How to Make Color Work for Your Home Interior

A collage of pictures of a living room with vibrant green furniture that beautifully demonstrates how color can work in interior design.

Make color work for your home interior in surprising ways.  There is much to say about color and many ways to bring it into your home.  Selecting colors and employing them in your home can seem quite intimidating at first glance.  Let’s break it down and explore the many ways to use color in your interiors.

A living room with colorful furniture and blue walls that make color work.
A fresh color palette makes this room inviting (

Primary Plus One

If the use of color in your home makes you nervous, start small.  Choose a primary color and add a few accents in a different color.  You can keep this scheme or gradually add more accents in the same color.

A living room with vibrant orange chairs and a stunning chandelier expertly demonstrates how to make color work in interior design.
Pops of orange complement this gorgeous room (
Make color work in a living room with blue walls and a green couch.
A green sofa complements the blue of this space (

A Pop of Color

If you have a color scheme already in place and you want to add some zip, bring in a piece that contrasts.  This pop of color can make a big difference in your room.

A colorful living room with a view of the ocean.
Lime green invigorates this serene white space (
A living room with vibrant colored furniture in blue and red that masterfully makes color work.
A red chair adds a pop of color to this blue and coral room (

Color Under Foot

One quick way to add color to a room is with an area rug.  If you don’t want to make a big change, like painting or investing in a new sofa, an area rug can serve you well.  Choose one to contrast your current color scheme or use a multi-colored rug as a point of inspiration for throw pillows and accessories to use in the room.

A living room with colorful couches.
A bright rug grounds the space and introduces color (
A vibrant living room with a fireplace and a colorful rug.
An abstract rug brings color to this room (

Art Inspiration

There is nothing quite like art to make a statement and send your imagination soaring with creative ideas with color.  Take advantage of paintings and sculptures to be the starting point for making color work for you.

A living room with a blue couch and a fireplace that showcases how color can work.
A painting can be the inspiration for color in a room (
A vibrant living room with colorful furniture.
An abstract painting inspires color (

A Softer Palette

If you prefer a softer palette, pastels are a wonderful way to go.  Create a space that is calming but never boring with a combination of lighter hues.  Add darker shades with accessories such as vases, artwork and pillows.  Metallic accents also do wonders to raise the aesthetic quotient of pastels.

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A cozy living room with a fireplace.
Soothing colors in this lovely room (freshome)
A colorful dining room with a table and chairs.
Beautiful colors highlight this bright room (joystudiodesign)

Simply Elegant With Shimmer

A great way to make color work for you on a more minimal scale is to use one color with neutrals and add touches of gold or brass.  The shimmer adds texture and elegance to a space, while keeping colors to a minimum.  You will find a space highlighted with metals to be quite sophisticated.

A living room with a blue and gold color scheme.
A simple color palette with gold accents is elegant (Pinterest)
A living room with a green couch and a gold chandelier that showcases how color can work harmoniously.
Touches of brass bring elegance to this room (Pinterest)

A Perfect Balance

Creating a perfect balance of two colors makes for a stylish space.  Bring together two contrasting colors such as red and blue or two complementary colors such as blue and green.  These combinations work equally well in a room and are an easy way to work color into your design.

A living room with purple and green walls and furniture that makes color work.
Purple and green mesh for elegance in this room designed by Alexa Hampton for the Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2014
A dining room with vibrant blue walls and a lively green rug that showcase the power of color.
A balance of blue and green give this dining room welcoming style (

Mix it Up

If you want to truly make a bold statement with color, mix it up!  To make it work, use a palette of complementary colors (purple and pink) and add contrast (green, blue) with a few accessories.  For more impact and a lighter feel, keep the wall color subtle.

A vibrant living room with colorful chairs and a cozy fireplace.
Lively color and modern seating make a comfortable spot (
A colorful living room with blue and yellow furniture.
A colorful living room (

Surround Yourself in Color

Take a color risk that pays off with positive impact.  Paint the walls of a room and keep furnishings and textiles neutral.  Add color through accent pieces and accessories.  Use touches of black or white to ground the space and offer color “relief”.

A living room with vibrant purple walls and a cozy brown couch.
Heather walls create a warm and welcoming space (
A living room with a vibrant teal wall and a patterned rug.
Bold aqua walls (

Splashes of Color

You can’t go wrong with splashes of color in unexpected places.  An accent chair is expected, but a colorful lampshade is not.  Floating shelves in various colors can lighten up a wall and give your accessories the spotlight, as can wallpaper or paint on the back of bookshelves.

A living room filled with vibrant colors, featuring a bold chair.
Colorful fabrics add splashes of color (
A colorful living room with cozy couches and a modern TV setup.
Bring color in unexpected ways (
A colorfully vibrant living room with a sleek TV.
Paint the interior of shelves for a splash of color (

Neutral Background

A neutral background gives you a blank canvas from which to work your color magic.  Use colorful pillows, throws and artwork to accentuate a tan sofa.  For an open concept home, create a seamless flow of color throughout by using one color against a neutral background.  For a contrast to this method, use neutrals to accent a deeply hued wall.

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A living room with a beige couch and green pillows that demonstrates how to make color work.
Neutrals balance color to make color work in this room (
A colorful living room with a yellow couch and coffee table.
Yellow flows through this neutral room (
A living room with vibrant red walls and contrasting white furniture where color work is key.
A balance of color and neutrals (

Use Black to Pull Colors Together

Black accents in a colorful interior have the power to ground a space and pull colors together.  Black also adds depth, giving the room added dimension.

A vibrant living room with orange walls showcasing how to make color work.
Explore color in your home (
A living room with blue walls and a grey couch showcases color coordination.
Make color work with painted walls (

Make color work for your home interior by experimenting and taking inspiration from artwork, rugs and even the color wheel.  By observing contrasting and complementary colors, you can easily decide which colors work best together.  Don’t let color intimidate you.  Simply take a bold step and embrace the surprising ways that color can enhance your rooms!


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