How do we know our client will like the colors we choose for their home? Asking “What are your favorite colors?” is a starting point, sure, but that’s not the end of the story. And simply using their favorite colors isn’t going to guarantee a pleasing space.


A current client, a quiet man, surprised me at an early consultation with his collection of big, colorful paintings. Bingo! A look at what artwork a client loves—a cherished painting handed down from a relative, a recent purchase at an art fair, or a graphic posted on a Pinterest board—can tell you a lot about who a client is and what colors (and styles) are best for their personal design.


Color Cues Lori Wiles Design


Taking our cue from his paintings, we’re designing this client’s rooms with bright colors. But rather than mimic the floral femininity of the paintings, we’re combining those colors with masculine design. We’re incorporating the paintings he loves, but we’re also contributing our own artwork, and we’re using the bright colors that make his heart sing in furnishings like curtains.


Some of the light fixtures that delight him are also staying. Combining old and new is always a fun option!


color cues lamp lori wiles design


A good dose of color theory also comes into play. Understanding how colors work together and how their temperatures affect the space are important considerations. In this instance, all that bold color needs some balance, as well as some white space to be impactful.


And we’re balancing the temperatures of the colors, too. If most of the colors in a space are warm (relaxing and inviting), for example, you’ll likely want to add something cool for balance. If most of the colors in a space are cool, it might be relaxing, but it won’t be terribly inviting— until you add a bit of warm color.


Of course, we also gather input from the client every step of the way, developing a good, trusting relationship (and some long-lasting friendships) as we go. The result is a finished space that our client loves, whether he prefers bright, bold colors or subtle, muted ones.


My favorite color? Red! What’s your favorite color and how have you included it in your home?