Simple Color Solution

Splashes of orange are a refreshing change in a living room.

By Shannon Craig
Photography by Darin Wood


“I love everything about it – the granite, the crown molding, the built-in theater with seating for twelve, even the door handles. But I won’t buy this house. I just CAN’T with the red wall,” the wide-eyed reality show participant spouts off as she gives her final synopsis of the house she’s just finished touring. “The color just doesn’t feel…right. It isn’t me.”

The color – or sometimes lack thereof – is the one thing that can be quickly, easily and often affordably changed. But so often, it stops homebuyers and homeowners in their tracks. Candice Wideman, owner of St. Louis design firm Youtopia Designs, approaches this issue often with her residential clients.

“A lot of their [clients] biggest problem is that they know what they want, but they don’t know how to put it together,” she explains, clicking through photographs of her projects. “And sometimes, even if they can, they’re too scared because they aren’t sure how it’s going to look.”

And figuring that out is what makes interior designers such as Candice tick. From her initial consultation, she explains, it’s her job to determine what works. “I tell clients look through design magazines, go on Pinterest, go on Houzz; I ask them if there are any colors they hate, you know, absolutely can not have, and colors they love that they’d like me to incorporate,” she says.

A refreshment she recently completed for Vani Kotaru’s Ballwin-area home showcases splashes of burnt orange, a bold hue chosen to mimic warm-bronze strokes Candice and the homeowner found in a wallpaper sample. "We kept it very simple," Candice explains of the eye-popping and intentional color additions. "The cornices on the windows...the area rug, but there were a few pieces of furniture to cover some of it, so it wasn't too much."

Complemented by matching accent pillows settled on the contemporary leather couches and winks of bright aqua blue in coordinating touch pieces, the burnt orange living room is an exercise in subtlety. The greatest aspect of the room, however, is that should the homeowner decide in an instant that she hates the color orange there is a solution.

“Just change it!” Candice urges. “If you don’t like the color, change it. You’re not married to it. That’s also the great benefit of hiring a designer who can do 3D renderings,” which Candice does. “If you don’t like the color in the drawing we can change it with the click of a button and see what other options there are.”

Color gets a bad rap on cable television, but it certainly doesn’t have to live up to its reputation beyond the screen. However, if taking a chance with your color palette feels like too much pressure, you can be certain that there are people out there ready and completely willing to help you make the transition. “Show me one thing you like,” Candice says, “I can design a room around it.”

Designer: Candice Wideman, Youtopia Designs, 314-556-9811