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Decorating With Color


It’s a design truism that a little bit of color goes a long way. Three industry pros share tips for how to employ it with care.

Kathy Perriera, co-owner of Phoebe and Belle, a lifestyle store in Cutchogue:
“Our customers tend to go for greys and earth tones, so as a counterpoint, I encourage them to use accent pieces in contrasting colors. If you have neutral-colored walls, bring in an interesting flat-weave rug in teal or blue or coral, and you’re practically home-free on the color front. Or you could add some great colored throw pillows. Some of the most popular items at the shop are pillows by the amazing Judy Ross, which we were very lucky to get. Ross has an incredible eye for design and texture, and two or three of her pillows can really pull a room together, turn it into a finished space. Another fantastic resource for color is the Dunes and Duchess design team. They design and fabricate lacquered candelabras, tables, sconces, and lamps in bright colors. And if you’re on a budget, soft cotton throws from India are a fast way to dress up a neutral sofa.”

James Michael Howard, a designer of many notable East End homes:
“I always say that ceilings are among the most overlooked opportunities for designing with color. A ceiling defines a room, binds all its elements together. So if you have neutral walls but you love color, put the color on the ceiling. I’m partial to light blue because I’m from the South–everyone there paints their porches blue because of an old wives’ tale that the color blue keeps birds and bugs away–and where it hits the crown molding, it makes a soft statement. I also like a shiny lacquer blue for its skylike ethereal quality. Sometimes I’ll choose a wall paper with a lacquer finish. I just covered the walls of a library with a faux snakeskin wallpaper that I tinted in multiple shades of spruce-green–a medium-bodied color that looks great at night. I then waxed the paper, which gave it a wonderful richness and luster.”

James McAdam, a designer based in East Hampton, New York City, and the Hudson Valley:
“To add a quick burst of color, I’m big on throw pillows, which I swap out with the seasons. In the summer, pops of red create an inviting feeling and I love the warmth of tartan plaids and navy blues in the winter. If yellow is the dominant color in a living room, you could enhance it with a splash of purple. Similarly, if you have beige walls and white couch, you could accent the room with turquoise pillows. If you paint your house white, you can paint the shutters Federal blue. My favorite color combination is lime green and turquoise. The other day I saw a suede pillow with turquoise-fringed pompoms and I was all over it!”

Phoebe and Belle, 37070 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY, ph.631-765-5120.
James Michael Howard, Inc.,
James McAdam Design,