Add Some Color To Those Walls!

Posted on | February 15, 2013 | 3 Comments

It’s official – when it comes to home design, color has made a comeback! While most homeowners embrace the idea of color, it can be a challenge to know exactly how to apply it successfully to a room. We were delighted to catch up up with Charlotte interior designer Donna Livingston, of DL Design, Inc., and have her share with North Carolina Design her best tips for adding color to the walls of our living spaces.

Images Courtesy of DL Design, Inc. ©

Donna isn’t one to shy away from color in design. To choose the right color for a space, she first looks to the fabrics she will use. “The fabrics that go into a room need to meet the homeowners’ style, functional needs and price point, which can make the options somewhat limited, “she notes. “The paint options, however, are unlimited. I tend to pull a color palette from the upholstery, rugs or draperies. It’s far from the only means to choose a color, but I have found that it works well.”

Donna notes that used properly, bold colors can work in almost any space. “Strong, saturated colors can look great, but they have to be the right color. It’s helpful if the home has strong architectural features that can support a strong color. Also, the intensity of the color should be balanced with neutrals. I use neutrals on the trim, moulding and baseboards.”

The right color is also more important than the room size. “People think you have to use lighter colors in smaller rooms to make them appear larger,” says Donna. “For most of us, cozy is the ultimate goal, and you can’t get that from lighter colors. Also, the right look for a room is 70 percent color, 30 percent sheen. The amount of sheen in a paint really changes how the color interacts with light, and can completely change the feel and brightness of a room.”

While color for an individual room needn’t be determined by its dimensions, the flow of one room into adjoining rooms has to be considered. “You have to focus on the home as a whole,” Donna explains. “If I choose a strong color for one room, I will keep other rooms more neutral for a layered effect.”

Donna concedes that choosing a color palette for a whole home can be challenging. ”Most people can pick one color, but struggle to pick several. If you’re having trouble, I recommend hiring a designer to look at your home and help you choose. Getting it right is worth the added expense. Also, take it slow. Try new things little by little. Color is a bit of a risk, but the results can be brilliant.”

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3 Responses to “Add Some Color To Those Walls!”

  1. Ronnie Tousignant
    February 18th, 2013 @ 7:43 AM

    One way to present a color story to a client is to prepare a story board using their floor plan and ‘painting’ each room with my suggested colors. I ask my client to take this with them as they walk around their home to see how the colors will blend together. Being as visual as possible helps them and me come to a satisfying conclusion capturing the look and feel they want.

  2. dustin
    February 18th, 2013 @ 10:39 AM

    While photographing many of Donna’s installations, I always noticed just how much Color was a part of what Donna’s projects were. We always strived to reproduce photographically the intent of Donna’s color pallet, even to the point of meeting at my studio, in front of my monitors and making sure the color was exactly as Donna intended them to be.

  3. Liz Hughes
    February 18th, 2013 @ 10:48 AM


    You are the consummate perfectionist. Love your work and your commitment to detail.


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