Monday, September 9, 2013

Home Decor: Five Questions with Top Designers

Spotlight on: Kate Smith of Sensational Color

1) What is your personal design style at home?
Over the years my design style has evolved from a mix of treasured pieces that each told a story through color and styles to where it is now. Streamlined, clean, nature-based colors and elements punctuated by color. As my inner world has become more calm and grace-filled so has my environment.

2) How do you interpret Color it based on preference or objective?
I uncover my client’s style through a combination of looking and listening. I find that most people have a good idea in mind but don’t know how to articulate it in design and color. My goal is to get “the beautiful vision they have in their mind and have it show up in their home.” By becoming good at listening actively as they, I often intuitively see what they see in their mind before they even show me the first inspiration piece or room image.

3) What are the most important factors in assessing a Color Strategy?
Balance. As humans we are always seeking balance both consciously and subconsciously. This carries into design and color. Think about how varying amounts and types of color -- warm and cool, light and dark, dull and intense – can create harmony or discord.  It is the characteristics of the color even more than the specific colors that I focus on to create a successful
color strategy.

4) In addition to Sensational Color...What inspires you?
Art! I enjoy simply being in the presence of great art and have spent many hours sitting in a museum soaking up my surroundings. I also enjoy creating art, which for me is a very intimate dialog between the world I see and how I see the world. I create to understand and see not so show or sell.

My love of color and my color-sense ability has always been primarily informed by art. All of the colorist I admire most are either wonderful artist in his or her own right or ardent admirers of art.

Making a few dozen color decisions for a 9’ x 12’ space becomes much easier once you have seen, studied and been inspired by the thousands of color decisions a fine artist has made in creating a 9” x 12” painting. 

5) Can you provide a simple color tip that we can implement right away?
Up the sizzle or sophistication in any design by standing back and checking to see that you have value contrast and balance. 

Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color. One of the mistakes people make is to use colors that are too similar in value when trying to create distinctive spaces. A common mistake is too try to match your colors too closely rather than layering slightly different tones and shades from the same color family, which is much more interesting to the eye.

Color or value contrast gives a room more definition and formality but even a space that uses softer colors to create a soothing environment benefits from adding contrast and making sure it is balanced in a very natural way.

Keep the majority of darker hues lower in the room, the mid-tones in the middle and lighter colors higher. This duplicates the way we are used to seeing color in nature and there is a comfort in that familiarity. The natural balance adds to the soothing qualities of low-key colors. 

Contact Kate Smith of Sensational Color at (631) 630-6263 or via email at Visit our website at or

No comments:

Post a Comment