The most common design dilemma Modsy designers encounter is how to add color to a room. It makes sense, because color brings a space to life and gives it a personal touch that feels ‘you’.
Color is also one of the easiest and most effective ways to change the mood of a space. Painting a room is probably the fastest and boldest way to add color, but what if that’s off the table because you rent? Or what if you’re just not ready to commit to painting a whole room? What’s the best way then to add pops of color in small ways then?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here, we break down some stylish ways to liven up your spaces with color—no paint required!
But First… How to Think About Adding Color to Your Room
Landing on a color palette, pairing or combination can be tricky. Where do you even start and how do you know what colors work well together?
Before anything, consider how to choose a color palette that’s right for you and your space. From there, choose a base color scheme to build on top of. To help you get started, here are a few ways to add color using three common base color schemes.
How to add color to a white room
White rooms are blank canvases, so you really can’t go wrong no matter your color approach. But it’s important to consider the view outside your space, as those colors will add to the overall palette and look of your room, so be sure to keep that in mind when adding color.
How to add color to a neutral room
Neutrals tend to feel more organic and earthy, so keep to a few tones for more cohesiveness. Colors with earthy undertones, like browns, stone grays, and beiges, will complement neutrals nicely. Keep to the palette and avoid bright and saturated colors, like neons and jewel tones.
How to add color to a black-and-white room
Black-and-white spaces have an innate boldness to them, since they bring together two high-contrast shades. You’ll want to factor this into your color approach. The good thing about a black-and-white room is that it can support many different pops of color. Just make sure to consider how many colors you want to add first. If you go with too many, it can make your room feel overwhelming. Start with two (at most three) colors to layer on top of a black-and-white room.
some paint inspiration from our popular living room color schemes.
Otherwise, keep reading for our tips on adding color to rooms (without a paintbrush!)
1. Play Up Pillows & Throws
Easy, affordable, and low-commitment, try adding color with throw blankets and decorative pillows. You can start with neutral pillows, then add a few pops of color, or you can go all in with a bunch of colorful pillows.
Colorful pillows and throws are also great because you can swap them out seasonally to change up the look in your space. Just switch up the pillow covers with new colors and stow away the blankets and cushions you’re not using each season.
2. Hang Some Wall Art
Art is a simple and no-brainer way to add color to a space in the home. It not only creates a colorful focal point on your walls, but it also helps liven up the mood in a room of blank walls.
You can take two routes with colorful art: Invest in an original paint or print, or you can style up more affordable art in a stylish picture frame. Just be sure that the colors of your artwork tie back to the palette in the rest of your room. If you’re putting money behind a large art piece, we suggest making it the sole focus on a large wall. On the other hand, if you’re opting for affordable prints, try grouping several together in different picture frames for a gallery wall arrangement.
3. Try Putting Up a Tapestry
A more traditional way to bring color into a room is through fabric wall hangings and tapestries. This is another non-committal approach to color since you can easily swap out the hangings with the seasons or as your taste changes.
Contrary to what most people think, tapestries are relatively inexpensive, so you can go in on several pieces that can line up beautifully together. They usually have ornate colors and look to them, so try to balance your tapestries with more classic furnishings.
4. Install Pretty Curtains
Stylish draperies don’t get enough credit for how much they can transform rooms. Make it a point to choose a set of pretty and bold curtains to instantly add color to a space. And not only that, they also provide practical function by adding privacy and insulation.
If draperies feel daunting, remember that you can always change them up. Try starting with solid colors or geometric patterns, which are easy to work with and often more affordable. Also check out our tips on how to choose curtains.
5. Bring in Lots of Plants
Whether faux or real, greenery and indoor plants are one of our favorite ways to introduce color and texture into rooms. They bring an organic look to spaces while also providing fresh air and lifting the overall mood in a space. (We know for a fact that plants make people happy!)
You can start with leafy potted plants for small doses of green hues. Or if you’re ready to go big, bring in a few tall trees and plants. Of course, there are plants in all shades of colors, so definitely look around for ones that play well with your room’s palette.
And even if you’re not one for lots of color, plants are a great way to brighten up a minimalist space without breaking from the spare aesthetic.
6. Arrange Fresh Flowers
You can buy fresh flowers almost anywhere and they’re guaranteed to add pretty color and life to a space. It’s the simplest way to bring a burst of color to the entryway, kitchen, bedroom or even bathroom counter.
Try experimenting with different flower arrangements for new color combinations each week or month. If you really like how certain colors or flowers look in your space, you can splurge a bit and buy faux flowers for that space instead to keep it feeling bright and cheery all the time.
7. Layer Colorful Bedding
You can make a huge impact with colorful bed linens, bedspread, and a duvet cover. The best part about adding colorful bedding is that it’s already a practical purchase, and you can stock up with a few different sets so you can easily change up the look when needed.
Consider seasonality when shopping for colorful bedding: You may want a solid duvet as well as a patterned one so you can have two looks during the winter. Likewise, it can be practical to have a bedspread in a pretty hue along with a printed one for summer.
If you’re unsure about color in the bedroom, try a few colorful pillows and a throw blanket. But if you love it though, we say go all in with a mix of bright and bold bedding and pillows.
8. Opt for an Upholstered Bed
Want a bolder touch of color in your bedroom? Skip the wood or metal bed frame and go for an upholstered one in an eye-catching color!
An upholstered headboard opens up a whole new realm of color possibilities. You can lean into deep jewel tones, which will add a glamorous and dramatic look, or you can look to softer pastel hues for a more soothing look. But because it’s a bigger commitment and investment, first make sure if an upholstered bed is right for you. If yes, you can count on it being a piece of furniture that adds major style and color in the bedroom, even if everything else is neutral.
9. Pull in Colorful Dining Chairs
A set of colorful dining chairs is a surefire way to brighten up any dining space. It works because it adds a bright pop of color in a practical and stylish way.
Committing to bold dining chairs can feel like a big investment. If you aren’t sure how long you want to keep your dining room palette, test it out with a pair of extra side chairs to add color that you can easily move in and out of the space. Or you can try out colorful slipcovers for your chairs to see how it looks and feels. The key is making sure you choose chairs in a color you love.
10. Add a Bold Ottoman
In a living room, you can always add color with a small (or large) upholstered ottoman. Whether you choose one that functions as a coffee table or a pair that serves as extra seating, they’re perfect accents for providing a colorful touch. Start with a solid color ottoman for a piece that’s easy to decorate around, or if your style is a little bolder, go with a patterned design.
11. Roll out a Vibrant Rug
Bring a fresh perspective to rooms with a patterned rug that adds pops of color from the ground up. Because this adds color on a large scale, you’ll want to make sure you choose a rug that has a palette you can easily pull into the rest of the decor in your room. Think rugs with traditional patterns or black-and-white geometrics, or fun flatweaves.
However, keep in mind that colorful rugs will always feel bold no matter the size or style of your room. So to balance it out, you can always layer a colorful rug over a neutral rug, like a jute or sisal, which will feel less bold but still pack a punch with color.
12. Go for a Statement Sofa
To add color that makes a statement, anchor your living room with a colorful sofa. It’s a daring approach to color that’s always stylish, and it instantly changes the look and feel in a living space.
Because a colorful sofa is an expensive investment pieces, make sure you choose a color you love and one that has staying power. Some bright sofa colors that are surprisingly timeless are navy, mustard, soft pink, and emerald green. Pick one that you feel matches your aesthetic and you can easily mix with other furnishings and decor in your style.
13. Set Out Bright Accents
Use small accents to add color, like a bowl for lemons and fruits, a vase for flowers or a tray for colorful books and objects. It’s a fun way to make use of items you already have in your decor to bring a colorful touch to surfaces. Think of it as getting creative with grouping different colorful items, like a row of pretty painted ceramics or a bowl of Christmas ornaments. How you style it is up to you!
14. Make Room for a Pouf
Like an ottoman, a pouf is a stylish and functional way to add color to the living room or bedroom. A single colorful pouf is large enough to have an impact on a space without overwhelming the room with color or taking up too much floor space.
You can also opt for smaller poufs in bright colors, which lets you stack and stow them as needed. Try having a few pillows that complement your pouf’s colors for a more cohesive look.
15. Display Captivating Books
And last but not least, don’t forget your books! If you have coffee table books with pretty spines, show them off on a bookcase or built-in-shelving. They’ll make for fun pops of color that function like wall art and decor. Or you can also arrange your books by color, which also makes for an impactful look. It’s another easy way to spice up your space with something you likely already have!
Browse our gallery for more ways to add color!
Ready to add color in your home?