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how to take decor risks that pay off with designer christina kim

A deep colored basement room/Photography: Raquel Langworthy/A moody basement designed by Christina Kim Interiors is imbued with deep hues.

An all-black-painted basement? Christina Kim of Christina Kim Interior Design has convinced her clients of some unusual—but end-result stunning—design schemes. "I always ask if they prefer strong colors or subtle neutrals, if they like high contrast or light and airy, warm colors or cool," Christina explains.

"If they seem to want to play it safe, I'll try to open them up to the idea of taking a risk in one room, like the powder room or the office. When they start to consider the designs of the 'risk' room, they get pumped! It's exhilarating!"

A beach cabana/Photography: Raquel Langworthy/"My favorite accent wall is a ceiling," says Christina. "We painted the ceiling of a cabana the dreamiest shade of mint: Sage Tint by Benjamin Moore."

Take dark paint, for instance. "If a client is onboard with black, I will really commit! I once painted a dark basement almost entirely black: black ceilings, walls, trims, and all. The weird bits with soffits and funny angles recede and the good bits stand out. It's a good trick," says Christina. (And check out the photo below to see the final product!).

Dark painted basement/Photography:Raquel Langworthy/A deeper look at the dark-hued basement designed by Christina.

Accent walls are another go-to trick of hers. "I love to create an accent wall from a wall that is the obvious focal point—maybe it's the first full wall you see when you walk into a room, for example," she says. "Sometimes, I'll create an accent wall from a wall that's giving me trouble; a wall with strange angles like you would find in a soffit filled basement is great to paint a strong color or a heavily patterned paper. It's a great visual distraction!"

A bright white kitchen/Photography: Raquel Langworthy/A sparkling white kitchen designed by Christina and her team.

The New Jersey–based designer also has some recommendations for would-be painters who are not working with a pro designer. "If you're going to DIY, you must make sure you have good rollers, brushes, and tools," says Christina. "Prep work is everything. Smooth out as many imperfections in the walls as possible before you begin. Then go for it! And remember, it's only paint!"

A gray dining space/Photography: Raquel Langworthy/Metropolitan Gray is on the walls in this New Jersey dining room.

start sampling!

Designer Christina Kim picks a few of her favorite colors. Sample them to see what they look like on your wall. 

Simply WhiteBenjamin Moore

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