How to Decorate with Colour

While I can appreciate the nuances and textures of a neutrally decorated room, colour makes me and my home feel alive. It can be something as simple as a bright yellow vase or a blue cushion but a little bit of colour in a room can mean the difference between a room feeling a bit bland and something that tantalizes the senses and makes me want to stick around for a while.

PHOTO: Jack Hobhouse for Dyer Grimes Architects

As visual creatures, we associate places, themes and emotions together through different palettes. Psychologically influenced by surrounding colours, we should pay more attention on the ones dominating our homes and rooms. But mindlessly throwing our favourite hues together might result in an overwhelming chaos.

PHOTO: Amanda Nisbet

Try these 10 tips on starting to decorate with colour. Use decor accents hanging a statement painting to painting your walls.

1) Colour code according to your belongings
Can’t decide which colour for your walls, furnitures, or tablecloths? Take a look at what you already have and conclude a fitting palette for the rest of the space. Instant colour inspiration.

You could also use or find something with multiple colours already in it that you love. It could be a painting or a fabric or wallpaper. Try pulling the colours from this item into the rest of your room. Use cushions, decor accents and even picture frames to tie it in.

2) Combine different paint colours
Who says we can’t have a room with two colours? When combining different paint, remember to choose colours by one undertone for better harmony.

3) Contrast & Balance
Choose one dark and one light colour within a palette for contrast and balance.

4) Enlarge your space with similar hues
For a space to flow smoothly into another, paint the next room with the subsequent hue in the same colour family.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Homepolish, design by Annouchka Engel

5) Add fun with neon decor
If you find white walls too plain and paint too risky, colourful decor is a flexible solution. Especially neon decor, they are bold, youthful, and bring a dull room to life instantly.

PHOTO: by AMY BARTLAM

6) Consider a lampshade
Add a pop of colour with a lampshade in your room. A shade can really bring the eye up, depending on the size of the lamp, and make the room seem more colourful than it actually is.

7) Paint the ceiling or millwork
If painting an entire room is out of the question, turn your attention upward. Try a light shade such as a blush-pink so the room doesn’t feel like it’s caving in. Painting the millwork is another high-impact, low-commitment option. If you go this route, choose a darker hue, like hunter green or navy blue, and always use semigloss or shinier paint.

8) Remember: Black is a colour, too
This can be easily done with accessories, like a rope trim around a pillow or a black shade on top of a lamp. Though it’s not usually thought of as a bold colour, black has the ability to ground the room and give the eye a place to rest.

Photo: Nous Decor

9) Hang a Statement Painting
One striking piece of wall decor can be all you need to colour up a room. Coordinate room decor around its hues, but keep it simple.


Photo: Stuart MacIntyre

10) Use the 60/30/10 rule
This rule refers to how much of each colour you should use in a space for visual appeal. Two-thirds should be of a single colour, think your walls or flooring. Many people choose a more neutral colour for these as there is so much of it but if there’s no reason to let this deter you from using something a little more bold.

Just bear in mind if you are going to use a less muted colour for your walls or flooring, the furniture and accessories should play a secondary role and so should balance out any brightness by grounding the space. Thirty percent should be from your soft furnishings or curtains. The final 10% is where you get to have fun with an accent colour. Remember to use an accent colour at least 3 different times within the space to really tie the colour scheme together.

About The Author

Leslie Rossi is a thirty-something Vancouverite with a love for cocktails, lipstick, dessert & that perfect pair of shoes. Her lifestyle blog, A Life Well Consumed, covers topics of fashion, beauty, food, travel, design and home. A Life Well Consumed is a place for the modern woman. It offers lifestyle inspiration for those who want to take a chance. Be it with style, cooking at home and seeking to travel more often. Leslie writes honest personal stories, as well as featuring monthly series. She lives in Vancouver with her fiancé Curtis and their senior dog Piper.

Website: A Life Well Consumed
Instagram: @alifewellconsumed
Twitter: @LeslieRossiALWC

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