How to Incorporate Jewel Tones Into Cramped Spaces, According to Local Interior Designers



This article was originally published on Northern Virginia Magazine’s online publication, October 21st, 2022.

Despite the rest of the world’s struggles over the last few years, the luxury market has seen incredible growth. So, it makes sense that jewel tones are trending in interior color and finishes.

If you happen to live in tighter quarters than your average luxury consumer (or if your home has smaller rooms), the question becomes: How do you incorporate these soothing hues without making the space feel like it’s vibrating around you?

Three interior design talents share their expertise on bringing emeralds, sapphires, and rubies into your world in a figurative way. Here’s what they know.

Michelle Troxell, the principal designer at Grace Thomas Interiors, explains how to select paint in a tone like a teal or a plum. Paint, which is about as tricky as wallpaper, is especially complicated when paired with wood trim.

“Jewel tones are typically on the warmer side, so when choosing a wood finish, you want to choose one that provides contrast from the paint color, but doesn’t conflict with the color tone,” says Troxell. “For example, Driftwood is a wood that has strong cool gray undertones…[it’s] not complimentary to a warm rich paint color. With a jewel tone color like teal or plum, you are better off going with a warmer wood that provides a neutral contrast. You do not want to go too warm, though, and pick a wood like cherry. Cherry has a strong red/orange color and that is how a lot of spaces end up looking dated. Recently we have been using white oak in our projects and have been really happy with it.”

As for paint, there are tons on the market, so how do you start to choose something that’s going to last, while still being on trend? “We always stick with Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore. We have found that they have the best quality for our projects,” says Troxell. “If it is a bathroom, we always use the Aura bath and spa matte finish. In other spaces we at a minimum use a matte finish, but often upgrade to an eggshell finish. We like to use eggshell finish in high-traffic areas such as the kitchen or family rooms, because it can be easily cleaned. This finish is great for families with kids and pets. For trim 99 percent of the time, we use a semi-gloss finish. The only time we use high gloss is if the client requests it.”

To view the original article in its entirety, including the great advice from other local designers, click here.