How to Use Pops of Color in Interior Design

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on July 27, 2020

The formula for getting the most mileage out of your interior design is pretty simple. 

Start with neutral furnishings. Those are the investment pieces that anchor your space: a black velvet sofa with good bones, a sturdy leather club chair, a vintage walnut sideboard. 

Then layer in pattern and color with striped rugs, art, vases of flowers, accent furniture and even curated stacks of coffee table books

This approach gives you the priceless value of versatility. It allows you to update your spaces easily and affordably. 

Another reason this approach is recommended by our designers: Most people don’t tire of neutrals as quickly as they do color. That’s one reason relaxing spaces like spas are generally white, while places designed to energize, such as fast food restaurants or theme parks, are awash in bright colors.  

How can you use pops of pattern and color in interior design? Take note:

There are two surefire ways to choose a suitable accent color

Select colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. See how this pair of mustard occasional chairs punch up the tan sofa they’re sitting next to.  

Or go for colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This orange throw pillow is a wakeup call to a blue sectional. 

And remember that metallics complement any color scheme. Gold curtains add a touch glam to this eclectic den, which would look far more staid with neutral window treatments.

Living room

A great way to add interest to an expanse of monochrome wall is by hanging a collection of items in the same color family that have different patterns. 

This arrangement of handmade baskets, for example, brings texture and pattern into a bedroom without adding a lot of visual noise. When the homeowner eventually tires of the baskets, she can repurpose them in other rooms of her home and fill that space with something new. It’s a far easier swap than buying a new headboard or repainting the room.

Similarly, each of the six pink paintings on the white wall of this living room features a different pattern. They “speak” to the works of art leaning against the blue accent wall. 

The smaller piece features a similar pattern in gray, while the larger piece echoes the collection through color.

Navy blue paint for the bedroom

Finally, vary your accent color from room to room. 

You may live for bright pink and want to see it everywhere you go:=. A pink pouf in the living room, pink towels in the bathroom, a pink throw rug next to your bed.

But choosing one vibrant hue and repeating it throughout your home makes your place feel uninspired. A little variety is the spice of interior design, after all. 

Maybe a few pink flowers, scattered in vases throughout an otherwise dark and dramatic dining room, is all the burst of color you need.

Let our designers color your world. Find a style that suits you and let’s get started.

Words by Staci Sturrock