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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
3. Use bright and saturated aqua and coral to introduce a more whimsical feeling. Porcelain figurines in a saturated coraland a lamp with a glossy black shade are added to this colorful selection for a fresh, contemporary take on chinoiserie.
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 boldporcelain lampsare 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 and coral mixed with an element of Chinoiserie is so fresh and inspiring – I’m definitely a fan!
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