Views / Design Centre

A little va-va-voom for your living room

Q: I have a living room that is decorated with neutral colours. I'd like to integrate some colour but don't know what type, how to start and how much to add. – S. Smith, London, Ont.

A. Adding colourful accessories to a neutral room is a great way to make it look fashionable and follow some trends without breaking the bank.

First off, determine what your neutral is and work with it. Your ‘neutral' could be one of many: crispy white, cream, mossy green, grey, tan are a few of the common neutrals.

Each of these works best with certain strong colours. For instance, lime green works best with cool, sharp, clear neutrals like white, grey or dark brown but is not so good with cream, tan or mossy green.

Trend colours to go with white or grey include citrus colours like lime, orange and yellow.

The best accent colours to complement tan are moss and cream along with rich blues and claret reds or purples.

Easing colour into your room with small accessories (pillows, candles and art) is the simplest way to start. Layer the colour in a few lighter and darker tones; it will give you flexibility when shopping so you don't have to worry about always finding that ‘perfect colour.'

Want make a colour look even better? Add in one or two accessories that are opposite on the colour wheel to bring them to life.

For instance, if lime green is your new colour then add a few orange-tones colours to help make the green stand out.

Large ways to add colour (rugs, new paint on a focal wall, curtains) are investments to the room.

Just how much colour should you add to a neutral room? I like the 70/neutral 30/colour rule; that way you won't have too much or too little.

More on