Designing with Color: Gatega Interiors' Color Use Case Studies


Guest Post By Joanne Fitzgerald, Gatéga Interior Design, LLC

Embrace Colors That Make You Happy

The most important rule about color is to not to be afraid of it. Embrace colors that make you happy and don’t worry about what’s fashionable or the current color trend du jour. With a little research and some experimentation you can develop a color scheme that makes you happy, and beautifully compliments and enhances your home’s decor and features.

I’ve been very fortunate to work with clients who love color and trust in my ability to successfully incorporate the colors that make them happy into their home environment.  I’ve detailed how I’ve used color in several of my design projects, and I hope these color-filled images will inspire you to create the perfect color scheme for your home.

Friedman Design Project

For this project the clients, after many years of living with their hand-me-down furniture from their college days, were more than ready to upgrade and reinvent their family home to reflect their more sophisticated tastes and to stylishly exhibit their burgeoning art collection.

0004_gatega0617The warm lime walls and pale gold ceiling were a natural fit for this bedroom, and accessorizing with the hand blown glass table lamps, with their more saturated hues, made for a perfect color design compliment. Decorating their master bedroom was particularly fun due to the fantastic window treatment fabric I had found. Interestingly enough, despite a vivid, brilliant pink swirl, it was the husband who was thrilled with it and the wife who was skeptical. Only after assuring her that I would showcase the other colors – lime, yellow and orange – did she agree to give the bright pink patterned drapes a try. The finished room is now her favorite in the house.

0034_gatega0617 Downstairs the color scheme is decidedly more serious. I confess, I am partial to red dining rooms due to the ability of that color to really create a “nest” feeling, and the color red is also know to compliment the food being served – two important elements I strive for in dining rooms. Essentially the colors are all the same – green, red and gold, just deeper, more saturated and moodier hues. 0032_gatega0617 The adjacent powder bath incorporates a fantastic, textured wall covering that beautifully compliments the copper/bronze glass wall tiles. This is an excellent example of how to get really saturated, jewel tones in a tiny space. Evidently the small space doesn’t suffer from the dark tones!

Kaplan/Bernstein Design Project

LCutter_6769Joanne This design project was especially fun because this client collects vivid, colorful art, and she wanted a colorful, playful kitchen space that mirrored her art passion and one that would inspire her and her three young sons.





This client’s kitchen is an enormous space that required manipulation to achieve a more intimate scale, thus the use of deep wood tones and rich, saturated color.The accent blue chosen for the exposed wall above the custom Mixed Up Mosaic tile is an intense, Mediterranean blue that the client had been partial to for as long as we’ve worked together.

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The adjacent dining room incorporated a more brilliant hue of the blue in a luxurious velvet woven upholstery fabric. So as not to get too busy with color and pattern, the wall covering and custom Rug Company rug were chosen for their graphic, monochromatic patterns. The resulting effect is plenty of interest and texture without jarring, competing colors.


The parlor is a quiet, simple space directly adjacent to the front entry but in full view of both the dining room and kitchen/family room beyond. The open plan of the home required that all spaces were themes and variations of each other, so once again, a neutral, taupe wall was chosen with a terra cotta accent which is another color to which this client was partial and also the dominant color of the family room (not pictured here).

Kisling Design Project

P1010226Having just moved from a
small, east coast townhouse to a much larger Texas duplex, this client was ready to jettison most of her heavy, traditional furniture in favor of a lighter, more contemporary and ethnic design scheme. In her first house we painted using aubergine, lavender and crimson, but because this new house had tall, cathedral ceilings and interesting architecture, rather than betray the architecture with distracting color, we decided to embrace the cool, white stone and walls and added depth with rich wood tones and small splashes of color. Keeping the walls a fresh white directed the focus to the dramatic architecture and the beautifully crafted furniture. Though this was a great departure color-wise for this young woman, it turned out that she liked this refreshing color approach.

Simons/Korn Design Project

This couple live in a lovely, modest home directly across the road from an urban situated National Park. They are active, outdoor enthusiasts and wanted a kitchen that brought the outdoors in. The original space was an ode to the 1980s, with a sheet vinyl floor and plastic laminate cabinets and counters, so the ensuing kitchen remodel and design transformation turned out to be dramatic.


The scheme began with a fantastic piece of Blue Persa granite – a gorgeous stone, unusual with its dramatic veins of blue, creamy white and taupe. Coupled with a Mixed Up Mosaic custom glass wall tile, the scheme was complete. Using wide plank, fumed walnut floors and a bank of walnut pantry cabinets complimenting pale stone-painted cabinets created a feeling of warmth, water and sky.

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In order to maintain the quiet sophistication of the small, narrow space, walls were painted to blend with the painted cabinets and a cathedral ceiling alcove was painted a pale, gray blue. The petit, adjacent dining room incorporates a significantly more saturated hue of the blue established in the kitchen, completing a graceful, serene suite.

About Joanne Fitzgerald

LCutter_1787_15 Joanne Fitzgerald, founder and owner of Gatega Interior Design, brings a lifetime understanding of art and design to each project so that color, light, texture, scale, and pattern all work in harmony with each other, ultimately creating spaces that are interesting, inviting and supremely comfortable. Her approach is not to brand each project with her signature style, but to create each space as a reflection of the client: their culture, their lifestyle.

Joanne has a diverse educational background, having begun by studying engineering and eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her technical training, combined with extensive experience in and a deep appreciation of the decorative arts has enabled her to bring to each project a broad understanding of form and function. After working for several area architecture and interior architecture firms she started her own, award winning design business in 1996.