Design Ideas > Bright Is So Right

Bright Is So Right

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Bright Ideas || How to energize your space with just the right amount of cheerful color

Whether your decorating and style tastes stick to traditional or veer toward adventurous, a space that’s punctuated with bright colors can really create an optimistic mood. Sometimes it feels good to step outside of your comfort zone, and make your space more dynamic with a mix of saturated colors and patterns. It helps to decide if you want your room to have an overall bright color scheme, or just with bold-colored accents. Bright colors tend to stand out particularly well against white, but if you prefer less contrast, your background color can be a soft neutral like light grey, beige, cream or less saturated versions of your brights. Establishing the right color mix is key. If you’re a maximalist, mixing bright colors and different patterns will really bring your decorating story to life. In general, you’ll find a space that’s meant for company – like a living room, dining room or entranceway – works particularly well with bright colors, and gets conversations flowing.

Step outside of your decorating comfort zone and energize your space with bright colors and patterns.

Colorful living room

Color Profile || So which colors are right for you? One fun approach is to look inside your closet. Are most of your pieces one predominant color or a range of hues? Do you see lots of black or blue? Or, do your accessories provide most of the color while main items are neutral? In most cases, it’s easier to add bright colors to a neutral background. In a living room, if your walls are neutral, add vibrant furniture pieces, like a sofa, loveseat or accent chair. If you’re not confident about using a bright upholstered piece, ground the space with a lively area rug, or with color-rich accessories like toss pillows, vases, and funky artwork. Even a quiet bedroom can benefit from a colorful chest, headboard or comforter to add some positive energy.

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Complementary Colors || Blue and orange, red and green, purple and yellow, even black and white – these opposites create a lively look when paired together, and tend to work best when mixed with other lighter shades to keep them from looking harsh. Try using these pairings in variations, such as turquoise and coral, fuchsia and Kelly green, or violet and gold. If you decide to use one saturated color like cobalt blue for a room focus, try adding warm metallic accents like gold or copper to really make the look pop.


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Analogous Colors || These colors are next to each other on the color wheel, and create a bold look with less contrast. Blue, green and purple; green, yellow and orange; and red, dark orange and orange are examples. Using these colors together can create a sophisticated decorating scheme with less contrast than complementary colors. To achieve this look, consider patterned area rugs, toss pillows, draperies or upholstered fabrics that contain these colors. For example, a medium blue sofa might be accessorized with two toss pillows in stripes of blue, green, and purple, mixed with two solid green pillows.

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