Color Crush

Expert help for choosing your perfect palettes.

We could all use a splash of color this time of year in Minnesota. So we
asked a few top local experts to suggest some shades and palettes for
interior design, fashion and beauty.

Spruce Up Your Space

When it comes to color—for a bathroom, beauty routine or clothing ensemble—it’s about finding long-lasting, classic pieces and layering on-trend accessories. Christine Hoene from Design Innovations says when it comes to home neutrals for this spring, “Gray is still big everywhere,” but since lots of people have already brought gray into their homes, they’re now looking for ways to build with fresh new neutrals and color pops. “Try cream with charcoal gray—it’s sophisticated and refined—or dark, matte blacks and very pure white.”

Pick one or two accent colors, if possible choosing complementary colors (opposites on the color wheel).

In one client’s home, Hoene layered warm, bright colors in a big way on top of the neutrals that covered the bulk of the space. Hoene says, “A space feels put-together if the same tone is repeated, with the same level of boldness. Right now I’m loving citrusy yellows, bright oranges and bold reds. There’s orange outside in the flowers on the porch, in the vase on the island, on a throw pillow, and in an amazing piece of modern art. But don’t saturate a space—then it’s no longer special.”

When Katie Bassett of Katie Bassett Interiors isn’t designing vacation homes, she’s trying to get vacation vibes into her clients’ primary residences. “Cheery yet restful” is her mantra for finding the perfect mix. Her go-to neutrals for the season are iron browns, grays, and charcoals—like Farrow & Ball’s Railings—that will pop and “move colors forward,” says Bassett. “Everybody is always looking for the perfect white; it has to be bright yet relaxing to the eye. This year, my white is Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee, a sailor’s white with some beige and gray.”

While Bassett agrees that grays are still in, they’re moving more taupey and warm. “We live in Minnesota. We have enough gray in our lives! Taupey gray is stylish, but you’re never going to feel like you’re freezing in it,” says Bassett, who loves Stonehenge Greige from Sherwin-Williams. She incorporated a coppery Benjamin-Moore Candy Cane Red in the upholstery in her home studio’s sunroom.

“Right now we’re seeing a lot more of the classic colors, but amped up. They have more presence. People are going for a little bit more!” says Bassett. Her powder room is—ahem—tangerine, and she added personality with bright coffee-table books, like a copy of Veranda’s Retreats on her garage-sale-find library table. Art by local artist Heidi Libera brings bold depth to the classic-with-a-twist space. And while there are certainly some guidelines and trends to keep in mind, Bassett swears that home design is much more playful than proper.

“Add a little quirkiness to your home. There’s nothing happier than someone with a sense of humor,” says Bassett. Try getting your quirk on with items from estate sales. “I drive this huge white SUV—it’s pre-programmed to stop at estate sales. Even my rental cars know I’m supposed to stop at estate sales!”

Warm Up Your Wardrobe

Jodi Mayers, owner of Corset Styling, says there’s a bit of a “hardware obsession” happening for spring fashion. Statement earrings—even intentionally asymmetrical ones—can be worn with layered necklaces. “Up your bracelet game. All metals are a go!” urges Mayers.

“Pinks and yellows are everywhere, transitional pieces that were big in the fall that can take you right through to spring,” she says. Trench coats are showing up in sand, khaki, or blush shades and are meant to layer and play around with. Try one with florals, a jean jacket—yes, really—or any stripe you can find; they’re hot this year.

“I’m a big fan of trends with staying power. It’s tricky and expensive to overhaul your wardrobe every year,” says Mayers. “But the ’80s are having a big impact.” A slit sleeve or rolled pants will expose some ankle and arm to help balance out bulkier items or larger frames.

Susan Sun, owner of Equation, agrees that we should all be giving winter a cold shoulder this spring. She suggests investing in an off-the-shoulder sweater like one from boho designer Ulla Johnson that can be layered with a jacket, jeans or white pants. “Always roll the cuff,” she says.

“In spring, pastel colors are always huge—this year it’s lilac and dusty rose. People are mixing color one shade deeper—like paprika and periwinkle—but still staying true to a color scheme,” says Sun. If you’re trying out the layered jewelry look, she says to try a choker mixed with leather, semi-precious stones or rose gold—more of this year’s favorites. True to the edgy-classic vibe at Equation, she says that look will even work on top of a turtleneck. Because … Minnesota.

Lift Your Look

Make-up and hair color trends fluctuate as much as home design and fashion. Amber Updike of Spalon Montage says there are a few seasonal hair constants, like everyone goes darker for winter. But this year, she’s incorporating more reds and coppers. The balayage trend (hand-applied color that grows in more naturally) is still in, but it can be daunting. Updike reassures clients that they can ease in with a partial balayage to add fun color that won’t be as conspicuous a few weeks down the road.

On faces this season, it’s “all about lashes and brows,” says Updike. Spalon offers a full line of lash and Revita brow maintenance products and services. Because of all the attention on the brows and lashes—and more subdued eye shadows—lips and nails are getting a little more of the attention these days, with pinks and poppy reds taking over the runway and everyone’s make-up bags. To get the “wow” factor, try OPI Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It or Pink Flamenco nail lacquers.

MJ Harden, an aesthetician and educator with Spalon, says, “People are starting to get educated about the tools out there to support their skin. You can create a better texture so your make-up can look amazing. Really, the best palette—of a different kind—is one that reduces the amount of make-up you need to use.” Brighten winter skin with a Vitamin C serum that’s anti-inflammatory and hydrating and will help stimulate cell turnover. A collagen mask by Beacher Group will seriously amp up your skin’s natural beauty. “People buy those by the handful!” says Harden.

lush and luscious!

Add some eye-popping color to your self-care routine with handmade products from Lush Cosmetics.

- Razzle Dazzle Luxury Bath Oil
Drop a ball into your next bubble bath and you’ll have relaxing, beautiful swirls for days. Softens your skin; entertains your nose. ($3.50)

- Strawberry Bombshell Lip Tint
It’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Kalahari melon oil and sunflower wax will moisturize your lips with a little kissable tint. ($9.95)

- Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair Shower Jelly
Lavender, jasmine, rose petal, guava and fig will leave you clean—and smelling delicious—every time you shower. ($12.95-$26.95)

- The Comforter Shower Cream
Lather up with this bergamot and cypress-laced shower cream and you'll get the warm fuzzies, black currant-style. ($9.95-$29.95)

- 93,000 Miles Shower Jelly
Eucalyptus and mint jelly will cool and soothe your aching muscles after hitting the slopes or shoveling the sidewalk. Keep it frozen for an extra boost! ($7.95-$11.95)