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Ways Create a Color Palette

If you’ve been searching high and low for the perfect palette for your house, chances are red is the answer. Or should we say, Miles Redd, the Manhattan-based interior designer who is known for wildly stylish color combinations that give rooms an elegant charisma homeowners can only dream of creating on their own. Until now. AD caught up with Redd to find out the secrets to creating color schemes that stir the senses—and found his advice to be every bit as nuanced and witty as his designs.

Look outside for inspiration

Take a tip from Redd and let the outdoors guide you. “Leopard always works, a bit of blue always works, things that you find in nature always work,” says Redd. “Our creator knew what worked, which is why he made the sky blue and white!”

Expand on the classics

Before you try for adventurous, start with what you know: Pick a classic color combination and add in some Redd-style flair. “Blue and white works with everything,” the designer says. “So toss in an accent color, like butter-yellow or shocking pink, to throw it off a bit.”

Incorporate some yellow

Though many people are nervous to bring this controversial color into their homes, Redd wields it like a powerful talisman, as seen here in a stunning Houston residence. If you’re not ready to commit at a macro level, try his advice for starting small. “Paint a door yellow or a chest,” he says. “A yellow pillow can also do the trick—sometimes small bursts of color can be better.”

Try non-neutral furniture

Eye-catching furnishings are a hallmark of Redd’s work. But, as one might expect, there’s an art to choosing what you go bright with. “Furniture with rococo lines in fanciful colors looks forced,” he says. “You can get away with a bright color on something simple with severe lines, because it has room in its severity. But if something is already bold, you probably should go the other direction, and opt to tone it down. We don’t want to gild the lily.”

Take a page from Redd’s book

The hue-master’s tome, The Big Book of Chic, is filled with extravagantly beautiful rooms featuring some of his favorite unexpected color pairings. Want to try some in your own home? Redd recommends the following: pale brownish pink and daffodil-yellow; mossy green and peacock-blue; pale lilac with cobalt and feather-gray. Start with one of these combinations, and you’ll be on your way to Redd levels of chic.

When choosing wall colors, think big

Big as in entire-house big. “Look at the whole picture first: Is a red room going to feel good coming off your ecru hallway?” he says. “Color can be exhilarating and transporting, but it helps to have a road map of the house and make sure the colors work well off each other.” Which means thinking small as well. “Don’t be afraid to paint your trim the same color as your walls. Red rooms with cream trim don’t always work.”