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5 Tips for Thinking Like an Interior Designer When Choosing Your Wedding-Day Color Palette

Los Angeles designer Kelly Wearstler is known for putting a vibrant, eye-popping spin on everything from hotel lobbies to home goods. Inject some of her eclectic style into your celebration with these ideas for sprucing up a space.

Contributing Writer
Photography by: © Mark Edward Harris 2013
Interior designer Kelly Wearstler

Let Your Venue Inform Your Décor—Whether You Complement or Contrast it

While it’s important to be mindful of the surroundings, you don’t have to go full-on mod just because you’re getting married at a contemporary art gallery. When you mix the unexpected, it can be cool—think rustic with refined, or pairing something vintage with something new.


Pick Your Statement Piece

If there’s something at your venue that lends itself to being a focal point, play it up! When I designed my home in Malibu, for example, I wanted the main color in the space to come from the ocean—a beautiful view is really the heart of the house. I chose neutrals and rich natural materials, like marble and wood, which don’t detract from it.

Photography by: G CRAWFORD
Kelly Wearstler’s "vibe tray," a collection of objects that helps her to see what works together.

Look for Inspiration in Unlikely Places

Like a lot of visual people, I could spend hours on Pinterest. But I also create physical mood boards or vibe trays—collections of objects that inspire me. They’re an incredible resource for trying ideas, seeing what works together, and cultivating the look and feel of an event.


I also collect antique books—I have more than 2,000 in my library. Paging through old books on style and parties always leads me to concepts.


Add an Unexpected Color 

People always talk about how I use vivid colors in my designs, but I’m also a devotee of black and white. It’s such a versatile pairing, especially when you bring in another shade. Mixing black and white with periwinkle is an excellent choice for a bold, chic party, whereas combining it with a sandy color makes for a classic, elegant affair.


Or Stick With One Shade

It might sound boring at first, but using a single color in different gradations is a really sleek way to bring dimension to spaces. Pantone’s 2014 color of the year, for example, was radiant orchid, an intense purple shade, and I think pairing it with a lighter plum would be the way to go. If you want to punch up a monochromatic palette, throw in some metallic accents: Gold, silver, and bronze work with any color scheme and add a little glamour—never a bad thing!