Surprising Places to Use Color

Say hello to brilliant hues that add personality and bring an unexpected splash of color to these 20 rooms.

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March 05, 2019
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Refined Preppy

The trick in this space is to look up. Coral pink paint highlights the octagon-shaped recessed ceiling, where an antique wrought iron chandelier creates a shadowy-meets-bright juxtaposition. The navy blue cabinets and honed Carrara marble countertops paired with back-from-the-past brass hardware deliver a tailored yet family-friendly atmosphere.

Craftsman With an Edge

Throw seriousness out the window and have a little fun. The architectural elements - wood ceiling beams, moldings and built-in benches - receive a daring purple paint application. However, the rest of the room doesn't shy away from the challenge. Bold floral wallpaper, a crushed blue velvet sofa and a mid-century modern chandelier confidently enhance the over-the-top style.

To Each Their Own

Using color for organizing is design worthy and helpful for young and old alike. Different yet coordinating shades of blue and gray define the cubbies and give each family member a separate hue. The open storage ensures everyone has a place to drop bags, jackets and shoes as they come in the door.

Recasting an Opening

Instead of a typical paned window, opt for a color-filled stained glass one. This rustic eclectic hallway is a cornucopia of patterns and textures, which are only highlighted by the filtered light pouring through the floral stained glass set in a rich wood casing.

Opposing Sides

Paired with opaque black cabinets, graphic textiles and sleek furniture, these pretty-in-pink cabinets seem more grown-up chic rather than tucked-in-the-nursery. The contrasting vibe of the black exerts a confidence that keeps the palette from being overly sweet.

Color Blocking

If full-color cabinets aren't your thing, trade out a couple cabinet doors. Selected colored panels animate the seamless mahogany cabinetry in this mid-century modern kitchen. The island clad in a white waterfall countertop elevates the crisp contemporary vibe.

Accented by Blue

When living in a small space, like this studio apartment, every design element matters. Low-profile furniture, gray walls and an all-white kitchen create an open, airy environment. The wall above the kitchen cabinets is painted a bright navy to complement the blue-gray sofa and accessories and bring an unexpected shot of color to the space.

From the Earth

Set on Lake George in New York with the Adirondack Mountains as a backdrop, this rustic lake house is a true getaway to nature. The exterior wood and stone were locally sourced from surrounding mills and quarries to create a home that effortlessly blends with its natural surroundings. For a surprising touch of color, the garage doors, along with the window casings, are painted seafoam green to match the tin roof.

Exaggerated Scope

Kitchen backsplashes are a favorite place to add color, yet very few take the above-and-beyond step this space does. Dark teal subway tiles laid with defining white grout don't simply go from countertop to cabinet, but instead soar all the way above the upper cabinets to the ceiling. The result is a dramatic and vivid display.

Perfectly Appealing

The oversized island may be centerstage in this transitional kitchen, but it's the painted-to-match robin's egg blue arched door leading into the pantry that really steals the show. The mingling of floral windows treatments and a beaded chandelier with the white cabinets and glossy gray backsplash create a balanced harmony.

Layers of Pattern

When searching for creative inspiration in this craft room, the homeowner merely has to turn her eyes skyward. The pitched roof is wallpapered in a multicolored graphic print that infuses the room with a dynamic rhythm. Underfoot, hexagon tiles in shades of black and gray bring in their own energy.

Vibrant Amusement

Playrooms were made for color, and these lime green lockers are a smart addition to this kids' space. Not only do they deliver a shocking hue, but they also provide keep-the-clutter-at-bay storage. The neutral tufted leather sectional balances out the more playful elements, including the graphic black-and-white fireplace wall and multicolored shag rug.

Bold Sensibility

No standard white beadboard backing these bookshelves. Set against the saturated fuchsia, the accessories pop off the backdrop. Accents of fuchsia throughout the room pull the entire design together and an abundance of white creates balance.

Pops of Cheer

A few notes of color make maximum impact in a purely white palette, and choosing the wild card of a bright orange range over a standard appliance finish produces a bold statement. The Orla Kiely wallpaper behind the bar pulls together the shade of the stove, as well as the robin's egg blue of the dining chair.

Full on Chroma

Shake up the traditional home office attire with this floor-to-ceiling emerald green built-in. Ample work surface. Check. Tons of storage. Check. Unconventional yet enchanting hue. Check and check. Contrast provided by the white walls and coffered ceiling gives the space breathing room, while warm woods and a tone-on-tone area rug ground the space.

The Forgotten Spots

An all-white color scheme equates to a pretty crisp vision, so luxe finishes and easy-going textiles are employed to soften the edges. Textured gray Roman shades dress the windows, open gold shelving shows off a metallic vibe and tucked away under the bar (usually overlooked in most kitchens) is a painted blue accent wall that brings in a rich depth.

A Bit of Green

Tongue-and-groove planks encompass this bathroom, giving it a decidedly cottage feel. The room is dotted with contemporary elements — the sleek soaker bathtub and geometric light fixture — yet the unpredicted moment is the vanity. Painted in a distressed mint green, the vanity claims a punchy yet casual impression.

Palette Booster

Instead of ordinary dining room chairs in simple woods or basic white, look for ones that add instant pizzazz to your design. These sleek aqua blue stunners reflect the view of the ocean beyond and energize the weathered wood setting.

By the Book

One of the easiest ways to add color to your space is right under your nose (possibly, quite literally). Book covers and spines are often a myriad of beautiful shades. Arrange a monochromatic collection of them on a bookshelf, like this beachy living room and its shades-of-blue display.

Maxed Out Hues

This playful and lively entryway is full of color from the glass pendant lights, artwork and powder room wallpaper. An intense blue wall anchors the staircase and creates an attention-getting greeting.