If you’re someone who’s bookmarked and pinned photos of maximalist spaces covered floor-to-ceiling in varying colors, patterns, textures, and even motifs, it can be easy to confuse this type of aesthetic with effortless . However, experts would argue otherwise, and this can be especially true when choosing your shades. While arguably the beauty of eclectic interior styles lies in the fact that they seem to defy rules, there are some important interior design color rules that you should learn before dramatically transforming your own space.
Yes, there’s a method to the madness of a boldly colorful space, and this can be true whether you start small (adding accents like artwork, textiles, and creative storage solutions) or go all out (painting the entire room). dramatic hue). Interior designers will tell you that this is especially true because color can have such a personal, emotional impact on you. You want the choices you make to be not just ones you can live with, but ones that genuinely bring you joy (or whatever mood you’re trying to create—but more on that later).
Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can follow even if you’re not working with an expert to change your home’s color that will make it a whole lot easier to set – and make the overall effect look like it she. Find out ahead of time what some designers believe you need to know before you crack open that can of fuchsia paint or spend a small fortune on rugs and wall art that ultimately don’t go well together. By applying a few of these color lessons to your home, you can finally nail that “accidentally chic” maximalist look that’s actually anything but random.
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search for inspiration
Your color inspiration can come from anywhere: a travel souvenir, a family heirloom, a child’s drawing. Everything, really. But fear not if you haven’t found your design muse yet. According to Mel Bean of Mel Bean Interiors, it might be as simple as flipping through photos on your phone. “Create an album on your phone where you store photos of any color combination that appeals to you, regardless of the content,” she tells TZR. “Some of the last combinations I saved are the purple fading to green found in an artichoke; the cream, caramel, black, and icy blue colors of a jaguar with piercing blue eyes; and the teal, red, lavender and aqua textures of a graffiti wall we saw on a trip to Athens.”
Another common source of inspiration could be a piece of furniture or an accessory you already own. “Most of the time, a client has something special, like a vintage rug, antique, or piece of art, that will help kickstart their color story,” says Georgia Zikas of Georgia Zikas Design. If it’s art you draw from, Melanie Thomas at Melanie Thomas Design has some advice for keeping the space harmonious. “Find your favorite piece that fits the space and start picking colors from the art (no more than three or four at the moment for safety reasons),” she explains. “For a bold choice and added contrast, choose the lesser used color in the piece to paint your walls. If the artwork is particularly bright, back off the art a stop or two to paint your walls.”
Choose your mood
“Color, used properly, can be used to create any atmosphere you want,” says Bean. “Understanding the impact of a particular color palette is largely intuitive. A room swathed in blush creates a soft vibe, but that can be changed by what’s added to it. Deep navy blue with touches of coral and red can feel sophisticated and dramatic. But choosing lavender, aquamarine and black dramatically changes the same vibe.”
The popular green furnishing trend? According to Aimee Wertepny of PROjECT. Indoors, this is a great option for anyone wanting to create a space that feels calm and grounded. “As a reflection of nature, green can literally soothe the soul,” she explains. Wertepny likes to play something more atmospheric with black in a room, even if it only emphasizes one corner. “We’re all about high-contrast design and lots of drama, and black is a sure way to set the mood when done right.”
And if your bedroom is where you pop color, Grace Brackman, interior designer at Maggie Griffin Design, says you can never really go wrong with blue — a hue she believes has a calming effect. And who couldn’t use a little more of that in their sleep sanctuary?
Try complementary combos
In the traditional sense, complementary colors are those that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For example: yellow and purple, blue and orange, and red and green. This is one way to consider combinations for your boldly colored space’s palette, but experts say there are other ways to choose duos (or trios, etc.) that complement each other. Elisa Baran of Elisa Baran, LLC loves the idea of playing with primaries — but with a twist. “The classic primary colors (red, blue, and green), but in less vibrant pigments, are a great way to add depth, uniqueness, and fun to your space,” she explains. “Think ruby red, royal blue and forest green. Adding accents in these colors with upholstered chairs or cushions is sure to catch the eye of your guests.”
Andi Morse, founder and lead designer at Morse Design, adds that “complementary” could also simply mean colors that go with the rest of your home. “If you have a gray home, choose colors with gray,” she tells TZR. “For example, many shades of blue have a gray cast. Blue and gray go well together.”
Or go for great contrast
Of course, part of the fun of creating a maximalist effect is choosing colors that are intentionally more shocking. Thomas suggests you can go this route by pairing bright, bold colors with muted, muddy colors. “Examples are olive with highlighter yellow, lilac with burgundy, mustard with chartreuse, chocolate brown with sky blue,” she shares. “The muddy color will soften the lighter color and the lighter color will liven up the darker color and add layers to your space.”
Start with a small room
While it may seem intimidating to try a dramatic color in a small space, interior designers like Zikas actually recommend such areas of the home as a starting point. Think of entryways, pantries, vanities and bathrooms where color and pattern can help you create an intimate and immersive environment. “I love dressing up an entryway, and I love using bold colors or interesting wallpaper or textures,” she suggests. “The depth of color creates a vortex that can ‘suck’ you into the room, inviting you almost to say, ‘Come on, I have more to show you.’
As for some specific recommendations, Thomas tells TZR that she has a few current favorite colors for such spaces. “Lean into small things and be bold with terracotta, grey-blue, rich buttery olive green or vermilion,” says the furnishing expert.
Commit to one (bold) color
Go one step further than an accent wall and opt for impactful floor-to-ceiling color. While this sounds simple enough, there’s actually a lot to consider here. For one, how much natural light you have in the room can help you determine how deep a shade to use. And experts say it’s incredibly important to do a paint sample before you start, as a can of paint you buy online can look very different in your home. “Paint a pattern on your wall and observe the color at different times of the day,” suggests Hawk & Co.’s Summer Jensen. “With lights on and off, in the shade, and in direct sunlight.”
Brackman likes to use this intricate color method in a study or anywhere you want to feel “moody and handsome.” In these cases, she opts for a dark green or navy to really pack a punch. You can keep the space mostly monochromatic, or break up the color with plants and other accents for a little more variety and balance.
Experiment with unexpected places
Why only stick to the walls when painting? “Don’t forget to add color to your closets,” says Brackman. “Leave white cabinets behind and opt for a more impactful colour. Think taupe or sage green in the kitchen. This will help you stay neutral but add more interest to your space.”
Another unexpected place to add color to a room? Paint the ceiling! According to the furnishing expert, this can significantly upgrade a room.
Don’t forget the remarks
Matte, semi-gloss, semi-gloss, the shine (or lack thereof) of your color can have more impact than you think as it can completely change the perception of a particular color. “If you’re using bold colors, the finish helps the color fit into the space,” says Nina Grauer, Dekay & Tate. “For example, in one of our clients’ dining room, the color palette includes black, white, mahogany and gold. The open floor plan leads into the living room, where a bit more color comes into play: lots of green, orange, rust tones, black and ivory that help bring the rooms into a more cohesive space. The two bold colors we went with [in the living room] were a rusty orange with a Venetian finish and an olive green with a semi-gloss shelving finish. If a lacquered/high gloss finish were used in the dining room, the color would overwhelm the room. If the same Venetian finish was used for the living room shelves, the room wouldn’t look as polished as it could.”