Celebrate the new year by adding a bit of cool shine to your surroundings

Last week, I told you how the glint of gold always makes me think of Christmas, while the shine and sparkle of silver are all about the new year, filled with bright new beginnings and celebration. This week I’m presenting tips about how you can take white-hot metallic and add some sparkle and shine to your space — and not just for this New Year’s, but for years to come.

Just as gold is a warm metal and works fabulously with warm colors, silver is a cool metal that’s ideal for cool colors such as blues, purples and pinks. Some colors can be both warm and cool, so just keep in mind that cooler, brighter shades usually work better with silver. If a color is lightened by white, it’s generally cooler, while if it has some yellow, orange, red or brown, it’s generally warmer.

For example, in this bedroom I designed in Kahala, the homeowner wanted something calming, romantic, vibrant and unique. So I chose purple, the color of passion, as an accent color on the wall behind the bed.


Cool colors prevailed: The surrounding walls were painted in a very light lilac, the furniture was a dark ebony, and the bedding was white and charcoal with a pop of silver in an accent pillow. To make sure the room felt fresh and clean, the lamps were made of white glass.

But I wanted to repeat the silver and have something interesting and unique on that purple wall. So I made an abstract design with images of birds or clouds in varying sizes and mounted them at varying depths of half an inch to a couple of inches from the wall. These silver accents created interest, dimension and just the right touch of subtle bling for a one-of-a-kind, relaxing and dramatic bedroom.


Now, how can you incorporate silver into your space during the holidays in a way that can last well beyond the new year? Just as I told you about gold, there are so many different textiles and fabrics in silver: bright silver fabrics, ikats with silver in them, faux animal skins and pewter and silver textiles that can be used to reupholster or create accents for your furniture pieces or for window treatments.

And as I told you last week, it’s easy to add the cool bling of silver by spray-painting branches or even dried leaves.


A great thing about silver is that it can have a reflective quality. If you have a little bit of silver and want to enhance that, adding some mirrors or glass to a space can help give it a very modern feel. To incorporate silver without the modern feel, go for a more weathered look as in pewter or brushed silver. Antique silver or pewter will add a more eclectic element.

A super-easy and affordable way to add silver is with picture frames. There are tons of options out there from a wide array of stores, with looks that range from pounded metal or scratched wood to shiny or matte, with ornate or clean lines. Next to black, silver is probably the most accessible picture frame. Use several of these to showcase your favorite family photos or create your own unique works of art by blowing up images to make your own art wall with various-size frames. Want to be a little bit more subtle? Go with black frames and add silver matting.

It’s the holidays, the beginning of a new year. So enjoy your celebrations and bring on the sparkle and shine!

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. To find out more, go to