Harmonious Palette

Strategic use of color transforms a bedroom into a historic haven. 

By Gina Parsons

Photography by Karen Palmer

Interior design by Karen Korn Interiors

Photography by Karen Palmer


One vibrantly-hued item provided the inspiration for a colorful transformation in the bedroom of a home in Webster Groves. “We really started with the area rug that had been in their family,” says designer Karen Korn, owner of Karen Korn Interiors. “That is what inspired the color story. It had the reds and the blues in it. We were trying to coordinate with that area rug without taking away from it.”

They began with the neutral Sherwin-Williams Greek Villa 7551 on the walls. For all of the trim in the room, they used Sherwin-Williams Smoky Blue 7604, which according to the Sherwin-Williams website is a “velvety blue with grey undertones.” “The reason we went with that blue is that it needed that balance and saturation,” Karen says. “If we would have gone with a lighter color it would have faded away.” Painting the window trim blue gives the room an extra burst of color. “We thought the color needed to flow through the whole room,” she says.

It was important that the room have a traditional look, as the homeowners love that aesthetic and it best matches the house. “They live in a historic home so they wanted it to be authentic to the history,” Karen explains. “They wanted it to be true to that traditional aesthetic.”

Curtains in the same blue as the trim continue the color story. They trimmed the edge of the curtains with red. “We needed some kind of accent to bring the red to that area of the room—to balance the red from the carpet,” she says.

Karen had the existing panel molding painted in the Smoky Blue, and installed a harmonizing chinoiserie wallpaper within the panels.  “The wallpaper complemented the rug, and it complemented the age of the house,” Karen says.

The homeowner had the perfect piece of furniture to use between two new chairs—a small table that the homeowner’s grandmother had handed down to them. “People just don’t do that anymore, and it makes such a difference in this room,” she says. Antique lamps already owned by the homeowners complete the traditional look.

The two chairs upholstered in blue fabric were new and custom made, as were the bench at the end of the bed, the red pillows trimmed in blue and the bedding. The wood flooring is original to the house, and needed nothing done to it. It all came together nicely. “I feel we did a really good job of honoring that era,” Karen says.