How to Decorate with Jewel Tones for a Bold, Colorful Home
These vibrant colors add drama and personality to any room. See our expert tips for decorating with jewel tones and the best paint colors to help you nail the look.
After a decade mostly dominated by crisp whites and cool grays, jewel tones are bringing bold, beautiful color back into our homes. Derived from precious gemstones such as amethyst, emerald, ruby, and sapphire, these rich hues provide a dramatic and colorful alternative neutral color palettes.
Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr Paint, credits some of this renewed craving for color as a reaction to a tough year spent mostly at home. "When we couldn't seek adventure through travel and socializing outside the home, we looked to bring a little adventure inside," she says. Woelfel also notes the influence of popular TV series such as Bridgerton, The Crown, and The Queen's Gambit, all of which showcased deep, dramatic colors in their costuming and set designs.
Regardless, jewel tones have become a popular style that brings a moody vibe to rooms all around the house. "Jewel tones work well in any room in which you want to create warmth, drama, or a bit of unexpectedness," says Alabama-based designer Dana Wolter. Because of their depth, these hues offer color that doesn't feel excessively bright or overwhelming, she says.
How to Decorate with Jewel Tones
Jewel tones include variations of red, yellow, green, blue, and purple that range from mid-tones to deep, saturated shades. Embrace a striking, colorful look with these expert tips for decorating with jewel tones.
1. Go bold with big doses of color.
When decorating with jewel tones, "you have to do one of two things: use sparingly as an accent or fully commit," says interior designer Janelle Burns of Dallas-based architecture and interior design firm Maestri Studio. If you choose the latter, bring in jewel tones on major elements such as walls, upholstery, area rugs, and cabinetry. Then repeat that formula throughout your home. If you incorporate bold color in just one room, it will feel disjointed from the rest of the house, Burns says.
2. Swap in small accents.
Alternatively, you can start small with jewel-tone accessories that are relatively inexpensive and easy to change up. San Diego-based interior designer Susan Spath suggests adding bursts of color through pillows and artwork. "Pillows allow you to add colors into your space that are fun and bold but stop short of a huge statement," she says.
Tabletop accessories are another simple way to try out jewel tones. "If you love jewel tones but don't want to change up your current furnishings and decor, then use them for all of your hosting and entertaining needs," says Sara Barney of the Austin interior design studio BANDD DESIGN. "Setting the table with these gorgeous colors is a surefire way to wow your guests and make the setting feel luxurious."
3. Combine several jewel tones into one palette.
Because most jewel tones are similar in color value, they work well when paired together. Opt for dark, rich shades to avoid an overly jarring look. "The deeper the jewel tone the less they'll compete with another, so pick your favorites and go for it," says Chicago interior designer Brynn Olson. Her favorite combination is mixing jewel-like shades of blue, green, and gold together. For a high-contrast look, Barney suggests mixing warm and cool jewel tones, such as emerald green with magenta.
4. Apply jewel tones with intention.
"Bold colors draw your eyes, so you want to make sure you dress up the room appropriately," says Hannah Yeo, color marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore. Look for areas you want to highlight, such as your front door or the kitchen island, and use jewel tones to make them a focal point.
For an unexpected surprise of color, Roger Higgins, of the Nashville design firm R. Higgins Interiors, prefers to apply jewel tones in pass-through spaces as opposed to main living areas. "We like to use jewel tones in transitioning spaces, powder rooms, wet bars, or a room meant for entertaining that can hold the weight of a more dramatic color," he says.
5. Highlight jewel tones with shiny accents.
Reflective surfaces such as mirrors, glass, and metallic finishes are a natural complement to jewel tones, helping to play up the glam look, Yeo says. However, this isn't the time to experiment with mixed metals. To let the jewel tones take center stage, Barney suggests sticking with a single finish, such as gold or silver.
Best Jewel-Tone Paint Colors
Try these designer-favorite paint colors to dress up your home in jewel tones.
Admiral Blue M520-7, Behr
Woelfel calls Behr's Admiral Blue "a deep blue reminiscent of sapphire." Try it on walls in an office or bedroom for a cozy feeling. Warm neutrals or equally rich shades of green and gold make beautiful accents.
Brushed Clay, Magnolia Home
This ochre hue from Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines reminds of the yellow-orange color of citrine. Nashville interior designer Jessica Davis of JL Design says it's "perfect for color blocking on walls, a kitchen table, or wooden chairs."
Cascades SW 7623, Sherwin-Williams
"Cascades by Sherwin-Williams is my absolute go-to for a deep, moody jewel-tone paint color," Barney says. "I've used this deep teal color for walls, bathroom vanities, and kitchen cabinetry." Pair it with rich wood finishes and brass accents for a luxurious look.
Crushed Velvet 2076-10, Benjamin Moore
Inverness SW 6433, Sherwin-Williams
Higgins loves Inverness from Sherwin-Williams for "a gorgeous, deep green." He recently used it on a wet bar, pairing it with white marble and an antique rug. Pale blue and coral accents beautifully balance the dark green.