How to use bold colors in decoration – 15 tips

How to use bold colors in decoration - 15 tips

We call “strong colors” those that are very saturated (unlike pastels, which have a lot of white in their composition). They can be vibrant or more subdued – when mixed with gray – or very dark.

strong colors

Examples of some strong and very vibrant colors, passing through attenuated to very dark

And many people are afraid to use these strong colors in the decoration and, at most, use them in small quantities. Which is a shame, because a strong color chosen on a wall can totally transform a space, making it even special.

Strong and dark colors

This week I found a beautiful example of the power of this transformation, using a strong and dark color, on the website of the great Emily Henderson. Come and see:


living and dining rooms in very light colors
Photo: stylebyemilyhenderson

Living and dining room – very well lit by a large window – divided by a beautiful arch. The walls are in very light tones and there is no contrast between them (it has the same luminosity).

Now, see the after at this same angle, practically:

dining and living room in dark colors
Photo: stylebyemilyhenderson

Don’t even think about the many decoration changes now. What is most striking, no doubt, is this dark blue, which is not vibrant, but is strong and super contrasting with the white of the living room wall. So, the first tip: If you have a passage similar to this one for another room, preferably well lit, create a strong contrast between the walls of the 2 rooms. Being dark, it adds depth and sophistication automatically!


dining room in light colors before
Photo: stylebyemilyhenderson


dining room in dark colors
Photo: stylebyemilyhenderson

The chairs were replaced by models also clear and more modern and a sofa has been added with white background and blue print. Also note that the door and footer are kept white and that the carpet is light gray. And the second tip: To “lighten” an environment with dark colored walls, add light colors.

dining room in dark colors
Photo: stylebyemilyhenderson

The wall facing the window was taken by pictures that have very white. Notice that the reflection of the window light that white produces illuminates the whole area and the dark background emphasizes the pictures themselves beautifully. And this is the third tip: A gallery of pictures on a dark background is always valued aesthetically and reduces the weight of the dark color (even more if they have light colors).

dining room in dark colors
Photo: stylebyemilyhenderson

A light gray furniture was placed on the wall of the window. This also decreases the dark area that is seen. Fourth tip: Fill dark colored walls with light colors in furniture and decorative objects.

You may have noticed that the tips for dark colors in environments revolve around maintaining the impact by decreasing the damage, that is, prevent the dark color from leaving the room sad, dark and without contrasts (and this is the fifth tip!)

To see the entire post, details and photos of this room access here.

But what about strong colors that are not dark?

Using strong, vivid and light colors you don’t have to worry about the issue that the environment may be dark (which will always need more light, natural or artificial) or sad. On the contrary, your concern should be not to overdo the vibration (Sixth tip!) We will see:

brown and mustard room
Photo: Property Architecture

The saturated yellow it is a color that must be dosed: either in small quantities or attenuated (less vibrant, more gray) if the area to be covered is large (seventh tip: the more vibrant, the less quantity of the color!) or if the other colors are also reduced (eighth tip: Avoid mixing gray colors with colors that are too vibrant). Imagine the environment above with the strong and vibrant yellow of the environment below:

white and yellow kitchen
Photo: ApartmentTherapy

In this kitchen, the super vibrant yellow gives joy to an all white kitchen, but “screams” too much in the room in the previous photo, which would lose all its sophistication.

room with red wall
Photo: terra

All the warm colors (yellow, red, orange … should be chosen very well to avoid the excess of contrasts that can cause agitation and anxiety. In this room, for example, if this bright red is only at the headboard it is perfect – because you don’t see the headboard when going to sleep (Ninth tip: Avoid strong, warm and vivid colors in the bedroom, especially in the areas that will be seen when you are in bed to sleep).

red kitchen
Photo: CasaeJardim

In particular, I think sophistication increases when you use warm, less vibrant colors, like the beautiful shade of red in this kitchen …

yellow and gray baby room
Photo: Limaonaagua

… Comparing with the yellow strident used in this baby room, one of the environments that any less need such a vibrant color… (10th. Tip: Avoid very exciting colors in baby rooms, especially if lying in the crib they can see them).

yellow wall bathroom
Photo: OldBrandNew

11th. Tip: Strong, warm, clear and vibrant colors look great in small bathrooms or washrooms (and even more, poorly lit). After all, you don’t spend so much time on them to be irritated.

white and green baby room
Photo: projectnursery

12th. Tip: Want to use bright colors in the baby’s room? Prefer the attenuated cold. They soothe, make you sleep and do not tire your baby’s eyes.

gray and red teenager room
Project: Claudia Albertini Arquitetura

13th. Tip: Did you use gray (or any dark color) in the whole environment and are you worried that it will be a little “low mood”? Add a strong warm color and a little attenuated to maintain harmony, light and sophisticate.

room with dark color on the wall
Photo: ApartamentTherapy

Do you think you will not support the entire wall (s) with a strong color? 14th. Tip: Make the upper part light in color!

children's room wall dark color
Photo: inandout

15th. Tip: You can use a strong color and white or a neutral one in this way, making drawings on the wall. It looks great in children’s rooms.

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