Color Guide for Home Decor

Are you a lover of bold color? Does a sensible, neutral color palette bore you to tears? Are you constantly hearing from friends and family that your space is “too much”? Or has a color choice you loved at first quickly worn out its welcome?

Those of us who love bringing tons of color into our spaces always know that we’re living a little dangerously. Like a trendy new haircut, we often take risks on choices that we’re embarrassed by later. Thankfully, a basic design rule can help us indulge our desire for vibrant colors while minimizing the risk of total disaster:

Use a neutral canvas as the backdrop for colorful accents.

This simple rule will save you time, money, effort, and embarrassment if a beloved trend burns out too quickly.

So how to you define what counts as the canvas? These are the items in your home that are some combination of large, expensive, and take a lot of effort to replace.

Large furniture items like your sofa and dining table fall into this category. These are pieces that you want to invest in for the long-term, so you need them to be flexible enough to handle changes in your decor that happen over the years. The same goes for flooring, built-in cabinetry, and fixtures. You don’t want to have to gut your kitchen every time with want to switch up the look of your kitchen, or rip out your carpeting because you’re changing the color-scheme in your bedroom. Choose neutrals for these items to create a flexible backdrop for your home decor that will give you a ton of room to play.

Now comes the fun part, adding color. You’ve got tons of options for bringing in the colors you want, and all of them offer the benefit of being easy to change and, depending on your choices, fairly budget-friendly:

  • Accent walls – you can put a wild color on your wall, just limit yourself to one instead of all four. You’ll create a dramatic effect without overwhelming the space and making it feel smaller.
  • Textiles – pillows, curtains, area rugs, throws. These are so easy to change you can keep a stash in the linen closet and change the look of your home with each passing season.
  • Accessories – books, plants, objets d’art, candles, framed, photos. If you’re a bit of a maximalist and you love having things on display, this can be a great place to bring in color.
  • Light Fixtures – looking for something more unexpected than a throw pillow of coffee table book? Try adding color to a sconce or side lamp for a surprising pop.
  • Small Furniture – an ottoman or slipper chair can be a great place to show some reach character and whimsy in a space. Bonus points if you choose an item that fits a slip cover or is easy to re-upholster yourself.