Minimalism and bright colors are two interior design themes that don’t necessarily go hand in hand. But even if you stick to strict neutrals, design experts agree that being a minimalist is well worth investing in color. “A lot of times, people are hesitant to veer off the road; it’s very easy to decorate an entire home in shades of grey and leave it as it is,” says interior designer Merrill Lyons. “However, adding a layer of color helps introduce an element of character and texture to the space.” Once you’ve explored subtle ways to subtly incorporate colorful minimalism into your home, you’ll quickly realize that there are plenty of options, from simple Additions (such as bold paintings) to finishing touches (such as pillows, plants, lights, etc.).
Relying on several top interior design gurus, the preceding tips illustrate the power of color in a minimalist setting and how to determine the look No Overwhelm your space. Ideas start with non-permanent additions like accessories, then expand to larger commitments like paint and furniture — all while prioritizing balanced finishes to maintain the minimalist spirit. Plus, if you find any ideas that resonate with your personal taste, you can shop the picks below to start your next home design update.
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Use color in conjunction with texture
Incorporating color into your home through textured work can help create depth, which is how minimalists approach a more diverse color palette, as Colony founder and creative director Jean Lin points out. “Draperies, soft accessories or rugs are all great ways to pop color without going out of style,” she notes. “It is also possible to paint the walls, but keep the colour desaturated and light to maintain a lighter touch. These examples are all featured in our latest 1 Prospect Park West design, where the mix of colour and texture is well balanced, Create harmony and visual interest without going overboard.”
Don’t rule out your ceiling
When you think of colorful paint, an accent wall usually comes to mind—but that’s not all. “It’s interesting that having one color throughout the room has a neutralizing effect and feels serene—not colorful,” says interior designer Nicole Cohen. There is also a less used wall where you can transform the colors for unique effects. “Paint the ceiling with a light color [brighter hue] Also a great way to bring in color without feeling like a ‘pop color,'” adds Cohen. In addition to solid colors, you can use patterns. “Ceilings also add interest to a minimalist home. A great way,” said Jill Steinberg, co-founder and COO of Fine & Dandy Co.
Choose an approachable shade
If you’re used to earthy, muted color palettes, the idea of throwing a fuchsia throw pillow on the sofa might sound jarring — and it probably will. That’s why experts say to choose an approachable shade. “Start with a green palette,” says interior designer Bria Hammel. “Choosing the right green can feel like a neutral.” Using the color as a neutral can also help create balance in your home. “We like to add a pop of color without overwhelming the space,” House of Nomad founders Berkeley Minkhorst and Kelley Lentini told TZR. “When clients are nervous about being too wild and green, we often choose colors that are approachable [can] act as a neutral. “
promise a color
If you’re not used to coloring, interior designer Olivia Stutz recommends taking it easy. “As a minimalist, I love incorporating colour through brightly coloured coffee table books, blue cushions with red piping on brown wooden dining chairs, coloured marble and large, colourful flower arrangements,” she says. But before you start picking out colorful pieces, she has a helpful guideline. “Commit to a color and use it on the sofa and corresponding side chair,” she said. “This makes the choice simple and consistent, and everything else in the room can be white, cream or other muted colors.”
Pick out colorful rugs and floor coverings
“My favorite way to add a little minimalist soul to a minimalist space is through rugs and floor coverings,” Prospect Refuge Studio founder Victoria Sass told TZR. Her reasoning? It’s like art for your floor. “Because it’s viewed on a horizontal plane, it feels impactful, but not as overwhelming as a vertical surface. Geometric shapes, grids and linear arrangements are a great way to introduce patterns while maintaining a sense of order.”
Try items that can be easily exchanged
For die-hard minimalists, the easiest way to colorize may be to choose parts that are not permanent (aka paint colors) and can be easily manipulated around your house. “Color doesn’t have to be introduced in a major way; homeowners can start with accessories, curtains and artwork — all of which are easy to swap out if you get bored with your choice,” says Lyons. “Start with some throw pillows and a colorful tray. Bring some decorative coffee table books and maybe a colorful piece of art.” Interior designer Nadia Watts also agrees with this non-permanent approach to color. “I recommend starting with pillows and accent lighting; pillows are a great way to add a pop of color to your room without having to use fully upholstered furniture, and accent lights with color feel like a big step,” she says Say. “Remember, you can always move the light to a different room and change the shade.”
Brighten up corners with upholstery
Interior designer Liza Reyes points out that even if you prefer a more minimalist design, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate color. “Textiles, artwork and furniture are great ways to live with color. Plus, upholstered furniture in the center of the room or corner chairs with pops of color add depth to an otherwise minimalist room,” she says. “Even a very neutral room, using natural materials like wood and warm textiles, can be made better with interesting books, accessories and artwork that don’t try to match the room’s match anything, but exist because they are cherished.”
mix shades together
If your current living space is a sea of neutrals, it’s not a bad idea to incorporate several shades of the same hue. “It’s possible to bring color into a space with a minimalist aesthetic — but be careful,” says interior designer Kristina Phillips. “Adding bright items like pillows to a monochromatic area can look incongruous. And out of touch. Instead, start layering darker and lighter shades within your existing palette.” Interior Definition recently launched a bespoke fabric blending program that works well with the concept. “Try two-tone colors on modern sofa shapes like Lennox, like Bloom and Rust Performance Velvet, to add bold color to a more minimalist interior,” advises Benjamin Reynaert, Creative Director of Interior Define.
Murals and wallpapers go a long way
If the idea of finding a piece of art feels too elevator-like, consider using a mural or wall covering for a similar effect. “Murals are like works of art and are a wonderful way to add color to a minimalist home. They don’t take up any floor space but can make a huge impact visually and add texture, depth and depth to any space as a backdrop. Lots of vibes,” Steinberg said. “Wall covering can be used as a backsplash in a kitchen or powder room, installed within panel molding on a wall, or installed as a panel on a headboard or feature wall, adding a pop of color to an otherwise minimalist space.”
Paint Your Wall Decor in Contrasting Colors
“One of the trends we’re seeing in 2022 is accenting rooms with colorful decor,” Kristy Howe, VP of Marketing at Andersen Corporation, shared with TZR. “While it adds more color to the room, the look creates a modern, luxurious design. If you typically shy away from bold colors, choose ones with cool tones like gray, as the results will be less dramatic.”
mix your finishes
Instead of opting for a brightly colored piece, bring in a little color with the finishing touches. “Mixed finishes will provide dimension to the space,” explains Phillips. “Try combining a piece of lustrous furniture with jewel-toned hardware. Subtle touches in decor, accessories, art and even flowers can further transform a neutral area into one with more variegation and depth.”