Text: Robert C. Martin
Photos: Design – Ashley Goforth; Photography – Michael Hunter
Color—it can be the defining element that pulls a room together—yet often it’s the last factor to be considered. The reasons for this are numerous. With so many choices on the market today, just knowing where to begin can be a daunting task.
That’s where Ashley Goforth can readily lend her expertise. As owner of a boutique firm known as Ashley Goforth Design, the Houston designer focuses on high-end residential design that centers around family-friendly interiors that are livable while remaining luxurious. “So much of my approach is rooted in spending time with my clients and specifically getting to know them and their tastes,” she says. “Without a guiding hand, I think for a lot of people, committing to color can feel overwhelming.” In fact, Goforth has even been called the Color Queen for her coordinating savvy.
Goforth always asks clients what their favorite colors are and then weaves their responses throughout the design process. When it comes to selecting furniture or adding to the homeowners’ collections, the designer is always intentional. “I tend to keep my larger-scale pieces more neutral and timeless for the ease of changing looks or color preferences through time. If you keep sofas and chairs in a room a basic color, you can incorporate color through decorative pillows, art, and accessories. It feels less constraining.” Likewise, Goforth loves mixing modern and traditional pieces together, and is particular to using a fun, updated fabric on antique or period-inspired chairs.
When choosing fabrics, she does so with a keen understanding of the material. “I tend to pick a color and then use different intensities and shades of the same color to give it depth and variation. So, if you pick a blue for example, you can range from a light to a dark blue while still staying in the same family of blues.” Goforth also likes to keep the color consistent but vary the fabric, be it velvet, linen, silk, or cotton. “All the different fabric options reflect off different tones of the same color,” she says. “I definitely have a formula of using different materials: nubby, smooth, shiny, flat, etc., that play off one another.”
Artwork is another key contributor to the overall balance of a space. It can either tie everything together or serve as a springboard from which to determine your color scheme. “Each project varies on when artwork is selected—sometimes it comes first, sometimes last,” Goforth says.
Wallpaper is another option for introducing color. “I love wallpaper and think it adds dimension to rooms that paint just can’t quite achieve,” she says. “I love grasscloths and textural wallpapers for any large-scale room. I tend to pick patterned ones in smaller contained spaces, such as powder or mudrooms.”