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Color Tips from Designer Liz Caan
Color plays a key role in the signature look of Boston-area designer Liz Caan
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Smart, comfortable, and layered. This is the look that Boston area designer Liz Caan loves, and whether she’s riffing on black and white, matchmaking opposites on the color wheel, or keeping a bedroom serenely neutral, color plays a key role in her signature look. Her fundamental design philosophy is that an interior should reflect the lifestyle of its occupants—their wit, their character, their personality.
“Our goal is to combine function, comfort, and beauty while also having fun with the design process,” Liz says. Among her innovative ventures are a service, Design to Go, that gives clients who are willing to do some of the legwork and purchasing themselves a custom-designed space for a fixed fee. This busy designer also has a retail shop and design studio in Newton, Massachusetts, which offers original artwork, vintage finds, accents, her own exclusive designs, and more. These favorite things are also available online at her web store, lizcaaninteriors.com.
Give a Sneak Peak
Don’t forget about your curb appeal. The outside of your home and the front door make the first impression. Paint your front door a color that eludes to what¹s going on inside (make sure it works with the exteriors as well) and dress up your portico a little to give it personality.
Sometimes Less Color is More
In this dining room, the absence of color is what makes the chairs stand out in such an interesting way. They are spectacular chairs that deserve the limelight in this room.
In this dining room, the colors all work together because the walls are a dark blue-grey, and the rug is a lighter blue but tonally correct with the walls. The yellow and pink are necessary to give the space its life!
Black and White as a Base
I love using graphic black and white to anchor a space. It’s always a home run. In this kitchenette, I used black and white to anchor the space and then added pops of color with accessories, upholstery, and art.
Life is loud, so I like quiet and tonal bedrooms as opposed to bold. My theory is that softer palettes in bedrooms are just what you need to doze off and wake up to. In this one, we used a greige (gray and beige) base and then added green touches to enliven it. This bedroom is surrounded by trees, so the color plays off the outside.
Kitchens Don’t Have to be white!
This is a massive kitchen, and I was really stumped for a bit as to how to treat the incredible amounts of cabinetry and the large windows. First I had my photographer come and photograph it when the cabinets were installed. We then painted the kitchen about a dozen different ways in Photoshop to solve this dilemma. The custom-colored blue-grey cabinetry was the winner, and the black mullions on the windows were just what the doctor ordered to help shrink the space and give it the dimension it needed.
White Bedding and a Controlled Palette
I almost always use white bedding—it’s fresh and crisp—and a monogrammed accent in a color helps you tie it to the rest of the room. A controlled palette in the bedroom, especially children’s rooms, is a good strategy. Their books and toys liven the space up in a nanosecond!
Don’t Forget your Workspace!
A bright and cheery workspace can make some of the mundane tasks of life just a little more enjoyable. In this workspace, we added color at the windows and on the accents, while leaving the rest of the space rather clean—which also gives a sense of organization. Artwork, pretty boxes and a green plant (I always include one), give the space a little humanity as well.
Artwork as Inspiration
This room’s palette was really inspired by the artwork that hangs above the sofa. Sometimes artwork or a great rug are a good place to start when figuring out your palette—get tonally close, but don’t get caught up in matching perfectly. Spaces are more interesting with a variety of tones.
Plants Have Color!
I love adding lush green plants to spaces, because sometimes that is all that is needed. In this laundry room, I intentionally left color out. The clothes will add the color to this space, so I just added plants to give it some color yet keep it feeling fresh and clean.
Bow to the Bones
In this library I intentionally left color out of my role (designing furnishings and lighting) so the client’s artwork would stand out and the architect’s amazing design would be seen and appreciated. Less color can be better if you have amazing bones and architecture.