Sometimes understatement makes the biggest statement of all. Sometimes, but not always. There are plenty of instances where throwing away the rule book on clashing colours and what “should” work has paid off big time for designers and homeowners. And who knows – seeing bright, cheerful colours around your house on a daily basis may well make you feel a little bit more bright and cheerful too. Just think how a child would decorate a house if they had the freedom and resources: OK, it might be a bit of a disaster on some (most) levels, but you can bet it would involve a great number of beautiful, bold colours – and it would definitely make you smile. Maybe as adults it’s worth trying to recapture some of the joyful energy of childhood in our own approaches to decor and design. Here is a selection of examples from designers who have done a pretty good job of achieving just that.
This kitchen is simply irresistibly fun! The pick-n-mix of different tiles looks like it could have come straight off the front of one of Lisbon’s beautifully tiled traditional buildings. It also has a comforting hint of the patchwork blanket about it, as if it were knitted specially for the room by a kind and exceptionally creative grandma. Whatever you see in this lovely design, the most important thing is that it brings bucketfuls of joy to the room.
This mostly monochrome room really stands out thanks to the designer’s inspired use of yellow. The oranges seen here and there help carry the citrus shade throughout the rest of the space, wheel the aubergines placed on top of the counter provide a strong colour contrast. Including a brighter accent colour is a clever way to decorate a room in darker hues while still retaining a fair bit of light.
This whiter than white living room gains dozens of personality and fun points thanks to the addition of just a few stripy cushions. Take them out of the equation and the room would likely become intimidatingly sterile – more like a place to get your teeth examined than a place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon curled up watching films. In this room, the one point of colour naturally becomes the focus, but they would also work well in a room with more going on (albeit more subtly).
Even if you want to go for a traditional white bathroom, there are plenty of ways to add a bit of spice and life. Playing with different tiles arrangements, as shown here, is one great option. The use of smaller-than-average tiles is a good choice for this look, as it prevents the blocks of colour from overwhelming the room and each other. The inclusion of a few neutral, paler tiles in the strip of colour is also key to keeping things light and preventing this wall from appearing too busy.
This very characterful little room utilises vibrant highlighter pen tones to make an impact. Notice that there are no two colours involved here that actually come anywhere close to complementing one another in the traditional sense; yet as a whole, the look works. The simple, boxy nature of the furniture, in combination with the fun use of colour, makes it seem a little like this could be a toy room in a toy house. Is this the grown-up version of the child’s decorative fantasy mentioned earlier?