10 Hot Color Tips from the Pros

Let the color wheel turn, discover a few secrets, and get inspirations for your space


Color somehow affects our perceptions and moods so choosing the palette for our space is as important as the things that we put in them. Keep in mind that you don't have to be afraid when working with color. There are no strict rules, but with the tips below and just the right balance of enthusiasm and restraint, you can transform your home and make the different shades work for you.

Main photos from: Style Files and Interior Designipedia via The Kuotes.

Let color take a backseat to fab furnishings and accessories

“When I do exhibit design, I prefer to keep it quiet by sticking to whites and dusty pastels,” relates designer Carlo Tanseco. “If you use too many bright colors, (they) eat up the items. I apply this principle to home interiors. If a homeowner has beautiful and unique home furnishings, it is best to use muted colors to make the pieces stand out.”

Photo from Style Files.

Highlight architectural elements with bright color

An alcove, archway, windowpane or door painted in a contrasting color to its surroundings can further define the architectural character of the house and add an unexpected, pleasant touch to it—imagine seeing a bright red door in the midst of a white room.

Photo from Remodelaholic.

Use vibrant color to add spark to a minimalist home

Minimalist and modern homes usually feature open-plan spaces and stark furnishings. These areas sometimes yearn for color accents. Consider painting one wall a stunning yellow or any other pure color—doing so will avoid a cold, impersonal feel.

Photo from Decorpad.

Exercise caution when going monochromatic

It can be tricky when you try to match all of the furnishings to create a monochromatic effect. You might end up with a home that looks dated and reminiscent of a showroom. Avoid this by choosing furnishings and paint in varyling light and dark shades, and injecting complimentary colors or neutrals.

Photo from Stylizimo.

Unify a large collection of home accessories by arranging them into color groups

Displaying tons of knickknacks in different colors can look cluttered and may turn your space into an eyesore. To counter this, try arranging your pieces in small groups of color families. Consider putting the beige and neutral-colored accessories in the foyer and the brightly colored ones in the kitchen. Work on this as you would when setting up a vignette. Play with different heights, shapes, and textures to keep it from looking like a store display.

Photo from Sheerluxe.

Use earthy palette to add sophistication to a room

Colors like stone, camel, oyster, oatmeal, khaki, and shades of beige can make a room look elegant. If you're planning to work with any of these colors, you can choose sage green, eggplant purple, or cinnamon as accent hues.

Photo from Lark & Linen.

When in doubt, use white

“All permutations of white always work, you can never go wrong with that,” says Tanseco. White interiors look clean, serene, and bigger than they really are, while white furnishings look chic, expensive, but not too formal. The bonus? Any other color goes well with it. Try variations of white in its cool (oyster, silver-gray) or warm incarnations (beige, cream, eggshell). 

Photo from Planete Deco.

Create a color board before decorating or furnishing a room to avoid mistakes

“I begin from a concept, a feeling or theme,” says furniture and accessories designer Debbie Palao. “I usually prepare a texture and color board first with cut-ups of inspirational photos that best express my theme, a kind of collage.” To make your own color board, follow these easy tips:

Find a patterned fabric, magazine clipping, painting, or snapshot of a place that has all your favorite, inspiring colors. Put a sample swatch or photo of it on a large tray or pin it onto a corkboard.

Choose the lightest, most neutral color from your main fabric or painting and ask for paint or fabric swatches of this hue. This will become your dominant or background color, which you can use on walls and large pieces of furniture.

The more vibrant, bold colors in your main fabric or picture will become your accent colors. Get paint, tile, and fabric samples with these colors and add them to the board. You can use these on drapes, pillows and small accessories.

Take a snapshot of this color board and bring it with you as a reference whenever you shop for your furnishings and accessories.

Photo from Interior Designipedia via The Kuotes.

Check how the quality of your light will affect the color of your room

Since color is a function of light, putting the two together should always be a major consideration. Subject your swatch of your intended color to both daylight and the artificial lighting of that room—it may look totally different at night.

Photo from Decouvrir Lendroit du Decor.

Use color to define a mood

Basic colors have symbolisms and each one has a natural psychological effect on people and their surroundings. Photographer and artist At Maculangan says that yellow and red are the colors that immediately catch his eye and move him. “They say that yellow represents intelligence and red, strength,” he explains. 

To learn more about color psychology, click here.

Photo from The Budget Decorator.

More on

5 Unexpected Color Combos that Work

Color Options for Every Room

Building 101: Choosing the Best Colors for Your Space


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