Is Bolder Better? Here's How to Add More Color + Pattern

If your mantra is 'more is more,' these tips are for you. 

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Simple white interiors have been everywhere for a few years, and it's no surprise why. It's hard to dislike a clean, easy color palette, and a white space is considered more timeless than a more colorful or pattern-heavy one. But what if it just doesn't feel right for YOUR space?

Gray Contemporary Foyer With Sofa

Gray Contemporary Foyer With Sofa

In a smaller space, try graphic patterned wallpaper on the walls and ceiling. It can give the room a cozy, intimate feel as seen in this contemporary foyer.

Photo by: Rethink Design Studio

Rethink Design Studio

Joel Snayd, principal at interior architecture firm Rethink Design Studio in Savannah, Ga., like to push the boundaries on color and pattern in the homes they design. They also know it's not the right choice for everyone.

"When you step out the door, are you somebody who wears black and white, or are you somebody who dresses with color," Joel asks. "What do you gravitate to? It will tell you a lot about your personality."

Gray Contemporary Sitting Room With Pink Sofa

Gray Contemporary Sitting Room With Pink Sofa

A charmingly eclectic mix of whitewashed furnishings, vintage accessories and a wallpapered accent wall makes this bedroom into an inviting retreat. An ocean blue rug anchors the space and unifies the look.

Photo by: Rethink Design Studio

Rethink Design Studio

If someone has a bubbly personality or loves colorful clothing or blingy jewelry, chances are they'll feel more comfortable with bolder design choices, Joel says. If they tend to dress more conservatively, then large doses of pattern and color may be more of a risk.


Budget restrictions can also put a damper on the desire to up the drama in a space. In those cases, pay attention to colors and patterns that you never seem to tire of. If you've always felt drawn to fuchsia, then a hot pink sofa may be a sound investment, Joel says.

And if bold colors and patterns speak to you, but you still feel hesitant to go all in for your home design -- start small, Joel says. Try out colorful accessories like pillows or curtains. After a while of living with them, your comfort level with bolder choices might grow.

Another way to test out your commitment to bolder design is to try it in a smaller space like a powder room or closet. The impact of striking patterns or blasts of color in smaller areas aren't as overwhelming as they are in larger spaces, and if it doesn't work out, it's often more affordable to change.

White Living Room With Yellow Sofa

White Living Room With Yellow Sofa

A buttery yellow sofa and gorgeous striped curtains take this living room from sedate to smashing. Large windows brighten the space with natural light and a crystal chandelier gives luxurious panache overhead.

Photo by: Richard Leo Johnson

Richard Leo Johnson

Artwork is another smart way to play with color and pattern, Joel says.

"You can have an all-white home, but with art it can instantly look like it has 60 shades of color, and it brings personality in," he says.

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Black and White Contemporary Bedroom With Chandelier

Graphic patterns and a punchy palette of black, white and blue make a striking visual statement in this bedroom. Traditional underpinnings like the chandelier and fireplace are jazzed up with the crisp lines and bold color scheme.

Stairwell With Multicolored Stripes

A wash of rainbow stripes on the wall makes descending this staircase a dreamy experience.

Photo By: Richard Leo Johnson

Neutral Double-Vanity Bathroom With Vessel Sinks

White vessel sinks bring contemporary polish to this neutral bathroom with its beautiful marble backsplash and floor.

Photo By: Richard Leo Johnson

Gray Contemporary Kitchen With Marble Wall

With sleek surfaces and little to no frills, this sophisticated kitchen adds visual interest by mixing materials and patterns: gray and white marble on the walls and floors, the wood grain of the gray cabinets, the sheen of the glass and metal lighting fixture.

Photo By: Richard Leo Johnson

Neutral Transitional Dining Room With Glass Pendants

Delicate blown-glass pendant lights bring an ethereal touch to this friendly, yet sophisticated dining room. On the room's back wall, large family photos personalize the space.

Wood Paneled Wall and Shower Bench

In the generous walk-in shower, a wood-paneled accent wall and bench brings organic warmth to the space as well as a convenient spot to stash toiletries.

Photo By: Rethink Design Studio

Gray and White Graphic Print Wallpaper and Sofa

Whether it's on one wall or everywhere you look, a bold-patterned wallpaper adds instant wow factor. Here, the sofa is kept a simple solid to let the patterns do the talking.

Gray and Brown Asian Bathroom With Wood Accents

Gleaming wood slats give polish and Asian calm to this bathroom where the luxurious walk-in shower fills most of the back wall. Gray countertops are a crisp finish to the floating vanity.

Photo By: Rethink Design Studio

White Walk-In Closet With Gold Trimmed Mirror

The drawers and cabinets in the walk-in closet are dressed up with gold metal knobs and pulls. That elegant accent is echoed in the gold trim of the mirror above the dressing area.

Bathroom Cabinet With Glass Shelves

Glass shelves and a mirror in back make this bathroom cabinet feel endlessly spacious. Baskets and a tray help to corral smaller items and cut down on clutter.

Photo By: Rethink Design Studio

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