Introducing color to your home

Home décor may be considered largely a matter of personal taste, but there are a few basic rules that most people understand.  For example, lighter colors on walls, floors and ceilings can make small rooms look bigger, whereas darker colors shrink spaces so that larger rooms appear more intimate.  In fact, astute use of color is an important tool when it comes to home decorating, and there are a few tricks to introducing color that are really effective and surprisingly easy.

Work smarter not harder

Painting walls, choosing floor coverings and selecting major items of furniture such as sofas, tables and chairs are the most familiar ways of adding some color to each room, but it’s also possible to introduce color into the home without undertaking major refurbishment work or spending a fortune. 

In a living room, bedroom or den, for example, decorating just one wall in a contrasting color can change the orientation of the room and provide a feature or point of interest.  Selecting a wall and using stencils to create a bold pattern or colored motif along one surface of the room can achieve the same effect.

In a dining room, brightly colored table linen can transform the dining area.  In addition, matching or contrasting slipcovers for chairs can enhance the effect.  Slipcovers for armchairs and sofas, plus bright scatter cushions, are also effective in living rooms and bedrooms.

In kitchens and bathrooms, adjustments to cabinet hardware are an easy way for homeowners to add color without painting any surfaces, replacing tiles or carrying out any other remodeling projects.  Cabinet pulls come in fabulously outrageous shapes and shades, including purple, terracotta and the “it” color for 2013 – deep emerald.

Don’t forget the outside world

With a vibrant palette of colors brightening up the inside of a home, it's also worth considering ways to make the best of the exterior.  Many properties have walls made of permanently colored brick or other materials, so in this case, splashes of color can be introduced most easily around door and window openings.  Most color experts agree that the best way to treat contemporary homes is to stay away from extremes – so when choosing window and door surrounds to modify, aim to soften any existing colors while avoiding very dark hues and bright white, if possible. 

Shutters are another great way to add interest and color to wall openings.  Interior shutters come in a variety of designs and colors and can, of course, be seen through glazed openings.  From the outside, they may be visible through windows and patio doors.  Advances in design and technology mean that nowadays, quality shutters can be installed on doors as well as windows, including sliding patio doors.  Shutters are a great way to control the amount of light in a room without compromising on privacy.

In design terms, color-matched shutters work well with most existing interior décor choices.  Because they take up a lot less room than drapes, shutters make a stronger statement than window blinds.  They can also fold open or let light in simply by tilting the louvers.