Ways to Add Colour to Your Home Without Painting
By Shafiya Nawzer
When a room is lacking excitement, it’s easy to head straight toward the paint section of the store for some quick inspiration. Painting can be a messy hassle; you don’t have to lift a brush to brighten up your spaces with colour. Vibrant window treatments, furnishings, and accessories are simple ways to add a little colour to your decor.
Plain white and beige are rarely flattering to your decor. However, you don’t have to be resigned to living in a bland vanilla space. In addition to experimenting with picture galleries and items other than frames to jazz up your walls, use paint-free tricks inspired by fabric and wallpaper to add colour and soft texture to your space.
Fortunately, introducing a new pop of colour to rooms can be easy, low-risk, and effective, it just takes the right decorative items and furnishings. Adding rugs or wall art to a space is always an option, but sometimes, especially in rooms with white walls and white ceilings that are suspiciously close in shade an addition with a little more scale is required.
Picture what sorts of colours - warm or cool, solid or patterned, might work in each room, and check out these ideas for ways to update rooms without painting, and go forth and decorate.
Mix it up
Throw pillows are a simple way to add a splash of colour and comfort to any room. Mix and match to create dynamic contrast. In this example, chevron pillows pair well with other patterns, textures, and solids on the sofa and rug. Combining colours that are direct opposites on the colour wheel intensifies their impact. Finish the look with a cozy throw blanket in a complementary colour.
Get a vibrant, patterned wallpapered look with fabric. Hang fabric on your walls with liquid starch. It’s completely reversible and the fabric comes off your wall clean. You can even recycle the fabric as window or bed treatments.
There’s no need to pay full price for fabrics; save money by shopping for discounted yardage. With remnants, you can buy designer fabrics for cheaper. Be sure to buy extra yardage for pattern matching if you select a medium- to large-scale design.
Painting exposed brick would just be a crime, so you’ll want to find other ways to add colour, like bright yellow seating and bold pendant lighting in the kitchen. Painting kitchen stools is much easier and more fun than painting the whole kitchen, and you can change the colour whenever the mood strikes.
If you prefer the soft look of draped fabric, use curtains. Span them from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall. In addition to adding colour, they’ll muffle a bit of outside noise.
If you’re covering a fairly narrow wall, you’ll be able to find panels that fit the wall’s width, but remember the width needs to allow for fullness when they are hung. Hang your panels from a ceiling-mounted curtain rod or track. Make your own ceiling curtain rod from wire rope or metal cable with clips.
A big bold painting brings serious flair, and can instantly change the vibe of any space. Whether hung above a sofa, or elsewhere in the room, a painting can create a focal point with impact and add both colour and dimension. Pick up a few of its colours in accessories, like pillows, to highlight the piece even more.
It’s easier than ever to get exactly what you want on the walls by making it yourself. Pick up a prestretched canvas and some paint at a crafts store and splash on the colours you desire. Or blow up a favourite vacation print on canvas via an online service. Some photo services also offer printed canvases.
Plants and miniature trees are making a comeback. Top designers and bloggers are putting plants and trees into living spaces not just as an afterthought but as an intentional part of the design - think fiddle leaf figs, succulents, lemon trees, air plants, hibiscus, amaryllis, or orchids. Local Sri Lankan Instgrammer @daily.cup.of.life shares some interesting ways on how you can use plants and other ornament to amp up any space.
Add colour and pattern by hanging bound or hemmed textiles. Opt for large-scale textiles such as rugs, quilts, tapestries, or artisan weavings. Lightweight and captivating options include colourful saris, suzanis, and pieces of hand-dyed batik. Hang vintage textiles with a mounting board and hook-and-loop tape suitable for the textile’s weight.
Never underestimate the power of flowers to add vibrant colour to a room. You can go with feminine, frilly bouquets or keep things classic with a few tall stems. Display them on the coffee table or in the kitchen for maximum wow factor.
To add colour and pattern to walls with an eclectic feel, frame different pieces of fabrics or wallpapers, and then hang them on your wall in an art grouping. Use leftover scraps of fabric or wallpaper, discontinued samples, or hunt for vintage pieces at a sale.
The popular trend of removable wallpaper has landed this fun product in even the big stores. Peel the backing and press it to the wall, then peel it off if you tire of the look or if you’re a renter. You can use big graphic colourful prints behind a bed as a headboard, on a hollow-core door to make it dimensional, or over a sofa without a big commitment.
Throw down a rug
Everything from the colourful seating and throwing pillows to a graphic rug makes the room full of personality. A rug is a great way to pull a room together and add some sneaky colour accents. A large, textured sisal rug really anchors a room. Layer a patterned rug over it for a vibrant feel. Add small colourful rugs to accentuate a chair or coffee table. Now you’ve added colour, softness, and a palette to work from. Layer in neutral furniture, window treatments, and accessories to finish out the look.
Accent with furniture
Add a chair or ottoman in a bold print or colour to perk up a mellow layout. Take your time and find the colour or pattern that you like best, holding up swatches against the walls and existing furniture. Look for pieces that have colours used elsewhere in your room so that the new items look right at home.