light olive green kitchen with greenish gold cabinets
Photo: Alex Hayden
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Objects Are Inspiring, Too

If artwork fails to inspire, Clements says any object will do. "It's all about limiting your options so that you aren't standing in the paint aisle faced with 1,000 colors," she says. Clements has had clients find palettes in everything from a pair of 1950s kids' cowboy-print pajamas to a seashell. Even a retro bicycle will do. "Think orange frame, black tires, caramel-leather seat, chrome fenders—there's a palette," she says. "Above all, trust your instincts. If you see a photo in a magazine and your instant reaction is ‘I love it,' you might take that photo to the paint store and match it to a handful of colors," she says. She based the palette in her own home on a photo in a magazine story about Peruvian knitwear; it showed colorfully patterned handmade socks all lined up. She keeps the photo as a touchstone for guiding other choices for her rooms as well, from footstools to sofas.

Shown: To ensure the kitchen didn't become overwhelmed by blue, the cooking area was painted a vibrant greenish gold. The panel above the stove and one at the end of the run of cabinets were given a stylized flourish inspired by the Craftsman details of the house.
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