How to bring color to a room

Household 5 min read

Color is a part of every interior design, but not all spaces embrace color in the same way. Big bursts of color, those that go beyond pillows and other small textiles, can feel a bit scary, but bold moves like these can easily take a room to the next level.

One of the most popular ways to get big color into a space is through an accent wall; one wall painted in a bold or interesting color that’s used to highlight the entire space. Accent walls are great, but they’re only the first step.

There’s a whole world of color that’s just waiting to enliven your favorite rooms. Here are a few suggestions for fun things you can do to bring color to your home beyond the statement wall.

Color blocking

Color blocking is a gorgeous technique for creating layered spaces with lots of depth and sophistication. It consists of filling a room with different shades of the same color. As they overlap, the different iterations of color seem to blend together, creating a warm and enveloping effect, even with cool shades.

As this living room shows, everything in the space doesn’t have to be the same color. The complementary shades of blue on the sofa, chairs, and walls are the stars of the show. They create a beautiful, colorful effect.

2 blue chairs with sofa

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Embracing color

Even in rooms that aren’t color-blocked, embracing color on a large scale on the walls is sure to make a splash. Colorful walls create a striking backdrop, lending a higher sense of energy to everything else in a room. Working with bright colors on the wall might seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually pretty simple. It’s all about balance.

Rooms with strong wall colors invert the traditional approach to using color in a space. Typically, walls painted in a neutral shade are paired with small pops of color. However, colorful walls are best paired with furnishings and accessories in interesting combinations of neutral shades.

The seating, bookshelves, and wall hanging in this room all bring different neutral tones to the space. Taken together, they balance the strength of the wall color while appearing brighter and more energetic because of it.

Living room with mint walls

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline

New neutrals

Speaking of neutrals, they’re still a big part of the conversation when it comes to going big with color on your walls.

Now, we’re not talking about taupes and beiges. We’re talking about a whole class of new neutral tones that have been popping up everywhere for the last few years. Pinks, blues, and even shades of black are changing the way we see color in our homes, covering every wall with amazing results.

This color-blocked children’s room works because of the way that the light pink on the walls is able to act as a neutral. Unlike some of the room’s other shades of pink, which would be far too overpowering to use everywhere, this pale pink is able to nearly fade away into the background. This allows the other shades to pop while also tying them all together.

Pink children's room

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Painting the ceiling  

Someone once said, “You can’t have too much of a good thing.” So, if a color is good on the walls, why stop there?

Painted ceilings have been a growing trend for the last few years. They present themselves as the next logical step for colorful rooms. If painting every wall creates an enveloping effect, painting the ceiling takes it to the next level, especially with moody colors that evoke the sky, sea, or sunset.

This room takes us to the islands in a whole new way. Avoiding the clichés of nautical design, this space evokes the sea through color. By painting the ceiling as well as the walls, the room becomes a giant jewelry box, with golds, greens, and other shades of blue all standing out.

Also, this room proves that rather than making the room seem smaller, as some might fear, painting the ceiling actually expands the room by drawing the eye all the way up.

Teal room with teal ceiling

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan

Playing with chalkboard paint

Playing with color is just that—play. It’s important to have fun and take full advantage of every opportunity to create a fun and engaging space.

One of the less-utilized features of modern paint is chalkboard paint. Just like it sounds, chalkboard paint lets you write, erase, and rewrite on your walls over and over again with no damage and no staining.

When it is used, chalkboard paint is often reserved for kids’ rooms and play spaces. But artistically inclined adults can use it to create dreamscapes that change every couple of months or every day, depending on what they want.

Best of all, unlike actual chalkboards, the paint isn’t confined to just black. There are a variety of colors out there waiting for someone to use them to create something truly special.

The chalkboard paint in this room isn’t covered in doodles or drawings. Instead, it’s showing off the beauty of its matte finish, adding depth to the space.

Room with chalkboard paint

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline

Don’t be afraid of the dark

When it comes to covering your walls in color, one thing that often comes up as something to avoid is using a color that’s too dark. Typically, the concern is that dark colors will create a cloying effect that will make the room feel small and closed in. But the truth is very different. In fact, when it comes to covering your walls in color, dark colors can be some of your best friends.

Instead of making the room feel smaller and boxed in, the emerald green on the walls of this living room makes the space come alive, allowing the neutral furnishings to pop and bringing attention to the color and style of the art.

When working with dark colors, look for jewel tones and new neutrals, such as black. Then look for interesting ways to layer the wall color throughout the room.

In this space, the green of the walls is echoed in the rich tones of the antique rug, the art, and even the plants that complete the coffee table vignette. Whether your goal is color-blocking or simply creating a room with a deep and layered design, dark colors are nothing to be afraid of.

Living room with dark walls

Photo Credit: Bryan Mason

Eco-friendly for kids

Finally, whenever you’re putting paint on the walls, whether it’s one wall or all four, it’s important to be aware of the impact paint has on your living environment.

This is especially true when there are little ones in the house or you’re designing a room specifically for children. Fortunately, there are a number of eco-friendly, low-VOC options that carry almost no odor, dry quickly, and have minimal environmental impact.

Options like this are perfect, not just for kids’ rooms, but for every room in the house.

Children's room with pink couch

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

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