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How To Use Bold Color In Every Room

Laura U Design Collective shows us how it's done with panache.

How To Use Bold Color In Every Room

Whether designing for a “wow” factor or creating a subtle, sophisticated vibe, Laura U Design Collective’s found and CEO, Laura Umansky, believes wallcovering always has a place in the room.

From historic neighborhoods in Houston to California oceanfront projects, designer Laura Umansky never shies away from color, texture – or both. “I never have had a fear of [wallcoverings]. Our clients see it in our portfolio and embrace that we are going to use it. I would never think to not bring in wallcovering!”

Laura is founder and CEO of Laura U Design Collective, an all-women team of designers based in Houston. She has loomed large in the Houston design community for two decades, and recently launched Design Dash, a community and coursework for existing and aspiring design business owners. 

President of Phillip Jeffries, Philip Bershad, recently chatted with Laura about her array of projects, and how she builds them around her clients while sticking to her design ethos.

In a room dubbed “The Conservatory,” greenery is expected, and it exists here in a starring role from a digital mural from the Arboretum collection.  This spacious kids’ hangout, a light-filled room overlooking the ocean in Pebble Beach, California, is accented with soft purple and pink decor that contrasts the bold navy and greens. Laura loves the large-scale mural because, “it’s clever and doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it’s easy to use in a room like this.” 

diningroomDINING ROOM
Laura U designed a sophisticated blue dining room with this watercolored mural in mind. Layers of horizontal brushstrokes in a multitude of colorations are digitally printed on natural grounds for a wallcovering collection where artistry meets innovation. Shop Beyond here.


This dining room would also feel at home on the coast, but is actually in the heart of Houston. The natural fibers of the Woven Sisal  give a California vibe, and Laura loved it so much she used the texture in several rooms in the home. An easy-to-clean performance vinyl and a subtle pattern that doesn’t demand attention in the room is the winning combination Umansky sought to achieve for her client.

This project is called Oak Estate and is located in Highland Village, Houston. The homeowners recently moved from New York into a newly constructed home. Our clients asked us to honor their Indian heritage and to embrace a modern aesthetic. Here in the home study, the design nodes to early modernist design with rich color, clean lines, and industrial materials. Pre-existing shelving was given new life with a fresh coast of Farrow & Ball’s Stiff Key Blue and Phillip Jefferies Desert Dunes grasscloth wallcovering. The cool inky navy tones of the shelving serve as a stunning backdrop to the warm walnut desk. 


Laura's favorite room to design is a primary suite. For this one in a contemporary home in Houston, it was all about adding the color that the client loved while still allowing for a calming and peaceful retreat. The wallcovering, Lattice in Ivory on Granite Canvas Linen, provides an interesting, neutral backdrop that allows the plum and navy accents to stand out.


A dramatic powder room in a renovated historic home in Houston was treated with a modern twist. The contemporary silk-fibered Broad Strokes in Blended Blue was combined with traditional fixtures to create a classical look. “I’m a huge proponent of color, and I always have been.” There’s always a time and place to inject some bold color to add personality and something unexpected.”

To hear the entire conversation, including which design trend Laura thinks should go away, watch the Instagram Live video below.


About Phillip Jeffries:

Now in its fourth decade, Phillip Jeffries has emerged as the industry leader in natural, textured and specialty wallcoverings. A manufacturer and importer of unique and fine quality textured wallcoverings, the company was founded in 1976 with just 10 grasscloths. From the humble beginnings of the family garage, Phillip Jeffries now stocks more than 1,000 ready-to-ship wallcoverings in their 60,000+ square foot headquarters. Working hand-in-hand with skilled artisans, Phillip Jeffries creates the design world's most beautiful and sought-after wallcoverings. For more information,