11 of the Coolest Ways People Used Color in Their Homes This Year

published Dec 26, 2021
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Credit: Viv Yapp

There’s color and then there’s color. Where one person may paint a room blue, another will take it a step further by painting it deep royal blue, adding in a pink table, throwing in a mural, tiling the floor, and wallpapering the ceiling. Pink could be daring for some, but others will go full-on neon magenta, then paint a red and yellow color block on top. 

These are the rooms from our house tours where design enthusiasts dared to do more. They didn’t stop at colorful. They pushed the envelope, experimenting with pattern, vibrancy, murals, graphic treatments, and more. If there’s anything you take from these homes, it’s that anything is fair game in design. If you love it, it works. That, and there’s never a bad time for wallpaper.

1. Shades of Blush

It’s so hard to choose just one favorite colorful moment in this three-story coach house rental in the seaside town of Margate, U.K. There’s the warm blush fireplace set against blush-colored walls and monochromatic trim. Or perhaps the scalloped orange and yellow wall border that has major ’60s surf vibes. Or maybe the dark pink trim and ceiling rising up out of bright pink walls. Fine, all of it. All of it is amazing.

Credit: Erin Derby

2. Groovy, Unique ’70s Vibes

If there were one way to describe writer and actress Julie Klausner‘s Manhattan apartment, it would be groovy. There’s color, pattern, more color, and more pattern. Everything from the walls to the ceiling has been touched by ’70s-inspired vibes. But in the bedroom, things get truly wild. There’s an iridescent purple-pink on the walls accented with a black and silver zebra mural, which then extends onto the bedding and headboard. It’s one continuous flow of animal overload in the best possible way.

3. Vibrant and Vivid Violet

Take a look at the guest room in this dreamy Los Angeles apartment. It’s the realization of every purple-loving person’s dream room. The shades of purple are vibrant, almost glowy, and cover everything from the walls to the trim to the bedding. There’s not an item in this room that hasn’t been touched by this not-so-shrinking-violet. And there are unicorns — because of course there are.

Credit: Carina Romano

4. A Retro Color Palette

This 860-square-foot Philly house leans fully into a retro-inspired color palette of teal, mustard, and orange. Set against white walls, these colors feel fresh and vibrant. They’re a nod to the past, but there’s nothing dated here. Peep the pink bathroom for an exquisitely preserved vintage tile.

5. Dramatic Maximalism at Every Turn

This house in Richardson, Texas, doesn’t hold back. From the incredible color-blocked outdoor space to the splashes of bright, graphic wallpaper around every corner, it goes all in on maximalism. One of the best spaces, however, is the deep royal blue kitchen. This vibrant shade is both relaxing and delicious, and when contrasted with a large-scale black-and-white mural wall and mesmerizing tile floor, it’s just too good.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

6. A Touch of Pink

Pink can be utterly sophisticated when done in a subtle, intentional way, and that’s exactly how it’s been done in this charming Québec bungalow. While not a conventional choice, the pink cabinets read as a lovely neutral, accented by the marble countertops and carefully selected pottery and accessories, all in hues of blush. The result: the softest, sweetest pink kitchen.

7. The Rainbow House

A recovering minimalist in Seattle went totally in the opposite direction in a historic home she’s dubbed the “Rainbow House.” Any color is fair game. There’s an emerald green kitchen next to a living room in shades of pink, a black-and-white polka dot laundry room with yellow trim, and a bright mustard bedroom with a coral pink canopy bed. Wallpaper runs wild and, either in spite or in light of its bold color, everything feels beautifully tailored. 

8. An Art Playground

This Melbourne rental apartment is proof that a neutral black-and-white backdrop can be the best canvas for colorful design. Funky furniture silhouettes, abstract art, and experimentation in color, line, and texture fill the home wall to wall. It feels like stepping into an art gallery, with all the focus on these incredible and thought-provoking pieces. An iconic red Ligne Roset sofa is the pièce de résistance.

Credit: Ola Zwolenik

9. Modern, Historic, and Colorful

Color blocking reigns supreme in this London Edwardian terraced house. Murals adorn the walls with spaces carved out by shape and color. Blush, orange, mustard, emerald green, and peacock blue are at home next to mid-century-inspired wallpapers, eye-catching tile floors, and stained glass. The home is both modern and historic, paying homage to all the decades it’s seen over the years. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

10. Pink, Punk, and Quirky

A neon diner meets pop star dressing room meets psychedelic funhouse is perhaps the most accurate way to describe this three-bedroom London flat. The striped pink and red living room floor, vivid pink walls, pink ceiling, pink furniture, and pops of fluorescent yellow are jaw-droppingly vibrant. It’s the kind of space that is almost too colorful to exist in real life — and yet it does. Would you be surprised to learn the inspired designer behind it all has pink hair? Of course not.

11. Vibrant Color and Unexpected Combinations

How many wall colors can fit in one 900-square-foot apartment? It turns out the answer is six. This Oakland, California apartment defines its spaces through color, with bright, rich hues setting off saturated furniture, vibrant art, and luxe fabrics. Intriguing color combos catch the eye, like the salmon, avocado green, dark blush pink, and peacock blue in the bedroom, and plants bring a sense of life to the space.