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

Jul 26, 2019

Decorative home accessories

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

Colour is often thought to reflect mood and emotion, think about this when selecting colours when decorating as it may help you create the ambience in each room. Sarah Myall, White House Interiors

WHITE

White Bedroom

A great base colour for any room, white has the magical ability to make spaces look bigger. Associated with cleanliness and simplicity, white is the perfect base colour 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 colour to it for a refresh.

White. It’s a colour 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

Black Bedroom

From the little black dress to the classic black suit, this is a shade favoured 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 utilised in any space without creating such an atmosphere. Pared with the right complementing colours 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 colour 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 colours ‘sing’. Jude Gregory, Domain

YELLOW

Yellow Living Room
Image courtesy of derinphotography / stock.adobe.com

Bright and happy, yellow is the colour of sunshine and summer and is undeniably cheery in its effect. However, from the wardrobe to interiors it can be a tricky colour to work with. Depending on the atmosphere you want to create, calming and relaxed to vibrant & 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 colour 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 colour 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
Image courtesy of 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, 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 colour trend we are starting to see filter through into interiors and these look great on a grey sofa for a warm, inviting feel. For a softer Scandinavian look combine cushions 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
Image courtesy of J.Zhuk / stock.adobe.com

Since millennial pink had it’s moment in 2017 pink has become synonymous with modern and stylish interiors. It’s a great shade to use with many other colours, from the classic pairing of grey & blush to ballet slipper pink & navy blue. It’s wonderfully versatile and so simple to get right.

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

Image courtesy of archideaphoto / stock.adobe.com

Red is a very popular choice of colour 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. 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 colour 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 cosy designs. Red is my go-to colour to create an inviting look and I like to use colour in the home with accessories such as a tablecloth or napkins – it instantly warms up a cold kitchen or dining room. As a colour, red works really well in a pattern – think check, stripe or printed, it allows you to use the colour without overwhelming the space. Kristina Lindhe, Lexington Company

GRAY

Grey has made quite the comeback in recent years. Changing from a play-it-safe-shade to an Instagram favourite, 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 colours such as pink or yellow, grey is as versatile as white when it comes to the home. Cool and calm grey is ideal in the bedroom or bathroom and works brilliantly when different tones are layered together.

Grey isn’t a colour that a lot of people choose to use in their home decor. That’s probably because grey tends to be associated with dreariness and depression. It also tends to be a formal colour 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. Grey is a terrific colour that can offer a soothing, cooling presence for a room. It’s a neutral colour so it works well with many other colours. It’s a good choice for both a primary design colour and for accent pieces. Kathryn Vercillo, Writer & Crafter

NEUTRAL

To some neutral may be a boring colour, 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 colour adds instant interest to a room, but I believe the scope for neutral tones in the home are often overlooked. Gentle taupe coloured 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 Bedroom
Image courtesy of Bluebellgray

Sky blue, cobalt, turquoise, sapphire, navy; the colour 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 Colour Psychology blue is the colour 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 making it 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 colour blue definitely has a place in the colour palette of a home even if the main colours and tones used are earth tones found in a desert landscape. We often incorporate blue tones with an otherwise neutral palette as the accent colour of choice to give a space a more balanced and inviting feeling. Blue visually ‘cools down’ the warm earth toned palette many of our client’s desire. Suzanne Lasky, S Interior Design

GREEN

Green Living Room
Image courtesy of Photographee.eu / stock.adobe.com

Eternally refreshing and always associated with new life and nature, green is a fabulous colour 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 colour spectrum.

From dark rich shades that mix well with earthy wooden tones to retro muted hues and bold & bright greens, this is a shade that can work well throughout the home. Try and use it in spaces with lots of natural light to ensure it doesn’t overpower a room’s atmosphere.

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

METALLIC

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

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 colour. 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, grey and white lend gravitas to any floor, and can often be the most striking as they let the pattern speak for itself. In Mediterranean countries where the light is brighter, the colours tend to be brighter. Lee Thornley, Bert & May

ORANGE

Orange Living Room
Image courtesy of Nikita Kuzmenkov / stock.adobe.com

Orange is perfect for the those who aren’t afraid to take risks. Warm and bright, this colour 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 space 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 colour 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. Multicolours instantly brighten a room and add a sense of fun to even the simplest of interiors. This works best in rooms that are buzzing, keep it in the kitchen and avoid in the bedroom. However beautiful, bright multicolours do not create the sense of calm you want in the bedroom.

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