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Ideas With Impact

A rug is a great foundation for building a color palette, says Interior Designer Lara Michelle.

For more than 20 years, Lara Michelle’s award-winning, full service interior design firm has been creating uniquely beautiful spaces clients adore. We talked to Michelle about how she harmonizes patterns and colors to create an impactful space.

How do color and pattern play an important role in your work? Color and pattern are always central to any designs I create for clients’ homes. It doesn’t matter if the room is all neutrals, or if there are big pops of color. The key is how they are used to bring them together. I love to mix up the patterns in the fabrics, wallpaper, floor coverings and furniture in my designs, as well as mixing flat finishes with high gloss finishes, small patterns with large scale ones. Paying equal attention to walls and floors as well as furniture and window treatments is very important.

Find inspiration with a favorite piece of art.

What advice can you give clients for finding the right color for their home? From decades of experience, I’ve created my easy process for selecting the perfect paint colors. You can read all about it on my design blog at! Start with your personal preferences and any favorites you have. If you have artwork, a photograph from recent travels or items such as a rug or piece of furniture that you want to use in your rooms, that can also provide a starting point. People typically feel safe using neutrals for large surfaces such as walls and then add pops of color in their accessories. Adding an accent wall in a contrasting color is also a good way to venture out.

Do you have different rules for using color and pattern in a small space compared to a large space? Typically a large space can handle more patterns and colors than a smaller space. However, they can look awesome if implemented properly in a small space. No matter the size of the space, the patterns and colors need to work together visually with common elements that tie them together such as similar themes, colors or textures. In smaller spaces, using only one or two patterns can be very impactful.

Lara Michelle:, 914-939-5777

Those timid with color and pattern can start with a few accessories.

Photographs by Chuan Ding

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