5 Colors That Work with Any Style, Any Room

Written by Kelsey

While the monochromatic look can work for the mod-minded, most of us need a little color in our lives. However, it can be a short trip from tasteful to tacky when working with brighter tones.

Still, there’s no reason to live in black and white (unless that’s your thing). From bold color themes to subtle accents, here are some tips and tidbits for working with five distinctly different flavors.

Think natural, get zesty.

The human eye can discern more shades of green than any other color, hearkening back to the days when we lived outdoors and the difference might mean life or death. These days, knowing the difference between lime and forest green isn’t of quite such dramatic importance, but the effect different shades of green can have on us is still undeniable. Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year for 2017 is the light and fresh Greenery, which invokes feelings of renewal and vitality. It’s similar to the color of new growth on on many plants, which works well in kitchens and living rooms to add a fresh, invigorating vibe. Used with white, the palette is timeless and suitable for any aesthetic. Even if all you do is bring in plants to an otherwise all-white room, green works as a lively but calming accent.

Why is the Sky Blue?

Because blue works anywhere. As traditional as Wedgwood or chinoiserie or as modern as screaming teal, shades of blue run the gamut from sedate to soothing to playful to proper. The right blue can even be used as a neutral. But navy blue never goes out of style. Almost black, a nice deep navy pairs with everything–seriously! Natural brick, raw or finished woods, any finish of metal and pretty much any other color work with navy blue. Go for broke on a luxe loft feel with a room full of midnight blues or just bring in a choice piece like a pretty upholstered sofa.

Gold Standard

Far from the 1970s brass binge that shoved brash metal fixtures into every kitchen and bath, today’s gold is a friendlier hue that can be relied on almost as much as a neutral. Paired with white, the slightly desaturated brushed gold pendants and fixtures in this kitchen enliven and warm the space that might otherwise seem austere. Bringing gold into any room can be as simple as grabbing a candleholder or table lamp, or pillows with metallic threads–even wallpaper with a burnished glow for an accent wall are welcome and sophisticated ways to get going with gold.

Red, Red Room

Overused, it can be overwhelming. But as an accent red is punchy, happy, even exciting. With so many different shades, red can take you from hot-and-heavy to holidays with just a tweak on the color wheel. Pairing with black and white is a timeless look, but check out how the addition of the red accents above warm up the greys and complement the golds. For a quick change, any color in the wall art could be pulled out and replace the red cushions.

Professor Plum in the Study with the Eggplant Emoji

Exotic, royal, surprisingly versatile. Purple might be construed as the most overtly feminine of all the suggestions, but it’s a kingly shade that can appeal to more masculine sensibilities when complemented with navy, gold, white, black as shown. Although lavender is lovely it can feel like living inside an easter egg (my bedroom was lilac with white trim for years, it was a Faberge dream but not everyone’s cup of tea). Dramatic deep purple is elegant, rich and just a little bit gothic. Use liberally anywhere you need to make a statement, or rely on one key vase or rug to complement your room as beautifully as a posy of wildflowers.

What color schemes are you looking forward to trying in 2017?

About the author



When she’s not polishing up promotions as a web content specialist for Lumens, Kelsey is practicing how to properly pronounce Danish, if only to be able to say “home is where the ‘hygge’ is.” Aside from Scandinavian design, she spends a lot of time thinking about organic gardening, mini farms, honey bees and England.

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