Design tips for adding a pop of colour

The primary colours (red, blue, and yellow) form the basis of the colour wheel. Secondary colours (green, orange, and purple) are the colours formed by mixing the primary colours. Tertiary colours (yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, etc) are the different hues formed by mixing a secondary colour with a primary colour.

Complementary colours appear opposite each other on the colour wheel. Although they are the strongest contrasting colours, they go together well. The colours that appear next to each other on the wheel (analogous colours) are also considered harmonious. Finally, colours that appear together in nature generally go well together regardless of where they appear on the colour wheel.

Design tips for adding a pop of colour

Helpful colour tips

  • First, choose a basic colour that you like and make sure it conforms to the use of the room. Use this basic colour for the walls, rugs, and curtains; perhaps in varying intensities.
  • Choose a consistent secondary colour for furniture and accessories. For a unified look, choose a complementary colour, or design the room in colour coordinates (for example, different shades of the same colour). You can also choose two secondary colours, but in that case, the colours should appear next to each other in the colour spectrum.
  • Be careful when combining two colours of different intensities. For example, placing strong colours next to pastel shades forces the eye to jump back and forth between light and dark. This can create a visually disturbing effect and affect the room's atmosphere.
  • Pair neutral colours like white or taupe with some fresh accents in the form of cushions, artwork, accessories, and throws in colours like red, green, blue, and even pink.
  • If you're uncertain about what colour to choose and want to avoid a room that is either too boring and restrained or too colourful, get advice from a local paint store or interior designer.

Inject colour with DIY projects

Want to make seasonal changes to liven up your room? Here are three easy do-it-yourself projects:

  • Re-cover a lampshade. Trace and cut out the shape of your shade with wallpaper. Glue the ends with wallpaper paste for a slipcover. Summer calls for a fresh lime green against neutral furnishings. Winter? Switch it up with a rich brown or red.
  • Create a fabric wall hanging. Sew a hem across the top and bottom of a one-of-a-kind piece of fabric and insert a wooden dowel at each end.
  • Paint the back wall of your bookcase an accent hue that coordinates with your room. 
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