No-Fuss Ways to Add Color Without Paint

interior living room with sofa chairs and artwork

You don't have to lift a brush to brighten up your spaces with color. Vibrant window treatments, furnishings, and accessories are simple ways to add a little color to your decor.

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Mix It Up

love seat sofa with colored throw pills and coffee table
Jason Donnelly

Throw pillows are a simple way to add a splash of color and comfort to any room. Mix and match to create dynamic contrast. In this example, chevron pillows pair well with other patterns, textures, and solids on the sofa and rug. Combining colors that are direct opposites on the color wheel intensifies their impact. Finish the look with a cozy throw blanket in a complementary color.

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Artsy Addition

kitchen banquette with bold artwork in reds
Annie Schlechter

A big bold painting brings serious flair, and can instantly change the vibe of any space. Whether hung above a fireplace, sofa, or elsewhere in the room, a painting can create a focal point with impact and add both color and dimension. Pick up a few of its colors in accessories, like pillows, to highlight the piece even more.

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Personalize with Art

modern room with large painting and gray chair

Don’t see anything at the gallery that grabs you? It’s easier than ever to get exactly what you want on the walls—by making it yourself. Pick up a prestretched canvas and some paint at a crafts store and splash on the colors you desire. Or blow up a favorite vacation print on canvas via an online service. Some big box photo services also offer printed canvases.

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Plant Matter

white living room with colorful sofa white bookcase art books

Love 'em or hate 'em, plants and miniature trees are making a comeback—and we're not talking trailing philodendron in a macramé holder. Top designers and bloggers are putting plants and trees into living spaces not just as an afterthought but as an intentional part of the design—think fiddle leaf figs, succulents, lemon trees, air plants, hibiscus, amaryllis, or orchids.

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How to Hang Art

With your colorful piece selected, be sure to hang it the right way. Watch this video to learn the secrets to successfully hang art.

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White Plus Color

white living room full-view colorful accents

It’s one of the coolest looks and it never gets old, partly because its so versatile, partly because it’s good clean design: Take a white box of a room and layer in the color via rugs, furniture, curtains, throws, lamps and shades, artwork, and other accessories. It’s all easy to switch out when you’re ready for a whole new look.

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Paper Trail

red chair

The popular trend of removable wallpaper has landed this fun product in even the big box stores. Peel the backing and press it to the wall, then peel it off if you tire of the look or if you’re a renter. You can use big graphic colorful prints behind a bed as a headboard, on a hollow-core door to make it dimensional, or over a fireplace without a big commitment.

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Accent with Furniture

interior living room with sofa chairs and artwork

Add a chair or ottoman in a bold print or color to perk up a mellow layout. Take your time and find the color or pattern that you like best, holding up swatches against the walls and existing furniture. Look for pieces that have colors used elsewhere in your room so that the new items look right at home.

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Dress Up the Floor

Blue and White Living Room with gallery wall and furniture
David A. Land

A large, textured sisal rug really anchors a room. Layer a patterned rug over it for a vibrant feel. Add small colorful rugs to accentuate a chair or coffee table. Now you've added color, softness, and a palette to work from. Layer in neutral furniture, window treatments, and accessories to finish out the look.

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All Lit Up

lamp with flower vase and frame on aqua side table in bedroom

Lamps are bright, functional, and the fabric of the shade offers lots of design possibilities. Choose a patterned ceramic base and keep it cool with a simple drum, or top a mellow black base with a funky design of your own.

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Go Global

bedroom

Troll online or visit your fave flea market for international textiles. Colorful embroidered prints from Asia, India, and Guatemala look amazing draped over a chair, bed, or sofa. You'll add instant color and have a daily reminder that we are but travelers in this big world.

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Freshen with Flowers

close up of pink flowers in metal vase

Sometimes we forget the best solution is the easiest one. Next time you swing by the grocery store for milk and bread, pick up a temporary pop of color from the floral section. You can go seasonal or straight to the color. Arrange the flowers in a pretty vessel for instant, easy color.

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Colorful Windows

blue curtains with blue seat

Window treatments provide a striking swath of color without the use of paint and create a focal point for your room. Mount curtain panels on the wall, near the ceiling, with the bottoms brushing the floor for a dramatic, colorful look. Experiment with different patterns, color combinations, and treatment styles to find which style works best with your windows.

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