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How to Decorate With Color
MEET THE DESIGNER
When it comes to color, interior designer Katie McCaffrey is neither shy nor unrestrained, but purposeful—consciously incorporating bold pops of color just where they count. As principal of Bay Area–based Angus McCaffrey Design, she designs artful and timeless interiors ranging from private homes to offices to wineries, adding flashes of color in furniture, textiles, accents, art, and even tile and paint. Her work has been widely published and recently featured in House Beautiful, Luxe Magazine, and SF Cottages + Gardens. Read on for a few tips from Katie on integrating color into your interiors.
A Colorful Sofa Considering a neutral sofa? Katie suggests you reconsider. “I love a brightly colored statement sofa,” she says. “It can be the star of the room.” Look for something with clean lines and not a lot of fuss, the designer advises. “Let the color do the work and accent the sculptural quality of the sofa.” If you have kids or pets, “veer toward a mid-tone such as emerald green or magenta,” which tend to hide stains better.
A Bold Accent Chair Can’t commit to a statement sofa? A bold accent chair might be your gateway—but it’s not just about an eye-catching design and fabric. “It has to have beautiful lines but not at the expense of comfort,” Katie says. “While an ugly chair will bring down a whole room, there is nothing worse than one that’s uncomfortable.” McCaffrey also advises considering the lines in the room: “If the sofa is more linear, select more curvy chairs and vice versa.”
A Brightly Colored Lamp Every room in the house can handle a brightly colored lamp, but with so many options, where do you begin? Hand-glazed ceramic lamps are a favorite, the designer tells us. “The glazes can be so rich and the subtle variations in color and texture add tremendous depth.” She’s also a lifelong fan of versatile shades like “watery blues and greens,” as well as metallic-glazed finishes in silver or gold. “They add such wonderful sparkle and pop to the room.”
A Few Vibrant Throw Pillows There is an art and a science to selecting and pairing throw pillows, and Katie McCaffrey certainly has it down. “We love color blocking with solid colored pillows,” she says. “Choose two colors which harmonize yet contrast from the sofa or chair—make it pop!” When mixing patterns, it’s all about scale: “Pair a small patterned pillow with a larger patterned pillow, or combine textural pillows with smooth ones. Don’t forget to mix sizes, too!”
Multi-Colored Bedding We love an all-white bed, but there’s a time and a place for color, too! “I prefer to use simple and timeless bedding infused with pops of color and pattern through pillows and throws,” McCaffrey says. “This makes it easier to change out the look seasonally or replace them should you tire of them.” For everyday bedrooms, the designer gravitates toward more serene bedding, and she gets “a little more wild in guest bedrooms that are for occasional use.”