7 Ways to Add Color to Your Home (for Minimalists)

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When I’m pinning home inspiration images lately, I’m increasingly drawn to clean, simple black and white. (The same is happening with clothing – I wore a charcoal gray shirt to a recent baby shower because it was the “happiest” color in my closet. Whatever, black can be cheerful, Mom.) Aspiring to colorless elegant interiors is one thing, actually living in completely neutral territory can feed cold and clinical or like living in a bowl of beige oatmeal. Our wall paint colors and major pieces of furniture are all neutral and calm but the rooms could definitely use a little edge to keep things interesting.  Colorful home accessories are a quick, inexpensive way to brighten things up, or splash out on larger pieces like rugs or wallpaper for a bigger statement – both look amazing in an otherwise neutral setting.  If it seems like a scary commitment or hard to live with daily, check out these 7 Pinspirational images to see how minimalists added much needed pops of color – our safe word can be “greige” or “white subway tile”, you choose.

Indigo & Navy

Maybe the easiest way to introduce color to neutral surroundings – a pop of intensely deep blue looks especially amazing with black and white surroundings. See?

I’ve been in so much love with these indigo Japanese shibori throw pillows. Think of it as a new neutral, it plays well with tons of colors – and is just the thing to liven up a minimalist space. I wouldn’t be surprised if these sleek navy dining chairs with cool brass legs aren’t the new it girl of the instagram scene – they are so. flipping. cool. (And wipeable if you have kids, yay!) We have a straw hamper with a subtle blue accent like this one in our bathroom, it adds so much personality to the plain tile. And this indoor/outdoor navy rug with white crosses is maybe my new obsession – it looks as awesome in a kid’s room as it would in a living room, dining room, any room.

Here are some more deep blue picks, plus I found those huge, dreamy beach photos like the one in the inspo room!

 

Colorful, Quirky Art

This could be the staircase in my house – virtually identical! Unlike this beautiful staircase gallery wall, ours has been blank since we moved in. Three years ago. I’m gathering some cool family pics to display, but a sea of the same faces gets a little boring – I’ll break it up with some random, colorful pops of art like the ones in the Pinspo photo. #StairGoals

Similar frames are key to making all the different types of art work together – these ones are pretty much perfect for creating your own gallery wall. This agate print is drop-dead gorg and would look amazing with black & white photos. The Land of Nod is always a great source of quirky art like this that’s not just for kids’ rooms. Minted is another amazing source for all kinds of art, not just invitations – any of these colorful abstracts would be beautiful, they come in a huge range of sizes and frame options.

Cool art prints:

 

Mint

I love me some mint, indeed. It’s such a pretty accent that plays well with tougher counterpoints, like the rustic wood countertop and minimalist/industrial cool metal-of-the-moment, copper shown above (although keep your eye out for up-and-comer “gilver”, metal’s answer to greige).  Mint also looks so pretty set against more femme decor, too. I’m dying over this painfully cute mini minty trash bin and awesome concrete candle with a pop of mint to balance out the roughness. And I’d leave this S’well water bottle out on display even when I wasn’t using it – almost too pretty to use!

More minty freshness:

 

Colorful Kitchenware

Such an easy, inexpensive way to add color to a neutral kitchen – a little effort equals big payoff, like in the supersweet kitchen above. The perennial fave Anthropologie latte bowls come in a whole rainbow of colors and are really high quality – we’re tough on dishes and have had these for years with no chips or cracking! Choose a pre-made color set, or customize to your color scheme. This eye-popping cookware set is perfect for a new grad, and this coral mini-fridge (also in aqua or black) is retro perfection for the dorm or anywhere, really.

Cooking with color:

 

Bright Kitchen Runner Rugs

Obsessing over how this colorful runner totally wakes up a minimalist black & white kitchen. The fuchsia pink is so mesmerizing – I think every neutral kitchen needs a crazy bright rug. It’s like floor jewelry, which if that ever becomes an industry term, you heard it here first. The pops of shocking pink on this otherwise neutral rug blow my mind. The bright oranges and pinks (plus a killer pattern) on this colorful runner rug are not only beautiful but will hide spills like a champ, as will this more muted but still amazing geometric rug.

Bright this way:

 

 

Dark, Moody Florals

Hear that? This laundry room just dropped the mic with its hauntingly beautiful dark floral wallpaper. It creates such a dramatic and cozy feeling in an otherwise minimal, rustic room. (The kitchen ain’t half bad, either). It’s a big look, so either use it sparingly in unexpected places or go all out and do a focal wall. If commitment scares you, try it in smaller doses like these pretty framed prints, gorgeous laundry accessories or moody printed tray.

Come to the dark side:

 

Fun Desk Accessories

Another super-easy fix for a neutral office – this one starts out calm and cool at the bottom and gradually works its way to a color explosion by the top shelves. (You can also work these color pops into your bookcase or other shelves to shake things up). The pink gem speaker is unspeakably cute, as is this colorful pom-pom basket for storing all the things.  Don’t forget bright book covers and cute desk lamps, too!

No red staplers here:

 

 

Interesting Dining Chairs

This is also a lot of look, but totally transforms this room from blah to bananas. Bright boho-chic textiles (namely Mayan/Guatemalan) are on trend this spring – bonus that you’d be hard pressed to find a spaghetti sauce stain on one. This upholstered Anthro dining chair is my fave but a lil’ pricey, this set of two is a great way to get the same look for A LOT less. Fabric on dining chairs not your thing? These wooden ones are easy-clean and check out the cool stripes on the back for two looks in one.

Grab a seat:

 

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Dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, wife of a superhero and mum to 2 curly carrot-topped girls. Passionate about creating kid-friendly, beautiful interior designs that won't break the bank.

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25 Comments

  1. This article is perfect! I’ve been trying to think of ways to add color to our very beige/brown/blah home, and I’m bookmarking this to show my husband some ideas, actually carried out! Any ideas for an accent wall in our huge, 2-story living room, where the walls are beige, our couches are dark brown, and the trim is cream?

    • Amanda Rogers on

      Thanks, Becky! A 2-story living room wall?? Wowzers. I came up with some ideas and did a little internet research to find images that better illustrate them (and prove I’m not totally bonkers?) But first, and your hubs is probably going to kill me, but I’d paint the trim…white. I know, I know! But we have a similar brown couch/greige wall situation going on in our house, and the bright white trim just makes everything feel so much fresher (not my house, but identical crown moulding & baseboards). Ok, onto the fun stuff!

      1. Huge, inexpensive DIY wainscoting frames out of crown moulding add interest – I love how they framed a large piece of colorful art here as part of a large-scaled geometric design of frames. You could even bring in more color by framing some cool wallpaper (metallic grasscloth would add amazing texture & light) or painting a different color inside the frames. Ready-made wainscoting frames in interesting shapes are even faster in case you’re tired from painting trim 🙂
      2. Self-adhesive textured, paintable wall panels are a quick and easy way to add major interest. You don’t even have to do the whole width of the wall, just a wide floor to ceiling column would be cool. I’m loving these, these & these.
      3. Rugs as art! We have a small, 2×3 rug that my husband bought in Turkey over our bed, and it adds a much-needed pop of color & pattern. Imagine that on a larger scale, even with multiple rugs! It can be a great way to remember an amazing trip to Morocco (or Ikea – seriously, this is cool!)

      Hope that’s helpful and let us know what you guys end up doing!
      xx,
      Amanda

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