Choose Your Color Fantasy

Master designer Perla Lichi offers advice on choosing the right shades for the right person

By John D. Adams


The bright touch of pink highlights walls, draperies and upholstery. Photo by Naim Chidiac


Full view of boy’s room. Photo by Butch Delatina

Color is life. It lifts us up, makes us take notice of the vibrant existence all around us. But admiring pigments in the natural world is not the same thing as living with color in our own private environments. Some people choose to embrace colorful interior design while others may prefer a more sedate environment. It can be a daunting choice. That’s where master interior designer Perla Lichi comes in. As a design professional, it is her job, and her pleasure, to help navigate the often uncertain waters of living with color. We sat down with Perla to examine several of her projects to better understand how color can be introduced in a variety of ways.

Just a Splash
“I’m a technicolor person,” enthused Perla. “Even before I realized what color theory was, I had been attracted to vibrant, full-throated color. I think most people are, but they may not realize it.” It’s a very personal choice – living with color. And Perla embraces the opportunity to help others become comfortable with just the right amount of color.

Take a look at the photo above. This female client desired a vibrant atmosphere but was unsure about how much color she wanted to use. “We chose to introduce her to a dramatic splash of color while still retaining neutral architectural elements like the white lacquered spiral staircase,” explained Perla. It is a perfect way to embrace color but not feel beholden to it. “We had an ideal space right under the staircase to create an intimate bar area. She wanted a dramatic splash, and she got it with hot pinks, purples and fuchsia fabrics and accessories.” In this way, the client gets her desired burst without overwhelming the space. And by creating a color story through fabrics and accessories, she can more easily change or adapt the space as desired. “If she ever gets tired of those colors, the chairs, area rug and bar stools can always be removed and she can reinvent the space with any other hue that strikes her fancy.”


For this white lacquered chair, Perla chose a variety of peacock colors: lime greens, turquoises and blues. An accent pillow in oranges and yellows strikes a surprising balance. If you look closely at the print, you will still find the green and turquoise … just enough to tie everything together. Photo by Naim Chidiac

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold. Just Right
For clients desiring more than just a hint of color, Perla offered the ingenious solution of festooning a child’s bedroom walls, floor and fabrics with literal bubbles of blues and greens. But it is not a saturation. Generous use of a neutral background allows for just the right amount of impact. “This is a small boy’s room so we worked with cooler colors. It’s bold and playful yet not overwhelming,” she said. “And since the room has 12-foot-high ceilings, I wanted to find a way of bringing down the scale of the room. That’s why we decided to carry the bubble theme up from the rug and onto the walls. The color choices are purposely more timeless and can grow along with the boy.”

Bold and Beautiful
When you’re talking about saturating a space with color, you’re squarely in Perla’s own wheelhouse. For a green powder room and for a living area burgeoning with pinks and purples Perla went all out with color throughout the spaces. “These rooms are for people who love and never tire of color,” said Perla. “We used color in combination with the foreground and the background.”

For the powder room, Perla worked with golds and greens. “Instead of color being introduced through furnishings or accessories, here we use the background as the primary color focus. The hand painted striated pattern is important because it breaks up the color and lends movement to the relatively small space. The vanity is stainless steel and glass, which in themselves is pretty neutral. But the colors are reflected through the mirror and fixtures, saturating the room.”

For the vibrant living space, Perla created pink medallions on the walls which are then carried to the drapes and fabrics.  “When using color everywhere, I usually start with the sofa fabrics, then work my way through the room. I can then control the colors that I put in the rug. Your color choices are unlimited so why not match them with the colors of the room?”
In the final analysis, there are bold people who want to use lots of color and that is great as long as you can balance it. If you are more timid, use color in select places in small amounts. This allows you to introduce living with color. “It’s all about living the color fantasy of your dreams. I’m here to help make that dream a reality.”

See more of Perla’s work online at:


Choose Your Color Fantasy