Go Bold With Colour

Don’t be shy! If you like bold colours, there are ways to pull them off beautifully.

By Diane Franklin

Hot pink in the bedroom, lime green in the dining room, orange in the kitchen—do these colours really work? Yes, they can! If you want to try some bold colours but aren’t sure how to pull them off, here are some suggestions for making them work beautifully for you.

Small Doses, Big Impact

If you love bold colours but are reticent about going too big, try the colours in small doses. One great way to do that is by using a bold colour on a feature wall. Or choose a wallpaper that features the colour prominently but not exclusively. Also, break up the use of the colour with another prominent feature in the room. For instance, use a vibrant pink behind the headboard in a bedroom or try an emerald green adjacent to the fireplace in the family room.

Provide a Contrast

A bold colour on the wall can be contrasted nicely with clean, white mouldings, neutral furnishings and neutral floor coverings. You can pick up the bold wall colour in smaller accessories such as throw pillows or as accent colours in drapery or upholstery fabric. And sometimes a contrasting hue on the colour wheel—such as navy blue paired with a lime green—can provide just the right balance to pull your bold colour choices off with panache.

Go Monochromatic

As an alternative to a room with contrast, you can take the opposite tack and go monochromatic. If you want a bold blue, set the stage for it by using lighter blues in your furnishings and accents. The result can be an extremely cohesive look that is easier on the eyes than just using a bold blue on its own. However, do provide some relief from the colour with natural woods and patterns that introduce some white or other soft neutral colours into the scheme.

Be Bold, Not Garish

When using bold colours, be daring and sophisticated—not cartoonish or garish. Choose bold colours that are deeper, darker and muted; the colours can still be dramatic without being off-putting or over-the-top. Some examples include jewel tones like amethyst and topaz or classic colours like navy blue or forest green.

Go Bold With Furnishings

An alternative to using bold colours on the walls is to be bold with furnishings instead. Paint a foyer table in a vivid lime green. Use lemon yellow upholstery for a couple of accent chairs. Or consider using an area rug in a bold geometric pattern that adds personality and pizzazz to the room. Pick up your featured furnishing colours in small doses elsewhere in the room—i.e., on throw pillows, in accessories, or as accent colours in your wallpaper. Paint colours used here would be soft neutrals, such as gray or off-whites, which really will allow the furnishings and accent pieces to take center stage.

Take a Powder

Sometimes it’s best to use bold colour in a smaller room like a powder room or spare bedroom. You can get experimental, trying colours that you might not use in other areas of your home. A powder room can be an especially apt place for bold colour. But make sure the colour is light enough and bright enough so that it doesn’t make the room seem small or claustrophobic.