by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | March 01, 2004
Flexible, versatile and provocative, color can be a powerful yet surprisingly inexpensive decorative tool. Flood a stage with hues of blue, and it becomes a dramatic focal point for an awards banquet. Bowls of lush red roses atop satiny red linens, framed against a backdrop of soft red lights, can turn a frumpy beige ballroom into an elegant lounge area.
   A good rule of thumb heard over and over from expert color coordinators: “The softer the color, the more luminiferous its transformation capabilities,” says Darryl Murchison, owner of Houston-based Darryl Murchison Design
    For an especially dramatic effect, Caroline Horst, senior event designer for Baltimore-based Fandango Productions Inc. (, suggests using multiple tones of the same color. “Not long ago we did a Tangerine Dream event. We lit the room in several shades of orange and had giant orange-colored daisies as decor,” she notes.
    Combining colors also is a good idea, but only if they complement each other, says Horst. She suggests pairing blue with orange, or green with purple. “It really depends on the event, but in general, if you use too many colors it can get busy and ugly,” she warns.
    When picking a color, Murchison suggests concentrating on what the event is trying to achieve, rather than the immediate surroundings. “The color of the walls or the carpets doesn’t matter,” says Murchison. “It’s better to pick a color from the linens you select, and then work from there to pull the whole color theme together.”
    Still stumped for a colorful idea? Pull from the palette of the company’s corporate logo.