Tips and Guides

Expert Advice: 5 Common Color Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Too much or too little of color can affect your home's overall look


Choosing the right color for your home can be a bit overwhelming as this means picking and coordinating the right shades for paint, fabric, wood, and other special finishes. Since many of us are not familiar with pairings that work and other details in design, we make a couple of oversights which could have been avoided. Take note of these common mistakes and how you can best deal with each:

Main photos from: Mad & Bolig and TheLovelyWall via Etsy.

Too much of the same thing

As much as you want the colors in your interior to blend well together, avoid being too matchy-matchy. The color of your sofa doesn’t have to be the same color as your walls. Using the same color for everything will void your area of depth and in turn will make it look flat.

Keep in mind that the colors you choose should actually complement each other but don’t necessarily have to match. Don’t forget to balance off with neutrals and/or add contrast with chosen accent colors.

Photo from Mad & Bolig.

Too much variety

Picking too many colors on the other hand will make your area look busy. Liking different colors doesn’t mean that you have to commit to all of them.

Do this in doses. A helpful way to balance off chosen colors is to distribute them in 60-30-10 percentages. This applies to walls, furniture, and soft furnishings. Remember that you should also allot a space (or certain spaces) where you can allow your eyes to rest—like a blank painted wall.

Photo from Oh Happy Day!

Relying on small paint swatches

Especially for bolder, brighter colors, more often than not, the color you choose may turn out to be too saturated once applied on your wall.

When choosing, hold your paint swatch against a white wall and imagine it as a whole. One trick would be to pick a lighter or toned down variation of the color that you prefer. Keep in mind that it's still best to test the actual color/s on your wall before painting the whole thing. To do this, buy a small can of paint in the color that you like and try it on your wall. Consider having it in different shades (you can ask your painter to adjust the color for you) and once you’re satisfied with a certain shade, bring a swatch to your local depot and have it matched.

Photo from Ebom.

Forgetting about light

The effect of color changes depending on the light it is in. Test your swatches under different types of light (both natural and artificial—warm white, cool white, and daylight). See how the color reacts to the light and then choose from there.

Photo from TheLovelyWall via Etsy.

Playing it safe

Some people choose mostly neutral-colored interiors because they are afraid to make mistakes. Don't hesitate to add a little accent here and there. It doesn’t have to be applied as a solid color, you can try patterns as well. Start with some soft furnishings like your curtains, a rug, and then maybe even color off one of your walls. 

Photo from Ultralinx.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

More on

10 Hot Color Tips from the Pros

Expert Advice: 4 Things to Ask Before Renovating Your Bathroom

5 Unexpected Color Combos that Work


Latest Stories

A Feng Shui Guide for Every Room in Your House

As we approach the Year of the Dog, it’s time to clear your space and balance out your energies at home

Easy Small Space Tricks From An Interior Designer

Solve your tiny floor area woes with these ideas

Manila's Historic Houses Are Grand and Beautiful

Let's take a trip down memory lane and have a look at the stately mansions from Manila's bygone era of grandeur

10 More Places To Visit in Antipolo This Weekend

Because there's always something new to experience in art, culture, and food at this Northeastern city!

6 Colors You Never Thought You Could Use in Small Spaces

It’s time to give your go-to white and neutrals a break

See The World's Largest Picture Frame in Dubai

Designed by award-winning architect Fernando Donis, it's a marvel like no other

10 Things Millennials Want In Home Design

Condo units? Check. Industrial-hip style? Definitely. But the other items on their home wish list will surprise you!

Your Modern Filipino Home Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

Add pizzazz to this well-loved style with these handy ideas inspired by a Tagaytay condo unit

5 Tips To Achieve Monochromatic Decor

Your home can look like a one-hue wonder with these design ideas

How To Work With Adhesive Hooks Without Ruining Your Walls

Get started on your DIY project ASAP with these helpful tips

A Lovely Resort-Like Home in the City

This family home in the South combines a bit of the old and the new, with tropical-inspired elements and a refreshing feel of the outdoors completing the timeless aesthetic

10 Ways To Use Patterned Tiles Without It Looking Too Crazy

Yes, you can mix and match patterned tiles! Plus, we give you important tips on how to install them.
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!