all in the same hue. Also, take a look at what I call ‘non-colors’ and the impact they can have, such as this large glass jar. Notice how it refers to the blues from the adjacent room in the previous image.

    Check out a New York City loft with bold color and pattern.

  • Kerri McCaffety

    Keep it Fresh

    Flowers are an easy way to add color and invigorate a space. But when your favorites aren’t available (or your partner is allergic, like mine is), add some color with a simple bowl of an unusual fruit or a vessel of fresh leaves. 

  • Kerri McCaffety

    Soothing Hues

    When decorating bedrooms, I tend to keep the palette soothing—I prefer cool blues and dusty colors. With palettes such as these, a little bit of a contrast goes a long way. The injection of orange is an unexpected addition to the soothing lavender, making the space younger and more vivacious. 

    Snag some bedroom decorating ideas for older children.

  • E.F. Gidley

    Art as Color Inspiration

    Artwork is a great source of color in a space—and a frequent jumping off point. In this project, you can see how the artwork (from the homeowners’ collection) provides a restful break from the riot of pattern in the wallpaper. The accessories echo the green in the paper and tie in the blue in the background of the painting. 

  • Michael Garland

    Layered Look

    Consider layering multiple of shades of the same color. For instance, this bedroom vignette is successful because of the variety of blues—the light walls and the dark blue of the quilt and painting. The creams and off-whites ground the blue while the reds and yellows punch it up. 

    See more from this home.

  • Michael Garland

    Quality Counts

    Always buy quality paint, particularly when using a strong or unusual paint color. In this dining room, I used Farrow and Ball “Babouche,” an intense yolky yellow. When the light bounces around this room, you can sense the strength and depth in the pigment making the space feel luxurious and warm. 

  • Julie Goldman

    Exotic Inspiration

    Travel to exotic places like Morocco can entirely change your perspective on color—and especially color combinations. On a recent trip to Marrakech, I was struck not only by the saturation of the hues at Les Jardins Majorelles, but by the combinations of color. 

    Designers share some of their favorite colors for spring.

  • Julie Goldman

    Mother (Nature) Knows Best

    There are classic combinations—black and white, red and blue, pink and green. But as times change, simply adjusting the intensity of one of the hues can make a palette feel fresh and modern. Take a look at Mother Nature. Who (besides her) would have thought to pair this juicy magenta with such dusty green? 

  • Kerri McCaffety

    Pretty Painted Finishes

    Don’t limit your use of color to the walls and textiles. Nothing makes me happier than a painted finish, particularly an old one. See how the color of the chair frame works with the shades. If you are having a vintage piece painted (or DIY-ing it), choose a piece with a great overall silhouette and make sure the surfaces are smooth before painting.

    Check out Goldman's work in TradHome Mag.