As humans, we are naturally drawn to color. It has the power to excite us, soothe us, ground us, or draw us in. More than any other single factor in a room, color can set the mood and govern our emotional response to the spaces we inhabit.
Most frequently we turn to paint—or wallpaper—to establish the base tone in a room. However, while the color of walls and ceilings are critical, there are other ways to introduce color that are less permanent and simpler to implement.
1. Area Rugs
A great way to make a statement in a room is to address one of the largest pieces of real estate: the floor. I often look to a bold, colorful area rug as a foundational element. Rugs are also one of the best places to start when devising an overall palette.
2. Painted Furniture
I find it hard to resist brightly colored wooden chairs or tables. In fact, their siren calls can be so seductive that I always double check that they really achieve what I want and in fact go with the other plans for the space. Sometimes, though, the rest of the room just needs to step back in order to accommodate these beauties.
3. Upholstered Furniture
There are nearly limitless options for upholstery colors, and the trick here is to ensure that the pattern fits with the larger design scheme. Stock colors are often less expensive and/or available immediately. However, personalizing with custom upholstery (usually referred to as C.O.M., or customer's own material) adds depth and character—and opens up opportunities not available in standard fabrics.
4. Bedding + Throw Pillows
The best thing about adding color with bedding is that it's easy to swap out seasonally, weekly, or even at a moment's notice. The biggest challenge here is to find sheets that are comfortable. Once you find what helps you sleep, get a second set in another color!
5. Window ware
This is more permanent than a lot of other furnishings, and as always, I start from a place of functionality. It's also important to remember how much the color of the drapery, blinds, or other window ware will reflect color back into the room. For these reasons, we often pick neutrals, but to really create a dynamic space, this can be the best opportunity to fill it with yards and yards of colorful fabric.
6. Kitchen Backsplash
You can be forgiven for thinking that this is another example of a permanent decision. The reality is that the backsplash represents one of the easiest elements to swap out when updating a Kitchen. So, don't be afraid to go with something unique and colorful. This is also one of the last elements to go into a renovation, so you can leave yourself some time to decide....
7. Bath Accent Tile
Unlike the Kitchen, what goes in a Bath is in fact more likely to remain, so this takes more thought. Get samples and live with them—under the proper lighting—to see how they feel. One trick for the Bath: tread lightly in the green family; no one looks good when cast in that light.
Truly a unique option for introducing color and personalizing a space is through elements such as plumbing fixtures, hard-wired lighting, and fittings or hardware such as towel bars and handles. There are many "standard" metal finishes, but why not go out on a limb with a bold color?
9. Decorative Objects
By far the easiest and least commitment opportunities for introducing color are through decorative objects, sometimes called objet d'art. Bowls, vases, sculptural elements...they come in every imaginable color and style, and just like when shopping for any artwork, the key is to find a connection to the piece. That connection can be personal or emotional or just realizing that you like it and it makes you happy. And sometimes what draws you in is simply the color itself...!