Published on March 7, 2019

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Pairing vibrant colors with equally bold prints and patterns can be like walking the line between more is more and more is too much. That said, as is the case with most decorative risks, the outcome can be pretty rewarding—allow the work of interior design star on the rise Camille Walala to stand in as proof.

The London-based creative got her start in textile design before a chance encounter led her into the realm of interiors. Walala went from selling cushions at a market to designing large-scale art installations across the globe, bringing with her an unapologetic approach to combining color and prints. The Salt of Palmar being a prime example. Situated on the island of Mauritius, the new hotel showcases Walala’s fierce and inspired style replete with an abundance of primary hues and daring stripes.

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Courtesy of Salt of Palmar

Walala cites the celebrated Memphis Movement of the ’80s as a major inspiration in her work, which also includes a colorful installation in Brookyln’s Industry City and even a collaboration with Armani. However, what sets her unique style apart from the rest is a worldly influence. Growing up in France, the designer was surrounded by richly hued textiles sourced around Africa. These elements—some of which were influenced by the colors and patterns found within the housing of the Ndebele tribe—can be spotted in many of her projects.

We caught up with the of-the-moment designer to get her tips on how to pair color and pattern like a pro. Here’s her cheat sheet.

Keep the palette reserved

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILL ANDERSON

Regardless of the room or area in which you’ve dedicated the color mix, establish a limited palette. “Stick to four or five colors, maximum, to avoid an unpleasant clash,” advises Walala. Through this approach, even a wildly eclectic array of contrasting patterns can end up feeling complementary and cohesive.

Embrace the softer tones

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGHAN MCNEER

Chunky black-and-white stripes are a common motif in Walala’s designs, and while they may be inspiring in bigger spaces, they can feel a little harsh at home. Opt for more subtle hues, which still offer up a hint of contrast but aren’t quite as intense. “Yellow and white diagonal stripes are my current favorites,” says Walala of the tonal pairing that has made a cameo or two in her work.

Go for the walls

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY CODY GUILFOYLE AND AARON BENGOCHEA

Speaking of stripes, splash them on a focal wall with paint or wallpaper in lieu of taking the more traditional approach of integrating them through textiles. The larger surface makes a statement so the rest can be kept clean.

Decorate in small doses

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGHAN MCNEER

If you’re scared of going too rainbow bright, “bring in a punch of color by way of art, cushions, and rugs,” notes Walala. “Opt for a print-heavy rug in the living room, an accent wall in a powder room, or patterned bedding to complete a colorful bedroom.”

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