Bored of bland walls? Here’s how to add color to your home no matter what your taste or budget is. Whether you’re planning a whole house renovation or you want to keep it to a smaller scale, making use of the best interior design software (opens in new tab) is a great way to turn your ideas into real plans. Plus, it’s also a fantastic way to calculate costs before you splash out on any decorating materials.
Sometimes though, coming up with the ideas in the first place is the tricky bit and if you’ve got a whole house to spruce up, knowing where to start can be pretty daunting. That’s why we’ve got some handy hacks from UK-based, interior enthusiast, and successful home Instagrammer, Mel Hamblett whose colorful abode makes up her Instagram account, A Whole New Build (opens in new tab).
With bountiful bursts of color all around the house, A Whole New Build’s journey from a blank canvas new build to a vibrant and stylish space is pretty impressive, and here Mel shares her top tips for adding color into your home.
How do you choose a color palette?
“Start with a piece of furniture, a print, or an item that makes you really happy, and work backwards to find a small palette of three or four colors that work alongside that. Remember color can be injected through plants, fabrics, and wall art. It doesn't have to be about painting the walls.”
Are there certain colors that really don't work well together?
“Color is such a personal preference so I don't think there can be firm rules. On paper, clashing colors like red and pink sound awful, but can look amazing when styled in the right space. Don't be afraid to make a bold statement if you love it!
“If you're starting out with color, it's always useful to refer to a color wheel. Opposites attract, so using two colors on either side of the wheel will give you complimentary hues.”
How can you avoid decor dating too quickly?
“Paint manufacturers often release ‘colors of the year’ which is good for giving an idea of the kind of shades and tones which will be trending over the next few years. While grey tones have been safely in fashion for a while, they're now starting to look a bit tired, with more people opting for neutral stone and taupe shades instead.
“I love using apps like Instagram and Pinterest for new ideas, it's amazing how your own style and taste changes over a few years. Sometimes small changes like adding a feature wall in a bold color or adding MDF paneling can be a cost-effective DIY solution to update a room and keep it from dating.”(opens in new tab)
Are there certain colors that work better for bedrooms than living spaces?
“No color should be off the table when you’re thinking about decorating. But consider the natural light in your room and how you want it to feel when you're spending time in there when selecting a palette.
“A dark living room can feel incredibly cozy and opulent, almost like the cocktail bar of a classy hotel. Whereas lighter living rooms can feel airy and spacious if your room doesn't have much natural light.
“Generally speaking, bedrooms are a sanctuary, so should feel relaxing, but that doesn't always have to be a muted pastel. Pick a color that makes you feel calm.
“In my home, for example, I have bright teal in the bedroom on one feature wall, but it's behind the bed, so I'm surrounded by a much more chilled taupe shade when I’m in bed ready to relax.”
How can you add small pops of colors?
“Accessorizing is the easiest way to add color and personality to your home.
A vase of fresh flowers (opens in new tab) can lift a space into feeling like springtime whilst adding a lovely pop of color.
“House plants are incredibly popular for so many reasons, purifying the air, giving some 'life' to space, and of course adding pops of bright green wherever you look. You can also accessorize with stylish plant stands and beautiful decorative pots.
“Cushions, throws, and wall art are always my favorite ways to inject color. It's so easy to change up with the seasons or if you no longer feel a color is working in the space, a replacement cushion cover is an affordable change.”
Does adding color to your home have to cost a fortune?
“Absolutely not. Paint is one of the cheapest ways to update your home and definitely has magical properties when it comes to transforming a space! It doesn't even have to be a whole wall, sometimes a tester pot to create a color block behind a shelf or in a corner can add real interest and character.
“Upcycle your existing flat pack furniture using furniture paint, decorative vinyl, or by adding new knobs to drawers.
“Switch up your accessories, like adding bright towels in the bathroom, displaying brightly colored cookery books on an open kitchen shelf rather than tucked away in a cupboard, or add a few new frames with brightly colored prints.
“Looking on social media selling sites for unloved treasures to upcycle is also a great way to find great quality items at a fraction of the price of new.”(opens in new tab)
How can renters inject some color to their homes?
“There are some fantastic Instagram accounts to inspire renters with loads of hacks to create temporary color changes with both paint and wallpaper. I particularly like thepajaamahub (opens in new tab).
“Decorative vinyl is one of my favorite ways to add pattern to things like splashbacks behind an electric cooktop (opens in new tab), furniture, or even a side-by-side refrigerator (opens in new tab) as it's removable.
“Wall stickers are also a great way to temporarily jazz up a feature wall. Use command strips (available at Amazon.com (opens in new tab)) to hang picture frames to avoid damaging walls with hooks.”
What should you avoid when adding color to a space?
“It's a learning process and I still make mistakes. When adding color, think about the whole room and its purpose before whipping out the paintbrush.
“I recently painted my bathroom vibrant yellow after falling in love with the shade. But a few baths in there made me feel stressed, not relaxed and I knew I'd made a mistake. It's currently being transformed into a mermaid pastel paradise instead, all because I forgot to consider how I wanted to feel in the space.
“That said, don't be afraid to make mistakes. It’s only paint and can always be rectified. After making a few bad decisions when we first moved into our home I lost my confidence and thought I'd wasn’t any good at DIY. By the time COVID-19 caused stay at home orders, I had curated a number of Pinterest boards, decided on my style, and started decorating again. I realized I had just needed practice and to spend a bit more time planning.
“Now, I actually think it's what I do for fun!”
Check out a Whole New Build’s Instagram (opens in new tab) account for more inspiration, plus, top marks if you spot the spa in the backyard. You can take a look at prices and options in our guide to the best hot tubs (opens in new tab).