How to Decorate Your Home Like It’s an Art Gallery

by KELLY PHILLIPS BADAL

Living Color

Kaleidoscope wallpaper, colorful lacquered furniture, hip-hop lyrics made into artwork: For Paul and Mikaela Hayama, these design details work harmoniously in their custom-built modern home. “A monochromatic, neutral, soft palette was an absolute no-no for me,” says Mikaela, a legal-operations director and mother of two in Manhattan Beach, California. “With young kids, we wanted our home to feel energetic and alive. It just made sense to embrace big bold colors and textures.” To pull off this overachieving color agenda, the couple teamed up with architect Jonathan Starr of Starr Design Group and interior designer Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design and promptly let loose with some daring decor decisions. “Our whole idea was to go modern but approachable, livable, and warm,” says Paul, a partner at a private debt firm. “It’s not the easiest combination.”

Set the Tone

With a palette of pink, turquoise, purple, black (and more) drawn from a 1970s abstract painting Murray found at 1stdibs, the 4,100-square-foot house now teases its sense of style right from the get-go. Step inside and an electric-blue entryway acts as a backdrop to a vignette that includes an oversize mirror, a console desk, and two magenta twisted-cube chairs by Frank Gehry.

Balance Your Colors

Few spaces in the house embrace vivid hues edge to edge. Most of the walls are white—though in the case of an upstairs recreational room, mint accents accompany the clean blank backdrops. The neutral tones are a deliberate choice to help vibrant art and furniture pop and avoid clashes. “A common misconception is that if you like color, you shouldn’t paint your walls white; you should paint them blue, red, or whatever—but it’s completely the opposite,” insists Murray. “Paint your walls white, like an art gallery. Color needs to be incorporated in a balanced way. After all, you don’t want your home looking like a box of Crayolas.”

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