Aqua and Coral with a Dash of Chinoiserie

Aqua and Coral-CR Laine
CR Laine Showroom

I recently returned from North Carolina’s High Point Market, the world’s largest furnishings trade show, where interior designers and furniture dealers flock twice a year to see the latest introductions and catch emerging trends as they unfold.

Aqua and Coral-CR Laine
CR Laine Showroom

At the Spring 2014 market, aqua and coral seemed to be one of the most prolific color combinations — especially when paired with a touch of chinoiserie. Complementary colors that sit on opposite ends of the color wheel, aqua and coral tend to be more dynamic and appealing to the eye because they have a certain tension between them — a push/pull effect that keeps the eye moving around the room. When chinoiserie is added into the mix (even if it’s just a touch), the room is not only dynamic, it takes on a more exotic flair.

Aqua and Coral Thibaut-Enchantment Collection
image courtesy of Thibaut
Lillian August
Lillian August
Aqua and Coral-Century
Century Furniture

Figuring out how much of this combination to use without going overboard can be a bit daunting. So here are a few tips to help you incorporate this fresh new look in your home.

1.  Use a bold, contrasting print against a softer, paler background. Pale aqua has been a popular color lately, both in the home and in fashion. (Pale Aqua appeared to be the color of choice at this year’s Academy Awards and Breath of Fresh Air, another pale aqua is Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year.) However, when used alone in interiors, it can sometimes look a bit washed out. If you add in saturated accents in coral (its complementary color) and — even better — in a bold geometric pattern, the result is anything but boring.

Aqua and coral Sunbrella
Sunbrella via Houzz
Designer Tobi Fairley has been known to use aqua and coral in many of the spaces she designs. The bold, Asian-inspired trellis print in coral, complimented by the orange tulips, book and pillow, give this room the visual pop it needs to stand out. As you can see, Tobi is a genius at styling her spaces with color!
Tobi Fairley via Houzz
Tobi Fairley via Houzz
2.  Use a multicolor print that also includes aqua and coral. If you don’t want to stick to an aqua and coral color palette exclusively, consider incorporating a print that contains several colors,including aqua and coral. Pull from the other accent colors to introduce another hue into the room.
Annsley Interiors via Houzz
One of my favorites is Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon print, a perennial that’s beloved by many designers. The print was derived from a 1920s art deco block print, and has long been associated with stylish interiors.
Color Drunk Designs, Photography by Iran Watson
3.  Use bright and saturated aqua and coral to introduce a more whimsical feeling. Porcelain figurines in a saturated coral and a lamp with a glossy black shade are added to this colorful selection for a fresh, contemporary take on chinoiserie.
Betsy Burnham via Houzz
4.  Add some vibrant accessories in aqua and coral. Add color and visual interest to a neutral room with aqua and coral accessories, and watch the space come alive. This pair of bright and bold porcelain lamps are combined with contrasting  and equally as vibrant upholstered stools, offering the perfect accent to this neutral, Asian-inspired, somewhat traditional entry hall.
5.  Use traditional elements in a nontraditional way. Just a dash of aqua and coral was added to this neutral (almost sterile) gray and white space. The porcelain animal heads add a whimsical touch that resembles traditional Blanc de Chine porcelain, but depict subjects that are anything but traditional. The wallpaper lining the bookcase, from Thibaut’s Shangri-La Collection, adds an element of traditional chinoiserie, but in a nontraditional color palette. The result is fun, fresh and youthful.
Aqua, Coral and Chinoiserie by Refined LLC
Refined LLC via Houzz
Aqua and coral mixed with an element of Chinoiserie is so fresh and inspiring – I’m definitely a fan!

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