From the February/March 2008 Issue:

Designers' Favorite Color Combinations

“When designing a room, what is your favorite color combination right now?”

Article Photo
enlarge | Photo by
Laurie Deliman-Burke, ASID L.D. Burke Designs in Monmouth Beach; 732-229-8200

I am loving black and white combined with a warm, striking color such as coral. I used it in the 2007 Stately Homes-by-the-Sea designer show house in Rumson and got a great response. It’s a feel-good combination. It’s crisp, it’s bold, and it always looks fresh.

Article Photo
enlarge | Photo by Mark Costanzo
Nelson A. Kuperberg, ASID Nelson & Co. in New York City; 212-685-7127 or

Right now my favorite recipe for combining colors is to add a strong accent to a more neutral background. In this living room, I punched black and blue into a butter yellow environment by way of the art, accessories, and piano. The contrast adds excitement and drama. It also keeps the visual focus on the room’s interior rather than drawing it out the windows.

Article Photo
enlarge | Photo by John Armich
Jan Schmidt Dragonfly Interiors in Cape May; 609-884-3200

The answer to this question truly depends on the space to be designed. Factors such as how a room is used and whether the lighting is natural are important considerations. However, the biggest factor is not to be afraid of color! I find one combination suitable for many situations and, while not new, it is pleasing: chocolate and blue. The blue can range from robin’s egg to aqua to teal. When balanced with chocolate brown, the combination is appropriate in many environments and styles of rooms. It can be restful or dramatic depending on the fabrics used and how the walls are treated. The bedroom in this photo is designed for a man, but the colors make the space comfortable, warm, and elegant — suitable for anyone. This palette would work easily in a more casual setting by using a brighter aqua on the walls and chocolate accent pillows on contemporary furnishings.

Article Photo
enlarge | Photo by Andrew Yanuik
Nancee Brown, ASID Nancee Brown Interiors in Summit; 908-608-1366 or

I lean toward warm colors, but each project is unique so I don’t have a formula that I use all the time. In the room pictured, the contemporary setting dictated a neutral backdrop that I injected with punches of color. The fabulous collage on the right was our starting point. I chose a jewel-tone stripe for the chairs on the left to pick up the colors across the room and then highlighted the color combination with an array of brightly toned and textured pillows on the sofa. The deep red pillow is super-soft mohair, the gold-toned mosaic silk picks up all of the colors, and the turquoise lumbar pillow is done in leather, adding real pizzazz!

Article Photo
enlarge | Sketch by Lucille Mauriello
Lucille Mauriello La Bella Casa Designs in Red Bank; 732-530-1632

I love the color combination shown in these fabric samples because it is a natural progression of our current love of browns, this one being less deep, a medium brown. The use of various greens and deep pinks or plums is also a natural progression, but what makes this combination so fresh and exciting is the last color — gold — to balance and round out the palette. - DNJ