Monica Buck


This vibrant shade might conjure up images of lipstick and nail polish, but when used wisely, it's surprisingly sophisticated. We've seen fuchsia for years in Oriental carpets, and it's been prized for centuries in roses, orchids, peonies, and dahlias.

The color is bold, so it's best used in small doses. For impact, try fuchsia in a tablecloth, tableware, or accent pillows. Pair it with neutrals, such as camel or gray, to energize a space. It's probably not the best idea to cover an entire room in fuchsia, but painting one wall will provide a punch. Try it behind a bed or in a niche.



Its good looks and fresh attitude have long made camel a favorite of fashion designers, including Ralph Lauren and the late Bill Blass. Camel packs enough flexibility for subtle and edgy treatments alike.

Strike a balance with colors that pop. You can spice it up with red, or use it to tone down bright orange or electric turquoise accents. Or, paint your walls camel and create subtle contrasts with periwinkle velvets and white linens. At left, a black-lacquer table looks great among ebony chairs upholstered in camel-colored leather (the same way a black turtleneck looks great under a camel-hair coat).

Thibault Jeanson

Chinese Lacquer Red

Ironically, this exotic treatment has inspired us for centuries, yet it feels hip, young, and eternally classic. It has recently crept into our interiors with a vengeance. Even fabrics are taking cues, giving us jazzy alternatives for upholstering furniture.

It's dramatic and exotic in small doses, such as on a coffee table or cabinets, and it feels alluring and intimate when completely covering the walls. Our favorite place to use Chinese lacquer red is in a library, and we like it best when paired with chocolate brown.

Tria Giovan


Turquoise has a cooling effect, figuratively lowering a room's temperature. Fashionable and stylish throughout the year, this smart and flexible color can promote subtle drama or tropical zest.

Add a shot of hot pink, lemon, or chartreuse, and the look is tropical-chic. In velvet or paired with brown or ocher, it's dramatic. Turquoise has recently influenced interior designers with its opaque quality and ability to create impact. Plus, turquoise has good karma -- Native Americans have long praised its spiritual and healing properties.



Tangerine, along with avocado green and mustard yellow, may have gotten a bad rap from overuse in the '70s, but that shouldn't discourage you from using it today. Orange tones have a rare quality that only a few warm colors can match -- everyone looks good in the light they reflect.

One no-fail trick is to pair tangerine with colors found beside it in nature. In spring, orange meshes with fuchsia, persimmon, and lime green. In the fall, it's teamed with red, brown, and gold. Unexpected pairings, such as tangerine with baby blue or jade green, can be equally appealing. If allover orange seems extreme, consider accents -- cushions trimmed with orange piping, or a grouping of citrus-colored vases on a mantel.

Lemon yellow
Pieter Estersohn

Lemon Yellow

For people who love the color but can't wear it, and that's most of us, bright yellow works well as part of your décor. It can be toned down and classic, but when it's bold, yellow wakes up a room.

Lemon yellow creates the illusion of light in rooms with few windows, but it also looks great when natural light makes it appear paler. It's great as an accent on pillows, in upholstery, or in tableware. We love vivid yellows paired with green, black, blue, white, and tobacco brown. We often see this sunny shade in kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

Spring green
Andreas von Einseidel

Spring Green

The subtlety of green tones makes them easy to incorporate into interiors, and they are a timely update for the arrival of warm weather. But the hallmark of spring greens is their ability to harmonize with a range of styles.

Mix greens just as you would in your garden, and then add complementary colors. Cool pastels, such as aqua, pink, and even white, work particularly well. A simple clear vase filled with a cluster of fresh blossoms (we like calla lilies and bells-of-Ireland) lends a jolt of green that effortlessly updates any living space.

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