7 Easy Tips for Decorating with Color, According to Fashion Stylists

published Jul 27, 2023
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Credit: Erin Derby

Fashion and home decor have a lot of crossovers when it comes to styling — especially in terms of color. Whether you want to change up your home’s neutral palette, are considering an adventurous pop of color, or are just curious to know which hues pair best together, you can often look to fashion for some of the best inspiration and then apply those tricks of the trade to your interiors. To help you get started, I tapped a handful of top fashion styling experts to share the ways they work with color and their ingenious tips for decorating with different hues. 

For a foolproof palette, look to the color wheel.

Samantha Brown, a professional and celebrity stylist, says the same color theory principles apply to styling your home and wardrobe: Tones next to and across from each other on the color wheel work well together. It’s not necessarily just about the colors themselves — each have various shades that come into play, too, and Brown’s specific advice can really make a difference in setting up your home decor.

“One thing to consider is the vibrancy of colors,” says Brown. “Very saturated hues pair nicely when styled together, as do pastels.” By combining shades with similar complementary saturations, you can have a lot of fun with mixing and matching different colors to bring your space to life. 

Make gradual changes.

When decorating your home with color, you don’t have to go all in all at once. According to fashion stylist Naina Singla, it’s better to slowly start integrating new pieces, just like you would with your apparel. “I have found that people are often hesitant to make big changes to their wardrobe, so I always recommend they begin by adding color with add-on accessories like jewelry, a scarf, or a handbag,” she notes.

“To start gradually decorating your home, try painting a less central area, such as the mudroom, bathroom, or closet, and plan out the space using color and fun wallpaper prints,” she adds. This concept works well when you want to experiment with a new color without committing to a bold room makeover. 

Elevate your neutrals.

For those who lean a little color-shy, Brown says you can still bring some variety into your home without straying too far from neutral. “People often think that the urban rainbow — black, white, cream, beige, and gray — are the only neutral colors, but many other colors can work as neutrals,” she explains. For a more elevated spin on this palette, Brown recommends looking at navy, chocolate brown, dark green, and burgundy. 

Pay attention to fabrics. 

Just like fashion, fabric and materials are ultra-important in home decor, and Brown says fabric texture actually influences a color’s appearance. “Matte fabrics can feel neutral because they absorb the light, while shinier fabrics reflect the light and can pop,” she explains. With this in mind, it’s important to consider how your color shows up on different materials throughout your home and how you can use that to your benefit when decorating a space. Don’t go overboard with either; it’s best to use something shiny to balance out a matte appearance elsewhere, at least when it comes to fabric.

Credit: Erin Derby

Try timeless prints.

Prints can introduce a kaleidoscope of hues into a wardrobe, and the same can be said for home decor. When considering color from an interior design standpoint, Brown recommends honing in on specific textile patterns for inspiration. “If you find a pattern you gravitate toward, you can pull your color palette from there,” she notes. 

With this in mind, try opting for prints like stripes and leopard — both of which are considered classics — as your “pop of color” when decorating. “My number one go-to ‘color’ is leopard print,” says Nicole Busch, style expert and interior stylist. “It works for both traditional homes — paired with a leather couch and smoking chairs — to a loud print mixed with floral for the more adventurous.” 

Invest in staple pieces.

Another styling tip that works across both fashion and design? Prioritizing investment pieces. “With fashion, I encourage people to have fewer but better items in their wardrobe and to fill in the gaps each season with more trendy items,” Singla explains. She notes that the same can be done with home decor and recommends investing in higher-quality accents that feel timeless. “Once you have added those pieces, consider filling in the gaps with fun accessories and accents,” she adds. 

Edit your space. 

When it comes to style, Singla has her clients evaluate their closets on a regular basis; that way their wardrobes remain an accurate description of their current styles. “With your home, take the time to assess your decor every few years and make updates as needed so that your home environment feels happy and is a reflection of your style,” she says.