how an interior designer selects colors

Interior design is the key to creating a warm and welcoming space that you love coming home to. Interior designers employ three critical elements to create that feeling – color, light and texture. I’m best known for my work redecorating lobbies and hallways for condo and coop communities in the New York metropolitan area. Of the three elements, for me, color is King. How an interior designer selects colors is a combination of their experience; sensitivity to a client’s wants, needs, and aesthetic; the era in which the building was erected; and the environment surrounding it.

How much and how often a client is exposed to good design people influences their feelings about color. But, geography has a significant impact, as well. From waterfront to suburb, to village, and, of course, urban – our area is filled with many different kinds of environments.

how an interior designer selects colors

Reflecting a geographic location is an essential element in the color palettes we create for our projects. But equally important is the era during which a building was built. The color palette for a pre-war will be much different from that of a white brick from the 60s, for example. How an interior designer in my firm selects colors is based upon customization for each building and its residents. No cookie-cutter design comes out of my office!

What if the board, the design committee, and the residents have conflicting views about color?

That’s one of the first questions we’re asked when I meet with a new client. I’ve developed a tried-and-true approach which is one of the outcomes of many years of being the go-to lobby and hallway designer for coop and condo lobbies and hallways. We listen. We listen to the board, listen to the design committee if there is one, listen to the residents, and even listen to the building staff. Everyone feels they have a voice in these critical decisions. It’s impossible to make perfectly happy, but our approach has been proven repeatedly to reduce friction among stakeholders and easily gain consensus. Plus, residents and staff sometimes present excellent ideas and solutions that a board or committee would never have thought of themselves.

How An Interior Designer Selects Colors

Getting back to color, most of our clients ask for a combination of neutrals as the basis for the color palette for their new hallways or lobbies. “Neutral” once meant just beiges and taupes, but today neutrals are in the greys and grey-green families. If you’ve ever had to select paint colors for your home, you’ll agree that it can be an exercise in futility. You’re at the paint store, where you see literally hundreds of shades of every color imaginable. You fall in love with a color and bring home a paint chip. Or even buy a sample can and apply it to a small area in the room. All’s great until you paint the entire room and, to your dismay, realize the color looks a lot different than what you had envisioned.

That’s why so many people choose an interior designer to select colors. And, it’s where design talent comes into play. When an interior designer selects colors, we’re looking to create the mood every person who walks into the space will feel. That requires expertise.

If you’re in charge of a large project or just painting the entire interior of your home, it’s wise to bring in a professional interior designer to help you select colors. At my firm, we rely on our color experience to create lobbies and hallways that make everyone happy. It requires knowledge, expertise, patience, and, especially, listening.

My job is challenging – but it’s gratifying. My work increases the value of my clients’ properties and makes them feel good every time they come home. When I observe the looks on their faces when they first walk into their finished lobby or hallways, my heart just sings.

Check out our projects gallery here.

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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