Room Recipe: A Foolproof Way to Make Bold Colors Work

Room Recipe: A Foolproof Way to Make Bold Colors Work

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Nancy Mitchell
Sep 12, 2017
(Image credit: My Domaine)

Nothing draws the eye quite like color—but when it comes to interiors, it can be a tricky thing to get right, especially when the colorful thing you want to incorporate into your space is incredibly bright or really boldly patterned (or both!).

One way to incorporate a big, colorful piece without overwhelming the space is to limit everything else in the room to neutral shades. This way, matching is not an issue, the colorful piece gets the attention it deserves, and the play of neutrals against each other means the room is rich in texture as well as color—the best of both worlds. Let's check out a few examples of this room recipe in action.

Above: You may find yourself asking "What matches a bright orange rug with fluorescent pink stripes?". Well, very few things? In this living room from My Domaine, neutrals are a perfect counterbalance to the powerful piece, creating a space that's vibrant but not overwhelming.

(Image credit: Sarah Lavoine)

This kitchen, from Sarah Lavoine via Desire to Inspire, might feel a bit flat without a little bit of color, but add that bright green table and it's just right.

(Image credit: Petits Papiers)

Set against a backdrop of black and white, this rich red Togo sofa from Petits Papiers almost glows. Bright colors can be particularly hard to match, though neutrals take care of the problem perfectly, complementing punchier hues without competing with them.

(Image credit: Marie Claire Maison)

This can also work in a darker space, like this living room from Marie Claire Maison. The combination of jewel tones (like that dreamy sapphire sofa) with gray or black walls is particularly nice.

(Image credit: A Cup of Jo)

In this living room fro A Cup of Jo, an emerald green sofa is perfectly paired with gray and beige pieces. Tiny touches of green throughout—from plants and accessories—complete the look. (The accompanying pieces aren't quite all neutral though—the rug, with its subtle hints of pink, proves that pink and green are always a good combo.)

(Image credit: Lonny)

From Lonny, here's another dark space with one big splash of color. Everything in this room seems to have a story, but the addition of the candy apple red secretary desk brings an extra level of interest to it all.

(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

In the bedroom of this London home, the colorful object isn't an object at all—it's the walls, which sport a colorful cobalt wainscot. Bright walls can be tough to pull off, but if this is a look you love, here's a way to execute it beautifully while ensuring that your space still feels sophisticated and grown-up (bonus points for living up the paint exactly to the highest piece of furniture in the room for that designer touch).

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