Adding color to your home

Household 6 min read

Color is one of the most important elements of any room. From the moment we first set foot in a room, the colors that greet us tell us so much about the space. Colors let us know instantly whether a room is fun and energetic, whether it’s calm and meditative, even whether it’s meant for kids or adults. And whatever the answer, the color in a room is invariably one of the first things to catch our eye and hold our interest. Color does a lot, which makes it surprising that so many of us tend to play it safe when it comes to choosing the shades that will set the tone for the spaces in our home. Often we opt for soft, neutral shades rather than powerful, room-filling colors, mostly for fear that the resulting look will be too harsh and feel out of control. But color is nothing to be shy about. Between the calmest and the loudest parts of the color spectrum there’s a whole world to explore. Here are our favorite shades that work to bring color home.

1. Lovely lilac options

Lilac is a beautiful shade that makes an amazing and colorful alternative to the more traditional neutrals when used in large quantities on the wall. This room perfectly demonstrates how the deep purple tone provides an eye-catching backdrop while still allowing the other colors in the room to pop. It’s interesting to note how well the color accentuates the room’s other neutrals, especially the white and brown, while adding a calming note to the blue, yellow and red accents.

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan (

2. The wonderful world of blue

Blue is the world’s favorite color; and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a color that never fails to evoke an emotion, whether in its deepest tones or its brightest, most energetic shades. And that’s why so many people love blue — there are just so many shades of it that are perfect for the home. That kind of versatility is rare in a color, and it allows blue to be used with other colors that could have a harder time pairing with other shades. That makes blue the perfect place to start when trying your hand at an advanced design technique, “color-blocking,” which consists of filling an entire room with shades of a single color.

The power of blue is on full display in this room that takes advantage of both its color-blocking and layering abilities. The bright sofa and cool, floral wallpaper fill the space with shades of blue while offering a comfortable contrast to the orange rug that’s on the floor. Orange is not always one of the easiest colors to find a home for in a room, yet it fits perfectly with the blue used here. The relationship is cemented by the way in which the colors are layered together. First, the rug has a few discreet notes of blue that closely reflect the color of the wallpaper. Then the pillows on the sofa combine both orange and blue, making the connection even stronger. Finally, the flowers on the coffee table add another layer of orange while reflecting the floral aspect of the blue wallpaper, thus showing that not all layers are created by color alone.

blue couch with blue walls

Photo Credit: Genevieve Garruppo (

3. Pops of pink and red

The more intense colors of the spectrum, while perhaps not meant to cover the walls, still have an important role to play in beautifying your home. Red is one of the strongest colors there is. A bright, energizing shade, red is perfect for adding the pops of color that put the finishing touches on a well-designed space. One trick for keeping the high-powered color under control is to pair it with another shade that’s similar, but softer, such as pink.

Touches of red are everywhere in this room, turning up the heat and adding a sophisticated note to the room’s color palette as a whole. The best thing about placing bright colors in your space is that there are so many ways to do it. Flowers and textiles are popular options, but few are as versatile and impactful as art. The red notes in the art in the dining room are well-layered and strike a balance with the room’s other colors. Because the red is so strong, it can be difficult to layer, but a prominent dose of pink in the form of a side chair makes the job much easier, offering a color that is close to red but that has a softer presence.

room with pink chair

Photo Credit: Jess Isaac (

4. Bold, bolder and black

Another way to blend a bold color seamlessly into the color landscape of a room is to pair it with a strong neutral tone. Whites and beiges aren’t the only neutrals to choose from. Certain shades of pink, brown, as well as grays of many shades can all be used to play a neutral role. But there’s no stronger neutral than black, which is perfect for both letting softer colors stand and making stronger colors look very much at home.

Black’s influence in this lounge area comes in the way that the color is layered through the rug, coffee table, and art. Among the many jobs that black is doing in this room, one of the most important is acting as a balance to the bright red of the sofa. By being so prevalent in the space, the black continues to act as a backdrop for the red along with the neutral gray of the wall.

living room with red couch

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan (

5. Mixing strong colors

When using strong colors in a space there are a few ways to ensure that the finished space looks intentional and well-curated. One way is by using patterns instead of solid blocks of color. The negative space in the leafy green wallpaper pattern helps to break up the color making it less overwhelming. And it helps to embrace a strong color by pairing it with other strong hues.

This colorful kid’s room fully embraces the use of strong shades. The pattern of the wallpaper breaks up the strong green, keeping it from overwhelming the entire space. The remaining walls are white, which helps to balance and soften the room’s stronger colors. Finally, the green and yellow are paired together along with a bright pop of red. Combining the three bright colors together keeps any of them from feeling out of place.

yellow and green room

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan (

6. Perfect combinations

Purple and blue are a natural combination of closely related colors that add a colorful jolt to any space. Long revered as a color royalty for cultures around the world, purple is a sophisticated tone that, in its various shades, can brighten a space. Paired with blue, the two create rich environments that feel not only colorful, but luxurious as well.

This space is a perfect example of using colors in small doses to enhance a neutral heavy space. Neither the blue nor the purple in this space is intended to be dominant, working instead to enhance the look of space designed primarily in a classic black and white color palette. The bright pops of rich color elevate the space, layered together with a green throw blanket and a warm, brown leather pouf.

living room purple curtains

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline (

7. Blush

Though not as bold as the brightest reds or as neutral as the softest pinks, blush is a wonderful middle ground shade that can give you the best of both worlds. This warm, soft relative of red and pink is a beautiful addition to any room. In a space full of neutrals, it stands out as moody. Among bright colors, it can blend perfectly for a high-end look.

This blush sofa makes a fitting centerpiece for the color story of this family room. Literally occupying the space between the soft lilac walls and a multi-colored rug, it acts as a moment of perfect balance that ties the entire room together. Best of all, the small lumbar throw pillow on the sofa and the art both combine the white of the walls with the blush tone of the sofa. The painting even includes a bit of blue from the rug for a complete space full of well-layered color.

pink couch

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper (


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