Q&A with Jana Bek: Incorporating Color
We spoke with interior designer and creator of luxury home décor products, Jana Bek, to learn more about her tips on transforming spaces with art and incorporating color into neutral interiors.
As a graduate of the University of Michigan and Parsons School of Design, Jana developed an interest in Product Development leading her to Macy's Merchandising Group and Henri Bendel. Later, as her passion for interiors grew, she joined Caitlin Wilson Textiles, and finally One Kings Lane as a home decor buyer. In 2013, Jana founded Jana Bek Design whose focus includes an ever-expanding line of artful home décor products in a wide range of colors. Her products have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, and House Beautiful.
Why is art important? What’s the value of living with art?
Art has the ability to transform a space, and in turn, your mood. I value it for those reasons, its ability to make me relax, transport me to a dream destination, or just bring me joy. The right pieces can help evoke the feeling you are after and tie a space together or bring it to life!
I find so many people that reach out to me have very neutral palettes – lots of grays and whites – and are looking to add color to their homes with art. How can color and pattern transform a room? Is there a such thing as too much color? What would you say to someone that is nervous about using color in their design?
Just as art brings an energy to a room, color and pattern do too. To anyone who is nervous about incorporating color into a design, I would tell them to start small. Choose one complimentary color and layer it in via at least 2-3 pieces like art and accents, to reinforce that the color is an intentional addition. These subtle pops will add another layer of interest and showcase their twist on a standard neutral palette. I prefer layering multiple colors into a design, and sticking to an established palette prevents colors from competing or making the space look busy.
For someone who wants to incorporate more color into their space, I recommend starting with a textile or piece of art that they love as inspiration for their palette. Sticking to an established palette prevents colors from competing and ensures all of the design decisions will look harmoniously. In our Brooklyn apartment, the colors and energy of Clarence House’s Tibet Dragon print were my jumping off point for the design, it’s a bold choice, but by sticking to this palette when making the other design decisions, it all works!
Any tips for incorporating large art/statement piece into your home? And how can doing this transform your space?
Adding a large piece to a space is a great way to add a focal point to a room that doesn’t have one. Such as, a modern living room that doesn’t have a fireplace. An oversized piece will ground the space and keep everything from feeling like it’s floating in the room.
What are some of your favorite ways to bring art and color into a design?
Textiles, artwork, and of course my line of colorful lighting are my go-to vehicles to bring color into a space. I prefer to design a room with neutral foundation furniture then layer on the color and pattern with decorative items so I can easily switch things up as my tastes change.
Any tips on hanging art? What are your go-to guidelines? Any unique ways to hang?
I hang art slightly above my eye level (because I’m on the shorter side). I find that generally hanging pieces about 4-5” above a piece of furniture (sofa, console table, etc) feels like the proper height. If I’m hanging a gallery wall, or unsure of placement, I’ll hang it first with a Command Strip, and make any necessary tweaks, before permanently hanging.
How did you get started in interior design? Where did your love of art and color come from?
I started my career in product development for women’s fashion, and while I loved the creative aspect, I was drawn to interior design as it has a more lasting effect than the cyclical nature of women’s wear. I’ve always had a love of color (and pattern) but it became amplified really in working with design clients who had a fear of both. These clients were also my inspiration for our first product, our signature brushstroke lamps. I envisioned them as a way to incorporate both color and pattern in a space for clients a bit timid of both!
You used one of my sculptures in your design for the ORC, what drew you to this particular piece? Most people automatically think about art as a piece that you hang on the wall, why can adding sculptures to your collection be such a fun, unique way to live with art? Any tips for displaying sculptures and incorporating into your design?
So many aspects of this sculpture got me excited to layer it into my design! I wanted the apartment to be colorful, bold, unexpected, and elegant, everything the sculpture is! The style of the agate lines and acid colors bring a funky, rock-and-roll element to the space that I was craving. I love how it and the Sivian Askayo Berlin art talk to each other. Sculptures are unexpected so makes you take pause. We’re so inundated with imagery these days anything that does that is exciting! A sculpture on a pedestal would be a beautiful way to add interest to a long hall, lonely corner, or dining room. A sculpture is always a great idea to make an exciting impact in an entry.
(Photography credit: Lindsay Brown)