Dabito is an expert at color, and his book Old Brand New will have you thinking about color in so many new ways.
If you're not familiar with interior designer Dabito, there's one main thing you should know about his work: He loves color. Color has always been a central part of Dabito's design philosophy and he's an expert at pairing colors that just make sense for the space—and, more importantly, for the person (or people) living in it. In the designer and artist's new book Old Brand New, Dabito shares an intimate walk-through of his design process for a wide range of clients—including his own family members and partner. He details how he curated each space to be a reflection of the people living there, and so much of that had to do with picking out the colors.
While picking out a color palette for your home can be a daunting process, Dabito's book is chock-full of ideas that can make the process feel a lot more simple. Some of the ideas will have you essentially building a dating profile of yourself and the things you love, while others are just clever hacks to choosing fail-proof color combos. (And trust us, each idea is better than standing in front of a wall of paint samples and waiting for something to speak to you.) Below, read all of our favorite color palette tips from Old Brand New.
Think About Someone You Love
Not all of of us have favorite colors like we used to, and that can make it hard to pick a starting point for a color palette in your home. If you don't have a go-to color coming to mind, Dabito recommends looking to someone else for inspiration. "If you have trouble picking out a color, sometimes I recommend thinking about someone special in your life and what their favorite color is," Dabito writes. "That can be a sweet jumping-off point." Dabito used this tactic in the dining room of his own home, selecting a bold purple—his beloved Aunt Holly's favorite color—as the star shade for the room. Picking a color that reminds you of someone you love can be an instant way to add a feeling of warmth and meaning to a space.
Consult a Piece of Artwork
Even if you aren't sure about your favorite colors, you can probably come up with an artwork or two that you love—and you can use those as your muse. "The great thing about art is that a skilled artist has already done the work of pairing hues together for you," Dabito writes. "If you aren't sure where to start when creating a color palette for your design, pick an artwork that speaks to you and pull colors out of it." This might inspire you to put together colors that you never would've tried pairing otherwise.
Shuffle Through Your Favorite Memories
Even if you think you don't have a strong vision of what you like, your camera roll probably says otherwise. The photos we take and the memories we choose to keep can say a lot about what colors we're drawn to—and which ones have special meaning for us.
Dabito designed a California home for a couple who, as the book explains, don't have a specific style, and "never thought about a space plan or even thought about what kind of vibe or colors they wanted to bring into their space." But upon working with the couple, Dabito learned that they made two visits to Hawaii every year, because they have family there and got married there. So, their memories—and their photos—from Hawaii became the inspiration for much of the design of their home. Specifically, their sunset orange dining room (pictured above) was inspired by a photo from the couple's favorite shave ice spot in Hawaii.
Identify Your Favorites
If you're struggling to nail down what you really like in terms of color, Dabito recommends doing some lighthearted research to look for a repeated theme in your life. "Start a Pinterest board and pin photos of interiors that make you happy," he writes. "After you've gathered your inspiration, see what commonality is found from photo to photo. Did you save a lot of rooms with green in them? Do each of these rooms have similar patterns? Are there a lot of artworks or bold wallpapers?" This is a great jumping off point to getting familiar with your personal style and favorite colors.
Get Inspired by Happy Accidents
Color inspiration can happen when you aren't even looking for it. When designing his mother's bedroom, which was primarily going to be pink and yellow, Dabito noticed blue painter's tape resting on the yellow headboard and was instantly inspired. "I immediately went looking for vintage blue lamps," Dabito writes. "Sometimes decorating is all about happy accidents, and you have to keep your eyes open for them. They are like little gifts from styling fairies."
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