Marsala isn't just for cooking and drinking — it's also for decorating.
That's because Pantone, the company that specializes in creating hues for a variety of industries, named Marsala the Color of the Year for 2015.
But design experts say incorporating the rich reddish-brown into your home may be best done a sip at a time.
Philip Smith loved Marsala when he first saw fashion designer Zac Posen use it on the runway and then saw Sephora incorporate the various shades into makeup. Adding the color to home decor, though, was a different story.
"When I first saw it, I have to admit I was on the fence about it," said Smith who owns Philip Smith Design, a Baltimore-based interior design business.
He soon warmed to the possibilities.
"I realized that layering with the color in different variations is the best way to go," Smith said. "It's a pretty color. When you add all the hues of reds, crimson, orange and pink, it can really punch it out. Although it was introduced with an earthy, brown, nurturing vibe, I like it going in the direction of glamour and luxury."
Home decor experts like Smith say to use it sparingly with throw pillows to add color against your existing furniture or take a heavy pour with a monochromatic approach or with strong anchoring pieces such as a sofa.
Elizabeth Lawson, the principal designer and owner of the Towson-based Elizabeth Lawson Design, said that because the color is so strong, a small amount makes a big impact.
"I think it should be used in sophisticated accents — a little bit here and there is OK," she said. "It's a sophisticated color. It goes a long way."
Lawson acknowledges that she was apprehensive about the color when she first saw it. "I have to say, I'm always surprised by the colors they [Pantone] choose," she said. "It's not my favorite color in the world, but it is growing on me."
"I'm liking it a lot more now," Smith said. "You can really blend it and make it work in so many ways. The room doesn't have to scream Marsala."
Smith and Lawson offered the following tips for using Marsala in your home decor:
Kitchen: "I could see this color working nicely on a great set of bowls or cups on open shelves," Lawson said.
Smith said he would use a matte finish for the walls of a kitchen.
"That would go well with stainless-steel [appliances], marble countertops and teal accessories, such as plates," he said.
Dining room: "It's a very dramatic color, so I could see using it on window panels with keeping the walls white — almost like that New York Greenwich Village feel," Lawson said. "Or add a velvet cushion to a chair."
Smith said he would use a deeper hue of Marsala to paint dining room walls.
"I'm still a fan of leaning more toward a glam factor," he said. "I'd use white molding and two-thirds of the wall would be a high-sheen Marsala."
Smith said the Marsala walls could contrast with a marble fireplace with an all-white mantel topped with a nice piece of contemporary art.
"I like unexpected things," he said. "Put it in there and have people say 'Wow that really does work.' "
As for the table, Smith would mix stone and wood for the centerpiece. He would complete the room by throwing in a vintage chandelier — especially in a traditional, larger home.
"There is a place for everything as long as it is done tastefully," he said.
Bathroom: "I could see it as a great rugby stripe for a shower curtain," Lawson said. "Or a great hand towel with just the right pattern in it."
Smith said that a high-gloss Marsala could work well on the walls of a bathroom or powder room. The color would pair well with antique gold wall sconces and brushed bronze vintage chandeliers. Add in marine blue hand towels for a "wow" factor, he said.
Living room: "Use it in a grouping of vases — or a great wallpaper on an accent wall," Lawson said. "Do one accent wall and keep the others light. It's just enough of that color to pack a punch. Also try a great vintage rug with that color — maybe a vintage Oushak [Turkish carpet]. With white walls, it would be stunning."
Smith said the living room is an "ideal" place to incorporate the color.
A tufted Chesterfield sofa, textured pillows or even silk and velvet woven window treatments would take the color in a more luxurious direction, Smith said.
He added: "When you get a textured fabric in the Marsala family, it will take on different variations of the color."
Bedroom: Lawson suggests using an all velvet throw pillow or a boudoir pillow on a white bed.
Smith thinks that a Marsala flat-weave rug is the right way to approach the bedroom.
"It [the room] doesn't have to scream Marsala," he said. "Do it subtly."