Simple Ways to Add Colour to Neutral Palettes

By on 25-06-2012 in Inspired By, Interior Design, Obsessed With

When carrying out Interior Decoration jobs for our clients, the most common question we get asked is how to add some colour to otherwise very neutral interiors.  The reason this is a common question, is the majority of people invest in neutral big ticket items, with good reason, you will get years of use out of a great quality black or white sofa, whilst you will might tire quickly of a bold orange statement sofa. So we find many of our clients furnish their homes with beautiful neutral pieces, but then struggle to inject some colour and personality into the room.    So here we have offered 6 easy ways to add colour to otherwise very neutral rooms.

1) Hang a bold print as a focal point.

Image Source: Desire to Inspire

This is a very typical modern family room featuring polished floorboards, white walls, a white wall unit and a grey sofa. The artwork hung on the wall totally transforms the wall, it has added a focal colour, with just a hint of yellow as a secondary colour, but it is also bold in its dimensions , slightly bigger then expected and very wide, following the line of the wall unit.

Image Source: Small Shop Studio

Once again, a typical room consisting of polished grey tiles and white walls, the furniture is neutral and the large colourful print provides the focal point for the room.  Imagine this room without that print, it would feel very empty and cold.  In this instance they have chosen to draw out and make a feature of the green tones by using a cluster of green bottles on the sideboard, and green glass balls in the middle of the table.

Image Source: Planete Deco

On first look at this room you think the designer has done something incredibly bright and bold, but on closer inspection, if you remove the photograph and the cushions, the room consists of white furniture, timber coffee tables and stools, and a white shaggy rug.  The unexpected scale of the ocean photograph and the intensity of the blue make a dramatic statement in this room.  The cushions almost clash with the blue making the room come alive, for a more peaceful look, some of the blue tones could have been carried through instead, but I quite like the energy of the room created through simply placing a vivid red in front of a vivid blue, two colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel.

Our top pick for a bold print from our Beyond Furniture range is the Sunburst print in yellow or orange, the bold proportions and textural component will make a bold statement.

2) Use a colourful or patterned rug

Image Source: The Design Files

Once again we see in this room white walls, timber floors and neutral furniture pieces.  The vibrant patchwork style rug brings this room alive and gives it character, colour and personality.  The tones through the rug still reflect the room, with the orange and red tones picking up on the floorboards and the leather of the chesterfield sofa, and the the neutral tones tying in with the walls and the beautiful fabric room divider.  These patchwork rugs featured heavily at the Milan show, so expect to see them appearing everywhere, they are a fantastic option as they are so easy to work with and a simple way of adding colour and layering in some ethnic character to the room.

Image Source: Apartment Therapy

This room featured a strong black and white monochromatic style, quite typical of apartments at the moment.  The owners have selected orange as a feature colour, selecting a plush orange rug to brighten the room, define the living area within the open plan space and introduce an energy and vibrancy.  In this instance they have repeated the focal colour through the orange print above the dining table, and selected a print for above the sofa that brings all three colours together, giving the total look a cohesiveness.

3) Books

Image Source: Planete Deco

With the number of wall units we’re selling at the moment, we are very well aware that many people are fond of this look, with good reason, it has personality, colour, energy and vibrancy and the only things in the room are a white dining table and chairs and a white wall unit.  In this image they have made a feature of the black doors, by opting for one black chair.  If you were to take everything off the shelves of this wall unit, this room would lose all its character.  Wall units are a fabulous way of ensuring your home represents you and your family, as in its very nature you fill it with your families items and it immediately becomes a treasure trove of memories and stories.  To create some interest, group books together, display some in colour groups, some in size groups, stand some up, lie some down and display your favorite pieces in amongst them.

Image Source: Planete Deco

In this room, again it is really the bookcase walls that add all the colour and energy to a room that is otherwise very neutral.  If you have a wall unit filled with items, experiment with drawing out feature colours like what they have done here with the blue lampshades and the yellow throw.

Get this look – love the idea of a wall unit? Our favourite from the Beyond Furniture range to recreate this look is the Vedi wall unit

4) Use Indoor Plants

Image Source: Japanese Trash

For those who love the neutral look, but feel like the room needs something to give it some vibrancy, consider using an indoor plant.  Because its a plant it doesn’t feel like you’re making a big statement, like perhaps an over sized photograph of a plant would be) but by the plants very nature it has a strong sculptural form, a vivid colour and the fact that its always changing gives the room a sense of energy.


5) Cushions and Accessories

Image Source: Planete Deco

The simplest and the most commonly used styling method, adding in coloured cushions and accessories is a simple and effective way of introducing colour to the room.  Without the coloured accessories this room is made up of a neutral grey shaggy rug, a white sofa and coffee table, off white walls, neutral blinds and a softly coloured print.  The trick to ensuring the colour you choose integrates properly is to take it beyond just cushions on a sofa, like they have done here with the throw, the accessories and the flowers, they have also used multiple shades of green and a blue, using just one type of green would have been very stark.  The best thing about this look is its very summery, and it can easily be warmed up for winter by taking out the lime green elements and replacing them with a darker jewel green like an emerald or jade.



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