Study in Contrast

habitat1008-powder room

Bright colors aren’t the only way to enliven a drab room. Interior designer Jessica Helgerson chose white paint and ebony-stained floors for the main portion of the Zahoudanis residence. Throughout the home, dark browns, grays, and blacks, which are juxtaposed against pale tints, create a feeling of energy and verve. In the powder room, black paint on the ceiling makes the closet-size space feel more expansive (as a rule, dark colors appear to recede from view), while bold patterned wallpaper turns a primping spot into a forest frolic.

Bright colors aren’t the only way to enliven a drab room.

habitat1008-stairs

Slate-gray paint transforms a stair landing into a focal point, and also puts the geometric pattern of a white-painted banister in sharp relief. So next time you redecorate, instead of berating yourself for liking brown, just consider upping the cocoa content.

“I like a high-contrast space,” says interior designer Jessica Helgerson, who chose white paint and ebony-stained floors for the main portion of the Zahoudanis residence. “People tend to go for beige, thinking it’s light and safe. It’s much more vibrant to have dark and light, next to each other.”

Throughout the home, dark browns, grays, and blacks, which are juxtaposed against pale tints, create a feeling of energy and verve. In the powder room (above), black paint on the ceiling makes the closet-size space feel more expansive (as a rule, dark colors appear to recede from view), while bold patterned wallpaper turns a primping spot into a forest frolic. Floor-to-ceiling chocolate-brown drapery on the wall behind the headboard endows the master bedroom with a feeling of drama. And slate-gray paint transforms a stair landing (left) into a focal point—and also puts the geometric pattern of a white-painted banister in sharp relief. So next time you redecorate, instead of berating yourself for liking brown, just consider upping the cocoa content.