Q&A: Will Taylor on colorful rooms

Will Taylor
Aug 30, 2018

Will Taylor of Bright.Bazaar is known for his colorful "make-you-smile" style. Originally from London, Will is now a New Yorker who is full of ideas for bright, energizing rooms. He has two best selling design books and is a lifestyle blogger also known for his engaging Instagram posts. Will has a new home furnishings collection for Grandin Road and has worked with brands such as Target, Valspar and West Elm.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. She and weekly guests, whether Martha Stewart, the Property Brothers or Nate Berkus, answer your decorating and design questions. Jura is always happy to whip out her paint chips, track down a hard-to-find piece of furniture or offer her seasoned advice on practical living and decluttering. For more than 15 years, Home Front has been an online conversation about the best way to make your home comfortable, stylish and fun. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and gripes. No problem is too big or too small, send them over.

Will Taylor of Bright.Bazaar is known for his colorful "make-you-smile" style. He truly believes beige is boring. Originally from London, Will is now a New Yorker who is full of ideas for evocative, energizing rooms. He has two best selling design books and is a lifestyle blogger also known for his engaging Instagram posts that highlight his travels. Will has a new home furnishings collection for Grandin Road and has worked with brands such as Target, Valspar and West Elm. Let's chat.

Hey there,

My name is Will and I'm delighted to be here to answer questions today. Thank you to the Washington Post and Jura for hosting! I live in New York City and work as an interior design author, blogger and content creator. Alongside a love of design, I have a healthy obsession for Poodles and Italian Greyhounds so if you ever see me at the dog park freaking out over your dog, now you know why! :)

Thanks for taking my question. I just purchased a condo that faces west, and the bedroom is ground level. I'm considering painting my bedroom Ben Moore Palladian blue, or a slightly grey-tone blue. My last bedroom was sunny with skylights, and was Catalina Blue. Thoughts on Palladian blue in this case - or other recommended alternative blue shades to look at? Thank you.

Congratulations on your new condo! I love that you asked this because blue-grey colors are my favorite - they remind me of Scandinavian interiors. Have you considered leaning into a richer blue that leans more into the grey spectrum? Something richer would read warmer than Palladian Blue, which could feel cold. I'd suggest trying BM Alfresco or BM Cape Blue, or any shades close to those. Good luck!

Hi! I love my house but I don't have the the biggest budget!! any advice on where you think I should spend money and where is good to save?

Great question - I love to mix high and low. I always think it's best to think carefully and invest in things that aren't easy to change. For example, pendant lighting, tile work, floors and so on. These are things you can't just switch out and usually require a professional to help with. To be honest, I don't think it's worth spending $300 on a throw pillow when brands such as H&M Home, Target etc. offer fantastic options (that often look better IMHO) for as little as $10. That $300 would be much better invested in a statement pendant light that you'll love year on year and is far more likely to bring a 'wow' factor to your space vs. a pillow. 

What considerations do you take into account when deciding which color scheme to use in a room? Do you believe that you need to paint the bedroom a peaceful hue, etc.?

First of, remember that picking a color scheme is personal. Don't be swayed by a magazine telling you a color is 'out' or 'in'. Then, look at how natural light comes into the room throughout the day, as well as your furniture placements/options. I like to paint color samples on boards so that I can move them around the space to see how the color looks in the dark corners vs. the brighter spots - you'll be amazed how different the color looks. As for peaceful hues... well, this can be subjective. What one finds peaceful another may not. I think a bedrooms can work in bold hues as much as they can in softer ones. For example, a rich navy bedroom can feel wonderfully cocooning. If you are worried about going all out with a darker, bolder color in the bedroom, why not just paint 2/3rds of the way up the wall and keep the ceiling and final 1/3rd white - it's a great way to keep the space feeling 'open'.

HI, I have a center hall colonial, and the stairs currently have a runner from Dash and Albert. The treads themselves are painted white, which is now dirty and scuffed. The paint seemed flat, which doesn't appear to be a good idea? I'd like to repaint, pulling a taupe color out of the runner. What kind of paint is recommended? Oil? Latex? And what kind of finish? Thanks!

I always like to speak to my local paint store when I pick paint for specific spaces such as this (those folks have a wealth of knowledge!). That being said, you definitely want to avoid a flat or matte paint for the stairs. A high quality enamel trim paint is likely to much more durable.

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Hi Will! I love following your beach house renovations on Instagram! You use such beautiful colors. What is next for you at the beach house?

Thank you so much for following along! We recently finished the interior renovations but still have some final decorating touches to do. This summer we turned our focus to the exterior of the property (as you may have seen on Instagram!). Working on the landscaping was a whole knew challenge for us because it's the first time we've had our own yard. So far we've put in a pool and the surrounding masonry. Now, we're working on the re-doing the lawn and adding flower beds and hedging. We're also adding a reclaimed brick stoop to the front door. I'll be revealing the finished pool on Instagram soon. In the meantime, there's a highlight called 'POOL BUILD' on my Instagram Bio if anyone reading is interested and would like to see the process to date.

Do you have a piece of furniture you're not sure is worth reupholstering? Read my saga with a little $35 vintage yellow chair as I explore the options to recover it or dump it for a new one. Here's a link to the article.

We just redid a small bathroom and hub did it all in white. I think we need color somewhere. We haven't done the vanity/sink yet, and I don't know if I can persuade him against white for those anyway, but do you have a suggestion? I think warm-dark natural wood? (House is an old farmhouse.) Painting over the white walls is also at least in the mix of possibilities.

If you and your other half are butting heads when it comes to adding color, how about taking a monochromatic approach instead? Adding black to contrast with the white would be a great way to add some visual 'punch' to the space. As you haven't installed the vanity yet, perhaps you could go for a black granite vanity? Or, for a modern farmhouse look go for a white or pale grey vanity and then add in a matte black faucet as a statement 'pop'. Moen carry a great option.

Love your Instagram feed and been following you for a long time, any advice on how to grow my following how should I take pictures?

First of all, thank you for following along! The best way to grow your following is consistency. Look at the stats in the backend of the app to see when most of your followers are online, and then be sure to post during those timeframes. Then, stick to it. Get into a posting rhythm so that your audience get used to seeing your content at the same times of day. Also, be sure to respond to as many comments and questions as you can so that you're audience feel part of the community. When it comes to the picture style or aesthetic there's no right or wrong but it is important to be cohesive. Just like a regular magazine reader or TV show viewer knows what to expect in terms of their favorite features or segments, you want to build up that level of recognition from your followers when it comes to your pictures. That way, they'll start to see your pictures and know that you posted them before they even see your name.

I feel like most design magazines feature rooms that are largely neutral with a few pops of color. I'm not a huge fan of this for my own home and prefer lots of color. My home was built in 1951. I have almost exclusively vintage MCM furniture and aim for an atomic ranch vibe. The main spaces feature green walls, turquoise upholstery, orange patterned drapes and darker wood tones. It's a bold mix but I absolutely adore it. I'm struggling to find complimentary wall art because I already have so much color in the space and don't want it to look to cartoon-y. Can you suggest any resources to help me find appropriate art?

Well, your home sounds nothing short of fabulous! Three of my favorite sources for art are: Minted (who offer a vast and eclectic range of art by independent artists); One Kings Lane (great photographic, vintage and original pieces); Saatchi Art (a nice mix of price points and some great classics, too).

We’re considering to replace or family room sofa with a leather one. Thoughts on leather? Please note that we have a 9 year old mess-generator at home... thanks

Personally, I'm not big into leather sofas because I find them to be cold, especially at the more affordable price points. Lots of brands now offer upholstered options with washable and removable covers that can be washed (IKEA, Pottery Barn, grandinroad) and I believe that Pottery Barn now even offer stain resistance fabrics, too. 

Hi Will - I want to change my house so that in fall it feels cosy and then in spring is feels fresh but my friends think I am crazy to change the decor so often - what do you think and also how can you do this without having to buy all new furniture??

Totally OK to change your decor whenever you wish to do so. I also decorate seasonally. Not in every home, of course, but in some. I often repaint a room for a new season because paint is a relatively affordable way to bring a new vibe to a room. The best way to make a room flexible is to invest in classic, clean fundamental pieces - furniture, flooring etc. I love Scandinavian design because it's effortlessly simple and stylish. Clean lines and pale woods mean I can work the pieces with fresh, light colors for spring or contrast them with deeper, darker hues for fall and winter.

What do you think of dark navy walls in a living room or den? What navy paint colors do you recommend?

I love that idea. Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy is gorgeous, as is the deep and rich tone of their Gentleman's Gray. I also love Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue is gorgeous.

My young daughter would like a purple bedroom. Can you suggest a shade that will grow with her?

Farrow & Ball 'Pelt' is a beautifully rich and warm purple that doesn't date or look too juvenile. Benjamin Moore's Purple Lotus is another good option, too.

Hi Will! We have a new beach house that we painted neural SW Accessibke gray as we didn’t have any furniture! We did paint guest bathroom SW Tradewinds off loft area...I’m not so crazy about that. I’ve added rattan baskets and glass vase with shells to help! Am I overthinking this paint color or do you have any suggestions? My powder room is SWMarea Baja...love it! Thx!!!! Di

Congrats on the new beach house! I don't think you are overthinking the colors at all. Smart move to add some textures (such as the rattan etc.) to bring warmth and tactility to the cooler blue-grey shades. Have you considered accenting the Marea Baja with a bold pop of rich orange? Just a little splash could go a long way to adding some wow factor to the blue!

I'm a single woman who is not planning to move for 15-20 years, so I want to paint my bedroom lavender, actually a grayish lavender color. The window frames are daffodil yellow, and I'd like to keep that. Can you recommend a color?

Yes! Two choices: Farrow & Ball Brassica (slightly more lavender than grey) or F&B Calluna (more gray but has a subtle lavender undertone).

What’s your opinion on reconciling style preferences? For example, I love clean, neutral, minimalist spaces, but I also love more bohemian, eclectic, and (wildly) colorful spaces. I love New England charm, but my Arizona roots render a mild southwest influence, and I’m really loving mid-century modern at the moment. I also love a little rustic/farmhouse on occasion. As you can imagine, I’m going to have a difficult time decorating my first home (I’m currently in an apartment post-grad school) - do you ever suffer similarly? If so, how do you satisfy each of your varying tastes?

Yes, I absolutely suffer form this! As a lover of design I am always seeing new spaces and pieces that I love. The way I work through this is to invest in pieces that I consistently love (which, for me, is clean Scandinavian design) and then I marry those pieces with more transitional items. So sometimes my spaces might be Scandic-Modern, sometimes they are Scandi-Coastal, sometimes they are Scandi-Industrial. By keeping one red thread that flows throughout all your spaces means there's some level of consistency to your style and home. My advice would be to pick your favorite style and then use that as a base to fuse with other styles as your taste and mood takes you.

What's your advice for color in a smallish den that really gets no sunlight. I'd like to use it as an office but I worry about it being depressing with no natural light. Thanks!

My advice in this kind of space would be keep everything white apart from the trim and the door. For those, go really bold. A bright red or green so that it really sings but also doesn't close the space in. I'm all for going dark all over in smaller spaces bit if there's no light at all and you plan to work vs. rest in there, I think the approach I outlined above would work better.

Gorgeous BM paint color that we used in a bedroom, pairs well with turquoise or almost any shade of green.

Good choice!

Thank you Will. We'll be watching your Instagram to see where you travel next and what ideas you bring back. Next week our topic will be downsizing. Lots to discuss here with designer Carol Sheridan. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.

I have bene following your blog for a long time and love all your pictures especially on Instagram. I find it really hard to choose paint colors can you offer any advice on where to start, as I always feel there are so many choices?

Thanks for following along! My advice for finding colors you love is to look at other aspects of your life where you make color choices without, probably, even realizing you are doing so. Look through your closet to see the pattern in colors of clothes you buy, look at the packaging you are drawn to when you shop in the grocery store, scroll through your 'saved' pictures on Instagram to see if there's a pattern in the colors of spaces and places you are saving. I often find most people are naturally drawn to certain colors over others but they just don't realize they are until they purposely look for the patterns/color decisions they are making day-to-day. Good luck!

Is it true you should buy a rug you love as the first item in a room and take your color choices from there?

It doesn't have to be a rug that you start with - it could be a piece of art, or a pillow, a vase... anything, really! However, you are right that it's great to have a piece you love that can be the starting point to build out a space from. Having a reference point for color, pattern, texture etc. helps when you are choosing other pieces for the space as you shop and decorate.

Thank you to everyone for all your questions. I'm sorry I didn't get to all of them but you are welcome to stop by and say Hi on Instagram or my blog anytime!

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Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius or follow her on Instagram @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering and organizing.

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