Color exploration

While some might be a bit leery about painting their rooms in hues like bold yellow, bright teal and vibrant coral, I tend to embrace it – Perhaps with a little TOO much enthusiasm. In fact, I’ve had to repaint a couple of rooms in our home just to tone down my penchant for all things color, and it’s taught me a lot when it comes to using this pretty powerful mechanism in my home decorating tool belt. Apparently less really IS more in some cases…

If you have been a follower for any amount of time, you know about my recent revelation that white walls don’t necessarily equate to a lack in color. Ever since pinpointing this fact, I’ve consciously decided to consider giving white walls a shot. And now more than ever, I’m seeing myself shift towards almost a PREFERENCE in white walls over colored. You have only to check out my Pinterest board of inspirational spaces to really feel that shift.











I think we can all agree that those rooms are colorful, even despite the white walls. By interjecting things like patterned rugs, richly colored window treatments and intensely bold upholstery, the homeowners have found a way to create an interesting space with TONS of personality, all without resorting to colored paint on the walls.

But now let’s shift our attention to the other side of the spectrum – literally. What ABOUT color on the walls? How do you make that work without coming off like you live in a circus tent? I think the principle here is, if you’re going bold on the walls, tone things down with layers of neutrals throughout the rest of the space. No, there’s nothing ground breaking about that statement, but I know from experience that putting that into play is a bit easier said than done. Here are some below that got it right.

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In these spaces, you’ll notice that the linens and upholstery tends to be a little more neutral (read white, cream or gray) as opposed to the bolder colors used in the white-walled rooms. Admittedly, some of the accent pillows still pack a punch, but that just helps bridge the gap between the neutral base of the upholstery and the statement made by the colored walls.

One last point I wanted to make about using color in a space is the middle conundrum. Those spaces that definitely interject color, but when it comes to a RANGE in color there’s a good amount of restraint. I’m not usually drawn to these spaces as much as others, because I think a rule of threes works best. If you want to run with a yellow and gray scheme, toss in a few teal pieces to give the space a little something different, a little personality. Or if you want to go with a coral and white scheme (like the room pictured above), throw in just a TOUCH of peach to break up the symmetry. Below is a visual of what I mean by restrained color.







Yellow (or gold) is really the wow factor in all three spaces, but that’s about it. Yes, it’s gorgeous set against deep grays and soft creams, but don’t you just want to see a LITTLE something more?

I encourage you to play with color and step outside your comfort zones. Remember that nothing is permanent and “playing” is what makes the evolution of design so much fun!

Hope you have a great and productive weekend.


8 thoughts on “Color exploration

  1. Clarissa

    Carrie, I absolutely loved this post! The rooms you featured are all fantastic (white walls and colored walls). Living in a rented studio, I don’t have the freedom to paint my walls. I’ve had to learn to bring in color in other ways like you mentioned. You’re right, white walls really can be fantastic.

  2. Krystin

    Wow! Some of the prettiest rooms I have ever seen! I am still finding my way with color as I had the same problem you had, I love all the colors! I did opt to paint the entire top floor of my open concept apartment a light grey however and haven’t looked back!


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