Home Decorating Interiors 101: Decorating with Pops of Color

Interiors 101: Decorating with Pops of Color

How to use vibrant hues in small doses to wake up your decor

The decorating dictum to “add a pop of color” has become so clichéed that some decorating magazines have banned the phrase from their pages. However, there is a reason the old chestnut has endured: Just a small hit of bright color can completely transform a room from nice-but-bland into something that feels fresh and lively. And because the injection of color is small, it can easily be changed or layered onto--a boon for decor enthusiasts. Here’s how to use those famous pops to great success:

01.
Start with a quiet base.

Pops of color have the most impact when they play off of a more neutral or washed-out foundation layer. Whether it’s a true neutral, pure white, or a muted tone like denim blue, a quieter hue will let your accent color come forward as the star. A versatile foundation layer will also mean you can try different colors later on down the road.

02.
Try a pop in every room.

Multiple studies have shown that color makes people happy. Challenge yourself to add at least one dash of color to every room of your house—throw pillows, side chairs, wall art, bedding—and repeat some of the colors from room to room. Adding these zips of visual energy in a limited palette will give your house a designed-by-a-pro feeling.

03.
Let complimentary colors pop together.

If you want to take your color energy to the next level, choose two hues from opposite sides of the color wheel and use them in a big way in a white room. The effect will be bright and bold, but will still feel balanced because the colors are natural opposites. However, tread carefully with red and green: These colors almost always read as Christmas. But do play with slightly off complementary hues, like pink and green, a classic combo we use often at Annie Selke.

04.
Choose the intensity that’s right for you.

A pop of color can be a single note in an otherwise neutral room, like one absolutely vibrant throw pillow, but you can also use pops as part of a symphony of hues. When working in a multi-color scheme, pick a color leader to dominate (that can be a neutral!), and relegate two to three others to supporting roles.

05.
Use color blocks to anchor your space.

High-impact doses of color need not be limited to accessories or small furniture. A sofa, armoire, rug, or any piece that takes up a significant amount of visual space can be a pop of color. The key to using larger pieces as your color moments is to keep the overall palette in balance. If you’re considering an investment piece in a bright color, find a way to test drive it. Take a photo and print it out, then draw in the new colorful piece with a marker. If you’re considering a brightly colored sofa, consider buying a couple yards of fabric in the hue and draping them over your current couch to get the feel for it first. For a rug, you might even tape down pieces of colored paper!

06.
Shop for pops!

Now that you’ve got ideas for how to use them, pick a few colorful accents to weave into your own home. Start small with some brightly-colored taper candles or napkins, then work your way up to larger accessories like a throw blanket or accent pillow. We can guarantee that once you start to feel the energy little hits of color bring your space, you won’t want to stop!

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