10 Sensational Renovations That Aren’t Shy With Color

These vibrant homes prove that getting creative with daring paint shades and details can go a long way when updating your space.
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Color can play an important role in conveying information, impacting moods, and even influencing decisions that people make. It can also significantly alter the atmosphere within a space. Bright colors, for example, have the ability to make a cramped area feel more expansive, while dark and warm shades often create a more intimate, cozy environment. From San Francisco to Sydney, these whimsical homes use bold colors to overhaul and amplify the interior experience.

A Fresh Dose of Color Livens Up This Midcentury Los Angeles Home

Filmmaker Laura Purdy worked with architect Linda Taalman and landscape designer Laura Cooper on the renovation of her family home in Los Angeles (with input from Purdy’s husband, Juan Devis, and Taalman’s husband and former codirector at Taalman Koch Architecture, Alan Koch). The resulting design incorporates the owners’ eclectic collection of art and personal artifacts, as well as jungly plantings that evoke the tropical atmosphere of Devis’s native Latin America. In the living room, pink-and-yellow stucco walls—painted with the American Cheese and Blushing Bride colors by Benjamin Moore—were inspired by architect Luis Barragán’s Mexican modernism.

The eponymous founder and principal of Michael K. Chen Architecture resuscitated a four-story, 3,600-square-foot home in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood that had been abandoned for 20 years. The newest owners of the home—which was originally built in 1895—were inspired by the playful color palette that was still apparent underneath the building’s decay. "We had epic color palette meetings, looking at deck after deck for paint colors that spoke to us or provoked a particular sensation," says Chen. "You don’t look at the color, you inhabit it," he continues. 

San Francisco couple Jim and Noriko hired acclaimed architect Anne Fougeron, founder of the eponymous local firm, to reimagine their 1901 row house in Noe Valley within the confines of historical preservation mandates. The architect tied the three levels of the 1,540-square-foot dwelling together with a perforated-steel staircase in Benjamin Moore’s Flame color. The geometric, tomato-red stairs emphasize the home’s verticality and open up what had previously been a dark interior with low ceilings.

In the beachside Sydney suburb of Cronulla, a split-story midcentury residence was reborn with dynamic wall art and pops of color. Sydney-based interior architect Yasmine Ghoniem and artist Sonia van de Haar worked closely with the owner, Harry Kapoulas, and his wife, Boel, to renovate the 2,690-square-foot home in a way that reflects the couple’s upbeat personalities. Throughout the interior, van de Haar’s abstract murals display shapes and lines that were loosely inspired by aerial photographs of the surrounding terrain.

For the ground-floor renovation of their Victorian terrace in London, homeowners Tamsen Chislett and Max Lines told the architects at Office S&M that they weren’t to use gray whatsoever. The resulting interiors evoke the playful approach of the 1980s Italian design collective, the Memphis Group. "The name of the project, MO-TEL, is linked to this sense of escapism," says Office S&M cofounder Catrina Stewart. "The couple wanted the space to make them feel like they were on holiday," she continues. The vibrant color scheme was also intended to give the space more depth and dimension. "We see color as a kind of building material that is as important as bricks and mortar," says Stewart. "It can also be incredibly economical—the cheapest thing you can do to transform a space is to paint it."

Barcelona-based firm Colombo and Serboli Architecture (CaSA) renovated this 700-square-foot apartment in Born—the city’s oldest neighborhood—for a young Italian woman working in the fashion industry. The outdated unit had good bones, but it was extremely dark due to its original layout. Now, colorful built-in cabinets provide ample storage throughout the renovated home. The kitchen features a recurring arc motif: The coral-colored volume even hides a powder room near the island, which is made from a pink terrazzo-like quartz. 

When the owners of this 1920s apartment in Stockholm’s Södermalm neighborhood called upon local architect David Lookofsky to revive their 850-square-foot unit, they tasked the founder of the eponymous firm with incorporating more storage into the compact space. In response, Lookofsky created a 23-foot-long kitchen wall with built-in cabinetry and a seating nook near a central island—all of which are clad in a bright, egg-yolk yellow. "In smaller apartments, kitchens often become a kind of social hub, both in everyday life or when you have people visiting," says Lookofsky. "You want these spaces to reflect the people who use them and support interactions," he continues.

ROAR Architects updated a former women’s refuge in London’s Kentish Town Conservation Area into two interconnected flats for a brother-and-sister duo. Housed in a historic Victorian, each of the flats have their own entrance. The interiors are also differentiated by distinct color palettes and materials, which the architects carefully selected to reflect the personality of each sibling. 

Ukrainian interior designer Daria Zinovatnaya put her dynamic spin on a 807-square-foot apartment in Oslo, Norway, through thoughtful and adventurous experimentation with shades and shapes. "The inspiration came to me when I studied the work of Le Corbusier," says Zinovatnaya, who had researched works by the acclaimed designer during the year she worked on the apartment. 

British interior design duo Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe of 2LG Studio came up with their signature "lipstick" for doors when they decorated their own home. "The pink feels right in our home as our hallway was painted this color when we first bought the house," the couple write in their book, Making Living Lovely (Thames & Hudson, 2020), which gives readers the tools to style their own homes, as well as insight into the 2LG Studio design process.


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