Room Colors: An Expert Guide to Using Color in Your Home

Jul 6, 2021

Decorative home accessories

Nearly everyone has a favorite color. From a vivid turquoise to a cool gray, introducing your favorite color into your home is one of the simplest ways to add character and intrigue. Whether you’re stepping into the world of color for the first time or need some inspiration for your latest project, find out how to make color work for your home with expert tips and advice from our favorite bloggers.

Color is often thought to reflect mood and emotion, so think about this when selecting colors for decorating as it can help you create the ambiance in each room.

Sarah Myall, Whitehouse Interiors

White

White Bedroom

A great base color for any room, white has the magical ability to make spaces look bigger. Associated with cleanliness and simplicity, white is the perfect base color to build upon in any room. From ice white to ivory, there is a subtle shade to suit every space and it’s easy to update by adding any color to it for a refresh.

White. It’s a color you can’t beat, instantly transforming a home. If you thought painting your home white was too safe – think again! Don’t underestimate the impact an all-white scheme can have. I love using white paint in my own home – covering up ugly features and creating a blank canvas. It is the ultimate room freshener and of course it will never clash with anything. What’s not to love? - Maxine Brady, We Love Home Blog

Black

From the little black dress to the classic black suit, this is a shade favored in most peoples’ wardrobes for failsafe style, but what about in our homes? Associated with classic sophistication and formality, it’s surprising that black isn’t used more throughout interiors.

People are afraid of making spaces look gloomy or dark, but black can be utilized in any space without creating such an atmosphere. Paired with the right complementing colors and textures, black can really enhance a space and create an effortlessly elegant setting. Black is a great choice for adding drama to a room and can be a great accent paint color to use in a modern setting.

If the room has plenty of natural light coming in, particularly onto the wall that you’re painting, black can look stunning. Go bold with furniture and décor; you’ll find that the dark background makes bright colors ‘sing’. - Jude Gregory, Domain

Yellow

Yellow Living Room
UnitedPhotoStudio / stock.adobe.com

Bright and happy, yellow is the color of sunshine and summer and is undeniably cheery in its effect. However, from the wardrobe to interiors it can be a tricky color to work with. Depending on the atmosphere you want to create, calming and relaxed to vibrant and productive, yellow can work well – it all comes down to the hue.

Muted tones will bring a soothing quality to a bedroom or living space, whilst bright and bold shades are ideal for an uplifting atmosphere in a home office or kitchen. Try yellow in a hallway to expand the sense of space and create a subtle style statement.

The best rooms in which to use yellow are hallways as these are usually dark and yellow is a welcoming color, and also in the breakfast room to help create a sunny, happy way to start the day.

It is best to avoid using yellow in the bedroom. Yellow, being one of the psychological primaries, relates to the emotions. To sleep in a room that is decorated using yellow will mean that over time you’ll wake up irritable and annoyed. Even when you’re asleep the psychological properties of a color are still at work! Babies’ frequencies are very sensitive so avoid using cream, which also contains yellow. - Karen Haller, via The Design Sheppard

Purple

Purple Sofa
archideaphoto / stock.adobe.com

Purple can bring the perfect touch of sophistication and glamour to your interior space. An evocative shade, purple can create a dramatic setting when a darker shade is used in the color scheme, ideal in a dining room. Alternatively lilac and heather shades can bring a calming influence to a room, perfect for a bedroom’s interior scheme.

Deep purples are a color trend we are starting to see filter through into interiors and these look great on a gray sofa for a warm, inviting feel. For a softer Scandinavian look, combine pillows or throw pillows in muted tones of putty and taupe with throws in knitted textures to create a comfortable arrangement. - Jamie Borman, Sofa Workshop

Pink

Pink Living Room
J.Zhuk / stock.adobe.com

Since millennial pink had its moment in 2017, pink has become synonymous with modern and stylish interiors. It’s a great shade to use with many other colors, from the classic pairing of gray and blush to ballet slipper pink and navy blue. It’s wonderfully versatile and so simple to get right. Even a pink side table or coffee table can work in the right setting – it’s much more of a neutral tone than you might think.

You don’t have to have an overly-girly home to pick a pink statement couch for your living room. In fact, sometimes a pink sofa works best when it feels completely unexpected, like in a modern space. - Leah Bourne, Stylecaster

Red

Photographee.eu / stock.adobe.com

Red is a very popular choice of color within home interiors. From the dark and effortlessly glamorous Marsala to bright cherry reds and scarlet shades, red will bring warmth and liveliness to any space.

A great choice for the dining room, it will serve as the perfect backdrop to dinner parties and family gatherings – consider a bold pendant light with an antique style light bulb for a classic look. Complement your choice of red by offsetting it with cream or lighter shades and layer with dark woods and rich leather textures.

Red is great in the home because it can be used to create a classic iconic statement. Different shades of red work better depending on the season. For example, I take color inspiration from nature, and how it adapts to the changing seasons. In spring, bright, rosy red apples are my inspiration as they signal a bright start to the new year, then in winter, dark berries inspire warm cozy designs. Red is my go-to color to create an inviting look and I like to use color in the home with accessories such as a tablecloth or napkins – it instantly warms up a cold kitchen or dining room. As a color, red works really well in a pattern – think check, stripe or printed – it allows you to use the color without overwhelming the space. - Kristina Lindhe, Lexington Company

Gray

Gray has made quite the comeback in recent years. Changing from a play-it-safe shade to an Instagram favorite, it has seen a huge increase in popularity thanks to coveted Scandi styling.

Pared-back with white and black accents or mixed with pops of bold colors such as pink or yellow, gray is as versatile as white when it comes to the home. Cool and calm gray is ideal in the bedroom or bathroom and works brilliantly when different tones are layered together.

Gray isn’t a color that a lot of people choose to use in their home decor. That’s probably because gray tends to be associated with dreariness and depression. It also tends to be a formal color which means it’s often avoided in homes that seek to be a place of fun self-expression. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Gray is a terrific color that can offer a soothing, cooling presence for a room. It’s a neutral color so it works well with many other color combinations. It’s a good choice for both a primary design color and for accent pieces. - Kathryn Vercillo, Writer & Crafter

Neutral

To some, neutral may be boring, but there is a reason that many designers, such as Kelly Hoppen, love neutral. It’s the simple, effortless style it creates. Calm and cool, neutral interior schemes can work in any space in any type of house, a great all round versatile choice.

A burst of color adds instant interest to a room, but I believe the scope for neutral tones in the home are often overlooked. Gentle taupe-colored walls off-set original features such as Victorian cornicing perfectly. Match the threads of your embroidery to backing fabrics such as cottons, voiles or leathers to create texture in an otherwise pure living scheme. - Victoria Bain, Textile Designer

Blue

Blue Living Room
rh2010 / stock.adobe.com

Sky blue, deep blue, cobalt, turquoise, sapphire, navy: the color blue comes with a plethora of variations across the chart. Peace and stability are associated with blue, as is a general sense of calm and intelligence.

According to color psychology, blue is the color of the mind and is thought to stimulate mental activity, making it a great choice for offices and work spaces. Evocative of a clear blue sky or tranquil waters, blue also has a connotation with nature that adds to its serene appeal, which is why blue walls are a great choice for any room in the home.

Since S Interior Design is based in Phoenix, Arizona, the main source of blue in our landscape is found in the cloudless skies on about 345 days of the year. This presents a wonderful visual analogy to how the color blue definitely has a place in the color palette of a home, even if the main colors and tones used are earth tones found in a desert landscape. We often incorporate blue tones with an otherwise neutral palette as the accent color of choice to give a space a more balanced and inviting feeling. Blue visually ‘cools down’ the warm earth-toned palette many of our clients desire. - Suzanne Lasky, S Interior Design

Green

Green Living Room
Photographee.eu / stock.adobe.com

Eternally refreshing and always associated with new life and nature, green is a fabulous color for the home. A great choice for cooling a room down, it also promotes a harmonious atmosphere as it is in the middle of the color spectrum.

From dark rich shades that mix well with earthy wooden tones to retro muted hues and bold and bright greens, this is a shade that can work well throughout the home, and can be one of the most relaxing study or living room colors, especially a muted bottle green. Try and use it in spaces with lots of natural light to ensure it doesn’t overpower a room’s atmosphere.

What color looks terrific in any room? Answer – green! If you love color but just can’t make up your mind, you can’t go wrong with green. As the color most associated with nature, it has the power to relax and invigorate at the same time. Universally enjoyed, it is also the most restful color for the human eye in the spectrum. - Yasmin Chopin, selectAmaker

Metallic

Oleksandr Moroz / stock.adobe.com

Metallics have saturated interiors for years and they’re showing no sign of leaving. From the warming tones of copper, brass and gold to the cool, sleek properties of silver, metallics create a timeless look that will be on trend for seasons to come

Any season, the allure of rich copper is beautiful, but the autumn season seems to be the perfect time to bring out the golden hue in your kitchen. From hammered copper countertops to custom kitchen backsplash tiles, copper is the answer to the warm aesthetic questions in your head. - Ronique Gibson, Stagetecture

Monochrome

Photographee.eu / stock.adobe.com

Timelessly chic, monochrome styling is a great choice for a fuss free interior scheme. The actual definition of monochrome refers to schemes of black and white or in varying tones of one color. Monochrome works everywhere from the kitchen to the bathroom, with tiles being a great way to bring this look into a space. Monochrome is all about simple contrasts so try and incorporate this theme into the textures used too, this will help create an even flow through the room.

Monochrome – black, gray and white – lends gravitas to any floor, and can often be the most striking as it lets the pattern speak for itself. In Mediterranean countries where the light is brighter, the colors tend to be brighter. - Lee Thornley, Bert & May

Orange

Orange Living Room
Nikita Kuzmenkov / stock.adobe.com

Orange is perfect for those who aren’t afraid to take risks. Warm and bright, this color will make a statement wherever it is added in the home. It evokes the carefree vibe of the ’60s and ’70s, with muted tones helping to create a retro feel. Look for orange furniture to make a statement in any room, from the living room to the kitchen. Add bold pops of orange in the way of decorative accessories to your interior rather than investing in orange walls; this will introduce the color slowly and you can always add more if you find it works well in the space.

Contrast desert orange with midnight navy as a style statement against a neutral or white base. Jo Jaggs, Sheridan

Multicolored


The perfect choice for the indecisive. Multiple colors instantly brighten a room and add a sense of fun to even the simplest of interiors. This works best in rooms that are buzzing, so keep it in the kitchen and avoid it in the bedroom.

You can apply multicolored design pieces to spaces when you keep everything else simple. Consider space, vertically and horizontally. Depending on the house, highlight different planes through the wall color and also framed artwork. Good quality, bright-framed artwork breaks monotony and allows you to add in several colors and offers inspiration. It is very important to build an interior with time and care. I prefer to add color gradually rather than all in one go. Even if you choose white walls in living rooms and main areas, use bright colors in accessories – pillows, cabinets, throws and rugs – this is where you can truly inject your personality. Color can form the basis of your accessories and then add patterns on top like chevrons, stripes and optical illusions. Form ‘clusters’ of color and be playful – don’t be afraid to mix in several colors and move pieces around. - Cristian Zuzunaga, Zuzunaga

With so many colours to choose from creating the perfect space for you and your family is easy in any style of home.