5 Tips for Using Color in Interior Design

We’re finally ready to use color in interior design across the country, but after years and years of grey and gray, it can seem daunting to add color to your home design. Here are 5 of my best tips for how to use color in your house.

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paint cans and color samples of various colors

If you’re someone who watches interior design, you probably know that trends tends to change on the coasts first and then work their way towards the middle of the country, where I live.

I am so excited that we’ve all now seemed to have moved beyond everything grey, gray, or greige. Of course, we’re seeing lots of shades of white back on the walls but we’re also seeing COLOR!

Designers are using pops of color, color in feature walls, and, my favorite, saturated, rich color everywhere–walls, furniture, trim…even the ceiling. Let me shout it from the rooftops, I am HERE for it!

But after years of grey, it can be daunting to make that transition to intentional, statement making colorful interior design.

That’s why I’m here, writing to you all . Let’s break down my best tips for using color in your own interior design.

1. Understand Color Theory

Color theory or color psychology is the science behind how we interpret colors, or the study of the feelings, thoughts, reactions that a color makes you have when you see it. Different colors have different effects on its viewer, especially when it is used in abundance.

home design plans with paint and flooring samples

You can check out my web story that goes more into detail about color theory HERE, but in general, reds, oranges, yellows, and tans (aka warm tones) evoke feelings of passion, intensity, love, fire, happiness, and energy. On the other hand, blues, greens, purples, (aka cooler tones) can evoke peacefulness, calm, wealth, trust, and nature.

Being aware of how colors make us feel or what they communicate is very important to using color well in your interior design or home decor.

2. Establish a Mood

Once you understand color psychology, consider how you want to use the space you are decorating. What are you wanting to feel in that space?

Frame mockup in modern dark home interior background, 3d render

If it’s your office or study, you may want the vibe to be calm and focused or energizing and creative. If it’s your primary bathroom or living room, you may want the vibe to be relaxing and peaceful.

3. Follow the 60:30:10 Rule

Pick one color and repeat it in 60 percent of the room. Pick a secondary color and use it in 30 percent of the room. Finally, pick an accent color to use in about 10 percent of the room. Keep in mind you do not need to be “matchy matchy” where you use the same shade in 60 percent of the choices you make in the room. But your paint, furniture, and decor choices should be fairly close in shade to your 3 main colors.

Modern living room design and wallpaper decoration of tropical f
Beautiful Example of the 60:30:10 Rule in Interior Design

4. Be Consistent

This is probably one of the most important tips. Once you pick a color palette, you need to to stick with it. Even if you’re going for an eclectic look, you still want to be consistent in your color choices.

Lighter pink dahlias in living room, how to transition decor for Fall
Shades of pink make up for 60% of my living room in this picture.

As you can see in this photo of my Fall living room, you can see how I use pink as my main color. The flowers, pillow, and blanket are not the same exact shade of pink, but are close enough in shade that it looks consistent and cohesive.

5. Don’t Forget About Texture

Speaking of being consistent with using similar shades in the 60:30:10 proportion, keep in mind that repeating a color choice can look visually interesting and dynamic if one of the choices has a different texture. In fact, even if you’re unable to find decor in similar shades, if, for example, your main (60%) color is navy, you can elevate the room by using a mix of navy textures throughout your room.

Using color in interior design
How Beautiful is this Textured Wallpaper?

This beautiful wallpaper is textured and super interesting and dynamic despite being almost monochromatic.

So let’s recap:

recap: Using color in interior design

There you go! I have used these five tips over and over again to use color to create a cohesive, visually interesting space that makes me and my family and friends feel the way I intend. If you have any other tips or have used any of these, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! We’re all here to help each other. Also, please be sure to follow me on social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest) to see how I use these tips in my interior design projects!

XOXO Alicia

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  1. Mary Luebbers says:

    I’m trying to pick out a color for one open vaulted ceiling room. Kitchen dining room and living room. I used sea salt before and it was beautiful. I have white cabinets. Brown leather couch and loveseat but want something different, however, I’m super attracted to the green blues and blue greens. I’m going nuts. Can you help me? Front faces east. Back faces west. I want unique. Thanks

    1. What if you went super neutral on the walls and then brought in the blues and greens in your decor? Check out SW Alabaster. It’s a gorgeous white that doesn’t skew yellow or blue and isn’t stark. It’s the perfect backdrop for the colors I’ve chosen for my house and it feels fresh and clean.

      1. Mary Luebbers says:

        I went with eventide from Sherwin Williams. Trying to pick a secondary color and then an accent color like you suggested. I don’t have the gift of decorating. I just know what I like, not necessarily how to put together.

        I did think of a neutral color like white but I saw this after I painted.


        1. I’d love to see how it turned out!