How to embrace colour in a sophisticated way

There's no doubt about it – colour can turn a space that's lacking in personality to an area that's absolutely thriving.

Of course, splashing blood orange or canary yellow on all your walls without a second thought is brave, but it's not always the best long-term decision. If you're thinking about upsizing in future years, you want to be sure you can sell your home without any difficulties.

So just how do you achieve a sense of personality and flair, without overdoing it?

The answer is in the specific colours you choose, and how you combine them with one another. Set out with the key goal of ultimately keeping things sophisticated, and you can still afford to play around and have some fun with colour.

Fresh as a daisy

Yellow is a fun colour that's full of life. However, is it really appropriate for the home?

The answer is yes. By picking the right shade of yellow and pairing it with off-white, you'll be able to turn a boring living space or bedroom into a zone that's warm and inviting.

Pick a neutral shade with a buttery glow, like Resene Quarter Solitaire, for the walls. Then, choose a warm but not overly bright yellow shade for a feature wall or to highlight key features of the room. For instance, you can create a focal point in the living room by investing in a quirky yellow couch. Or cover beds with lemon-yellow bedspreads and crisp, white sheets. 

Yellow and white makes for a fresh, fun combination. By playing up yellow in a measured way, you'll end up with a refined rather than outlandish vibe.

Cool blues and greens

If you're after more colour for your interior design but are worried about taking risks, there's an answer.

Cool blues and greens add subtle splashes of colour, from the living room and kitchen to the bedrooms, laundry and bathroom.

Versatile shades include Resene Awash and Resene Bach. They paint a perfect backdrop in a range of rooms, whether they're shared or private spaces. Furthermore, they eliminate the need to drastically overhaul your existing furniture and accessories, given they match a number of colours, from neutral creams and greys to brighter pops of red, blue and even orange.

If you're all about colour but are wanting to play it safe, cool blues and greens are the perfect answer. Paired with polished timber floorboards, you'll achieve a homely, contemporary look. Perhaps you want a cosy feeling, in which case pair these shades with cream crown moulding and thick-pile cream carpet.

Warm neutrals with bright pops of colour

Another easy fix to a lack of colour in your home is to leave the walls alone.

Provided your existing walls are a warm white or cream, there's no need to touch them. Instead, add colour to spaces like the living room with bright picture frames, a bold, freestanding open shelving unit and an out-there lampshade (or two!).

Or bring in some colour by painting some frames or dipping some bottles, vases or ornaments in bold paint colours.

When choosing accessories, the colours themselves are not as important as the underlying tones. The undertones should have a warmth to them, in order to blend seamlessly with your wall colour.

White, black and pink

For a truly Parisian feel, why not embrace off-white, black and pink?

Start with the walls and paint them an off-white shade – think Resene Half Blanc or Resene Eighth Spanish White (the latter isn't French, but at least its influence is from the same continent as the land of pastries and fine cheese).

To really play up the French theme, add glossy black accents, invest in a loveseat and add some stripes too. Black trims around the windows and floorboards look great. For a particularly daring look, you could paint the ceiling black, but it's also fine to keep it an off-white shade.

Finally, add your colour. Pops of pale pink or richer, candy-like hues won't look out of place, given the strong contrast of black and white. The result is a truly sophisticated, chic feel.

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