Whenever I make an appointment to get my nails done, I am always instructed by the technician to “pick a color.” You might think I could pick a nail polish color without blinking an eye, in a nanosecond, because I can select colors for an entire house in one sitting.

Well, it’s not as easy as it would appear to be for me. I pick up each bottle and look at how the color might look against my current skin tone. There are so many choices and shades including traditional reds and pinks, and trendy bright blues, greens, purples, neons, etc.

Sometimes I open the polish and try a bit on my nail to see how the color will really look. An anxious half-hour later, I am still second-guessing the color selection.

Sometimes it gets down to the wire, and I have three different colors at the nail table. I have to pick one. Oy!

I get my nails done about two to three weeks apart, so the decision is not as crucial as choosing colors of paints for walls. Just as there are reasons for picking nail polish, mostly my mood that day, there are much more sound reasons for choosing specific colors for walls, furniture, draperies, floors and carpets.

I base my color selections on form, materials, light, space and, of course, color combinations. Each of these components is important to the harmony of the overall design.

When I design a space, I must take into consideration where the windows are and consider their relationship to the sun and the surrounding context of space. This way, I can give my clients the best colors of paint or wall treatments to enhance all of the components we are considering.

Color is an integral player in the design process and never an afterthought. As subtle as a color selection might be, it has a remarkable influence on the perceptual experience of a space. As a child, do you remember being asked the common question, “What’s your favorite color?” As interior decorators, have to be sensitive to our individual clients and their preferences so as to construct a space that reflects back to the occupants the best possible context in which to spend time.

My personal goal is to use color to create a setting in which the individuals feel in harmony with their surroundings. I want my clients to experience their environment in a way that supports their daily lives.

P.S. I’m currently in the purple zone in fingernail color selections. Purple is a color of passion. Need I say more?

Diamond Riegel is an interior design consultant and owner of Designs by Diamond, Bluffton. diamondbydesign@aol.com