Top 20 Winner: Best Use of Color Indoors

Homeowner Susan Kraft mixed vintage furnishings and accents with new pieces in her home and then used hefty doses of bold color to tie the look together. Her efforts won her the top prize in the Best Use of Color Indoors category of Better Homes and Gardens' Top 20 Home Improvement Contest.

Bring a Room Alive with Color

This bright and colorful living room features a simple combo of just two colors: green and gold. The warm palette is a perfect complement to Susan's interesting mix of old and new furnishings. "I'm not real strict about eras," she says. "If I like something, I try to incorporate it. The colors and fabrics pull everything together and make it all work." The armchairs, which belonged to Susan's mother, were re-covered to match the decor. The window treatment is embellished with holiday ornaments hung from ribbon.

Foster an Eye for DIY Details

A talented seamstress, Susan made all of the pillows and curtains in her living room. The pillow in the foreground includes interesting details, which Susan often adds to her projects. "I collect vintage buttons and I thought they were interesting enough to add to that pillow," she says. "I use a lot of knickknacks on my pillows and drapes."

Show It Off

After searching flea markets and garage sales for 20 years, Susan has amassed a colossal collection of colorful dinnerware. "Unfortunately, I have cupboards full of it," she laughs. She keeps a rotating display of her treasures in the kitchen in a custom shelf she had built to match an antique sideboard.

Collect with Nonchalance

Although her collection includes some familiar names, such as Fiestaware, Susan says she chooses pieces for their color, not their pedigree.

Pick What You Like

This mix-and-match collection of dinnerware includes dumpster finds, hand-me-downs, and gifts, such as these vintage rooster salt-and-pepper shakers.

Find Color Cues

The kitchen nook is filled with a large window seat and an antique table and chairs, which Susan found at an estate sale. "I liked the character and color of it" she says. "Also, I knew the family that owned it so I had a sentimental attachment." A colorful collection of dinnerware (on display elsewhere in the kitchen) inspired the room's citrus hues.

Steal This Philosophy

After choosing the striped cushion fabric because it captured all of the colors in the room, Susan had pillows made to match. The hodgepodge of fabrics is part of Susan's anything-but-stuffy approach to design. "I want it to be cozy and warm, but not like you can't live in it," she says. "I don't want people to feel uncomfortable."

Remodel with Purpose

In her effort to make her new home feel as old as its historic neighborhood, Susan added wainscoting, moldings, and a vintage-looking utility sink to the guest bathroom. She added shots of yellow, which pop against the woodwork. "I like warm colors, but I also like the crispness of white accents."

Add Flowers and Tchotchkes

Tulips add color and life to the kitchen table. "I grow and love flowers so I try to keep them on display -- when my cats aren't eating them," Susan jokes. The vintage salt-and-pepper shakers are part of a collection that includes items chosen for their color and character.

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