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Color at the Kips Bay Showhouse 2017
By Marcie Cooperman on Jun, 16 2017

Credit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times<br />
Designers:  Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli FordCredit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times
Designers:  Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford


The Kips Bay Showhouse is always a harbinger of color and design trends to come, as it is a compendium of the top designers of our society.  Those honored with a space demonstrate their skills and current design mood.

Even with diversity in personality and thought process, inspired by such varied muses and themes, it’s amazing that color themes still unite many of the rooms.  It’s similar to the way fashion designers seem to be on the same wavelength in terms of color and pattern in any particular season.

What’s trending at Kips Bay this year?  Spots of real true color, nested in rooms of soft natural hues, akin to color blocking in FW2017 fashion.  This saturated color tends to be on a single piece of furniture, like a sofa or bench, or reserved for a work of art above the sofa.  It glows but never screams, because the surrounding hues, values and intensities softly support it.

Metallics gold and bronze play a secondary role corresponding to our gold shoes this year.  In the cover image, the purple sofa is the star in Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford’s living room, complemented by warm champagne and gold elements.  A blue chair adds analogous harmony.

Outside of Kips Bay, Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford use purple in another living room, made softer than Kips Bay with the feminine pink and whites balanced by espresso wood paneling covering the walls.  There’s plenty of gold here, too.

Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli FordKirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford


Dineen Architecture and Design reserves color excitement for the glass plate above the sofa, against monochromatic walls, floors and furnishings.  The metallics in the table and sculptures dress it up.

Credit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times<br />
Dineen Architecture and DesignCredit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times Dineen Architecture and Design


Lauren Kruegel and Ross Alexander also keep the saturated color to just one piece of furniture – the green sofa.  But their neutrals are decidedly darker, with the matte mahogany paneled walls and fireplace, and shiny black baby grand.  Whites convey light – the chair, the column with vase, the rug, tulips, and the photo’s white mat.

Credit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times<br />
Lauren Kruegel and Ross AlexanderCredit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times Lauren Kruegel and Ross Alexander


Lichten Craig forgoes saturated hues with dark walls and floors, lightened by the high value carpet, chairs and lampshade.  Again, the picture’s white mat is a crucial light on the walls.

Credit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times Lichten CraigCredit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times
Lichten Craig


Neal Beckstedt demonstrates warmth with orange, situated among low intensity versions of the hue on the walls and furniture, balanced by the patterned carpet.

Credit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times<br />
Neal BeckstedtCredit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times
Neal Beckstedt


Nick Olsen likes middle values, neutral in hue, with a pop of red in the cushion on the dark sofa.

Credit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times<br />
Nick OlsenCredit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times
Nick Olsen


Robert Stilin’s living room also places the red cushion on a dark sofa, amid the purple chair and carpet; but contrasted by the high value walls and art.

Credit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times<br />
Robert StilinCredit:  Danny Ghitis for The New York Times
Robert Stilin


Good color use wins, in fashion or interior design.  Value and intensity contrasts always characterize the best designs and make a room livable and fun.


Feel free to check out my textbook called Color: How to Use It by Marcie Cooperman, published by Pearson.

Color and how to use it