3-Step Makeover: Add Color with Accents

Multi-color pillow
Enliven a neutral space with bold, bright color. With colorful accessories bringing in the hues, there's no need to paint the walls or buy new furnishings.

Stage 1: Neutral Oasis

Beige walls, white-painted case goods, comfortable upholstery, and a few accessories make this apartment a neutral oasis. In the living room, cream-colored outdoor upholstery fabric graces a pair of shapely chairs, a plush ottoman, and an armless love seat with hardworking easy-care coverings. Tie-top draperies made from outdoor-grade fabrics add pattern to the room.

Step 1: Use Texture

The room gets texture from an upholstered folding screen, a slim armoire in a linen finish, and a solid wood side table.

Step 1: Simple Furnishings

The dining room holds a table and chairs in a warm linen finish. A bare wood floor is cool and clean underfoot and keeps the focus on the shapely furnishings. Outdoor fabric offers softness on the seat covers and in the drapery panels. Texture comes from a bamboo-frame mirror and a vintage chandelier.

Step 1: Add Pattern

In a neutral room, interest comes from pattern and textures. Here, outdoor fabric offers softness and pattern as a table runner.

Step 1: Designed by Nature

A scrubbed-pine table holds neutral-hue accessories, but it becomes a buffet or bar within a few steps of the kitchen.

Step 1: Bedroom Bliss

A matelasse coverlet and pillow shams pair with a quilted-look blanket and striped throw pillows made from outdoor fabrics, topping the bed in layers of creamy comfort. Drapery panels tied to the tester bed soften the vanilla-finish frame and add intimacy.

Step 1: Wicker Side Chair

For texture in the bedroom, a wicker chair with a vintage needlepoint pillow, a distressed lamp table, and a wood lamp with a linen shade gather bedside.

Step 2: Color Connection

The addition of an accent color or two gives this room a whole new look with little effort. The living room now sports bold splashes of red and orange. Underfoot, a graphic red-and-white organic-pattern rug layers on top of a larger sisal floor covering. Solid-hue linen throw pillows and a fuzzy throw give the upholstered furnishings a bit of visual punch.

Step 2: Add Color with Nature

Add a splash of color with flowers. A clear glass vase is a neutral starting point that goes with any decor.

Step 2: Colorful Accent Table

A lacquered orange cube table is a simple yet sassy accessory. Keep the look natural with pure white accessories and driftwood artwork.

Step 2: Colorful Accent Pillows

Add color to the side chair with throw pillows. Pillows are a great way to add a quick burst of color. Change pillows with the seasons or as your color scheme changes.

Step 2: Start with an Area Rug

The dining room gets a dash of color and a pinch of pattern with a striped cotton rug in fresh green. Sculptured floor lamps with a black metal finish and silk shades flank the window and echo the look of the chandelier.

Step 2: Pick One Accent Color

The bedroom welcomes crisp orange as its accent hue with solid throw pillows and a duvet printed with a modern take on a trellis pattern.

Step 2: Easy Spots of Color

A large-scale lamp with a playful patterned shade gives the room a shapely, shiny light source. The throw and accent pillow punch up color on the chair.

Step 3: Saturation Point

In the living room, bold red and sassy orange layer atop the room's neutral canvas and pump up the energy level. On the sofa, white throw pillows with a cutout design let red fabric play peekaboo. Drapery panels in a red-and-white stripe add traditional cottagey pattern to play against the rug's modern graphics. Beneath the panels, the elegant folds of Roman shades add softness to the openings while their opaque fabric lets natural light shine through.

Step 3: Colorful Accents

A painted red side table grounds the armless white sofa. Accessories in the room's palette top the table for even more color.

Step 3: Add a Throw

Not only does the throw on the chair add color, but it's also a practical piece the homeowners can cozy up with on a cool night.

Step 3: Fresh Green Dining Room

The dining room sports a fresh green palette with blushes of pink. Bright drapery panels in a trellis pattern build on the garden design planted by modern floral-print pillows. Shapely stacked-ball floor lamps pop against the window treatments when topped with colorful shades. A large painted canvas adds a colorful touch of modern art to the room's white wall.

Step 3: Accent with Fruit

Against the window, fresh limes, oranges, and lemons stacked in glass containers offer bright all-natural accessories.

Step 3: Two Accent Colors

The bedroom adds a little lime green to its orange scheme for another layer of color that echoes the dining and living room palettes. Pillows -- linen solids and quilted, leaf-print shams -- top the bed. A bold piece of orange artwork brings a focal point to the space above the headboard.

Step 3: Bring the Palette Together

A crewel pillow blooms on the wicker chair in the bedroom. Accents that feature multiple colors bring the color palette together seamlessly.

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