Arianne Bellizaire talks 2021’s top color and upcoming virtual showhome

Arianne Bellizaire graced our May 2020 cover, which accompanied a story about the design pro's own home. Photo by Jessie Preza.

The first of the “color of the year” designations has arrived. Sherwin-Williams has deemed “Urbane Bronze“—a deep gray-brown “whose warmth and comfort breathe down-to-earth tranquility”—the 2021 champion. This news was perhaps particularly exciting to interior designer Arianne Bellizaire, our May issue cover subject, who has used the stately color for trims and detail work in the past.

Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams

“I love that in terms of design trends, we always have this cycle of color trends that reflect where we are in history,” she says. “We’ve had times where gray was the go-to color, then recently black, with lots of black accents or accessories. Early last year, we started to see a trend toward brown in the design world. This ‘Urbane Bronze’ is kind of a chameleon that can lean in whatever direction you want, and can still feel warm and soothing without feeling garish.”

Using a more basic gray in south Louisiana homes has often posed a problem for our state’s proliferation of traditional architectural styles. Acadian styles often naturally include a lot of warm-toned elements, which makes using a typically cool tone on the walls difficult to pull off without a major decorating overhaul.

“If you want to be bold and wrap your whole wall in ‘Urbane Bronze,’ that’s fine,” says Bellizaire. “But we’ve usually used it as an interior trim color, like on windows, so people who want that iron window upscale contemporary look can still achieve something like that. We’ve also used it in the way that we paint out architectural details like bookcases or fireplaces, so if you want to bring it in, you can bring it in doses or as a foundational color you may want to spring your lighter colors on.”

An attention-getting hue like this can make a big impact in a small space such as a laundry room or a powder room.“Those rooms can hold their own,” says Bellizaire. “They’re like little jewel boxes. You can kind of do what you want in those rooms without affecting the mood of any others.”

Speaking of boxes, this December, Bellizaire will also be taking her talents to Seasonal Living magazine’s Designer Virtual Showhouse, this time for a box-shaped living room that doubles as a home learning environment.

“There’s no physical space this year due to COVID-19,” she says, “but there are so many advantages to that. It’s not easy for a designer to fly to Malibu five times to see a space, for example. This time, they could look for designers from across across the country who specialize in different niches, designing those spaces with products from the sponsors using just their imagination.”

The exterior of Seasonal Living magazine’s Designer Virtual Showhouse. Photo courtesy Seasonal Living magazine.

Bellizaire says that for the first couple of days she had to suspend reality, free for the first time to design a space without considering a real-life client.

“If I was designing for a client, we’d have to talk budget and constraints. Now, I don’t have that with this project,” she says. “The technical aspects are the same I would think about with a real client, though. Space, color, material. Even though it’s not a real family living there, I still considered what a real family would need if living in this space. It’s not just a pretty room, it’s an opportunity to teach about design, which is what I really love to do.”

To learn more about the Designer Virtual Showhouse, which will be displayed in a Live VIP Virtual Showhouse launch event on December 3, visit seasonalliving.com/designer-showhouse-registration. And click here to learn more about Bellizaire and her work.

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